Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Pros and Cons of Bacon

Bacon has been a part of the American diet for as long as we can remember. Made from fatty pork belly slices which are typically cured in salt, nitrates and sugar and then smoked for days, thus rendering that delectable taste that’s incomparable with other cured meats. Though practically a breakfast staple in most American homes, reasonable consumption of bacon is still advised for a host of reasons.

Read further and discover more about the pros and cons of bacon and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this source of dietary fats.

Bacon’s Benefits:

Bacon is a suitable source of preformed vitamin A, a type of vitamin A that’s abundant in meat sources. Among other roles, this nutrient helps in the normal formation and functioning of various major organs like the lungs, heart, and liver. This nutrient is highly crucial for the prevention of macular degeneration as well, a condition that typically leads to blindness.

Bacon is a potent source of proteins, too, which are crucial for muscle formation, regeneration, as well as repair. Proteins take a lot more time to digest in the gastrointestinal tract as well and so is a suitable steady source of energy, particularly for physically active individuals.

Bacon contains niacin, selenium, and phosphorus in measurable amounts as well. Other micronutrients present in bacon are B vitamins, calcium, potassium, choline, folate, as well as iron and zinc, all of which are crucial for normal physiological function.

Bacon’s Risks:

As you probably already know, bacon contains considerable amounts of saturated fat, the type of fat that doctors advise against because of its propensity to increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. Most store-bought bacon, as was mentioned, typically contains nitrates or pink salt, too. Nitrates have been traditionally used for curing a host of non-organic commercially processed meat products like hams, sausages and hotdogs as these compound act both as an antibacterial as well as a flavor enhancer. Nitrates have been in the news lately as these are feared to cause a host of cancers, most especially colorectal cancer.

Consumption of feedlot-raised pork, which is the typical raw material of commercially available bacon, has been found to increase the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the body as well. IGF-1 has been identified as one of the hormones that cause growth of cancerous tumors.

Lastly, meats that have been raised in industrial farms have a highly unbalanced omega-3-to-omega-6 fatty acids ratio. Omega-3 acts as an anti-inflammatory while omega-6 functions as a pro-inflammatory. Needless to say, having balanced levels of these essential fatty acids in the body is crucial if you want to steer clear of or manage existing chronic diseases.

Bacon’s Practical Uses:

Three strips of store-bought bacon contain about 89 calories, with up to 85% of these coming from fat. This three-strip bacon serving has approximately nine grams of fat, three grams of which are saturated. According to the American Heart Association, limiting saturated fat intake to less than 7% of the daily caloric intake is advised if one is to maintain heart health. This means taking no more than fifteen grams of saturated fat for an individual on a 2,000-calorie diet, for instance.

When choosing bacon brands, opt for uncured ones made from pasture-raised, organic pork as these likely don’t contain nitrates, are leaner and therefore have less saturated fat content, have lesser chances of having E. coli contamination, and have a more balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids profile.

The cooking method spells a lot of difference in terms of its fat content once cooked as well. To minimize the need to use fat, opt to prepare your bacon in the oven instead. Simply put the strips on a non-stick roasting rack and place in its accompanying broiler pan and cook in the oven for about ten minutes in 400 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.

In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of mayonnaise and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this dietary source of fats.

In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the dietary sources of fats on the Superhuman Food Pyramid:

Eat:

Moderate:

Avoid:

If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of bacon, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the benefits of pros and cons of bacon.

One thought on “Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Pros and Cons of Bacon

  1. Instead of just bacon in the Fats section of the food pyramid, you should put pasture-raised uncured bacon. Way better for you and no detectable nitrates. The only fats I think need to be avoided are industrial trans fats and grain-fed CAFO animals. (FACT: there is a naturally occurring trans fat found in organic grass-fed beef that is actually very good for you.) I have to disagree about the saturated fat in bacon causing cardiovascular disease. If the pig has been pasture-raised and allowed to forage, there is nothing unhealthy about any part of the animal. However, I can’t say the same about industrial cured bacon coming from CAFOs, but studies have been made that show that saturated fat is not responsible for cardiovascular disease, I believe the culprits to be industrial trans fats and polyunsaturated vegetable oils. I love the way the food pyramid is set up, by the way.