Can it really be true! Bacon is actually good for us?
It all depends on what you accept as fact, conventional wisdom or factual scientific evidence. Chris Kresser is a person that I have a lot of respect for and is about one of the smartest guys out there on health issues recently published a great article on some of the myths of bacon. Read more here .
A long standing conventional wisdom belief is that the nitrates and nitrites found in cured meats like bacon, hotdogs, sausage, etc, would lead to cancer and or heart disease. Science actually tells us that on average, about 93% of nitrites we get from food come from vegetables. I was also shocked to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs. Kresser also mentions in his article that nitrites are produced by your own body in greater amounts than can be obtained from food, and salivary nitrite accounts for 70-90% of our total nitrite exposure.
If you are trying to avoid nitrates and nitrites by eating so-called “nitrite- and nitrate-free” hot dogs and bacon, don’t be fooled. These products use “natural” sources of the same chemical like celery and beet juice and sea salt, and are no more free from nitrates and nitrites than standard cured meats. In fact, they may even contain more nitrates and nitrites when cured using “natural” preservatives.
As far as nitrate exposure, most of it when eaten gets converted into nitrite and then any excess that is not used by the body is excreted in our urine within 5 hours. There are even new perspective studies that are saying that nitrates and nitrites may help to improve blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, and boost immune system function.
Without getting into to many topics, like the whole fat issue, you still want to choose products that have been raised in a healthy environment and fed healthy foods to increase your chance of getting quality bacon. We can talk about the whole fat thing in another post.
I realize that articles like this can be even more confusing when you are trying to figure out what is good for you in this world and what will cause you and your family harm. One day someone is saying that eggs are the greatest thing ever and the next you read on the front page of the paper that eggs are just as bad as smoking (just to be clear eggs with runny yokes are actually good for you). In this age of easily accessable information all the choices and opinions out there can actually make it harder to make a decision rather than easier and less confusing.
As a Chiropractor who is concerned about people’s overall health and wellness, I feel that it is my job to sift through all the bad information out there and give people information based on quality science, logical explanations, and proper analysis of data that is collected. Hopefully this will help you to save time, get and stay healthy, and feel confident about the health choices that you are making.
Please contact the office or leave any comments below if I can be of any more assistance.