Is bacon healthy?

Content by: Guy Lawrence

Is bacon healthy

By Guy Lawrence

Is bacon healthy? This is one topic that comes with much opinion and debate to say the least (along with most nutritional topics for that matter!). It’s a great topic and one I wanted to touch on as I attended the Low Carb Down Under seminar in Sydney. This topic along with so many others were covered in the Q&A sessions with all the guest speakers.

The short video below is with Jimmy Moore and David Gillespie sharing their thoughts a little regarding animal feed and how it effects the fats of the animal.

Jimmy also mentions a great article to check out discussing nitrate/nitrite debate within bacon too: The Nitrate and Nitrite Myth: Another Reason not to Fear Bacon by Chris Kresser. It’s an excellent read and one I highly recommend. Here’s a few points I’ve taken from it:

  • The study that originally connected nitrates with cancer risk and caused the scare in the first place has since been discredited after being subjected to a peer review. There have been major reviews of the scientific literature that found no link between nitrates or nitrites and human cancers, or even evidence to suggest that they may be carcinogenic. Further, recent research suggests that nitrates and nitrites may not only be harmless, they may be beneficial, especially for immunity and heart health. Confused yet?
  • When it comes to food, vegetables are the primary source of nitrites. On average, about 93% of nitrites we get from food come from vegetables.
  • It’s important to understand that neither nitrate nor nitrite accumulate in body. Ingested nitrate from food is converted into nitrite when it contacts our saliva, and of the nitrate we eat, 25% is converted into salivary nitrite, 20% converted into nitrite, and the rest is excreted in the urine within 5 hours of ingestion.

These are simply just some of the points covered in the article. It’s a topic I’m looking into more, but so far my belief is this; Like David Gillespie said in the short video above, I’d be more worried about the feed and how it effects the fat makeup of the bacon. Pigs that are lot fed end up having a high omega-6 content. I feel that this is not a good thing. The same thing happens with beef which is corn fed. This why I eat grass fed beef and happily eat the fat as well. If it’s grain fed meat I simply cut the fat off to reduce the omega-6 intake.

Personally, I have a high fat diet and the quality of the fats I consume are very important to me.

So do I eat bacon? Not much, as free range bacon is hard to get my hands on and the fats worry me more than the nitrates.

So do you eat bacon? Have you read Chris Kresser’s article? Have you been to the Low Carb Down Under Tour? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…. Cheers, Guy

On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thoughts and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.

If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…

Guy Lawrence

This article is brought to you by Guy Lawrence. Guy is a qualified fitness trainer with over 10 years of experience in the health industry. Guy worked at the UTS Fitness Centre in Sydney Australia where he specialised in exercise nutrition and obtained his Certificate in Exercise Nutrition and Certified... Read More

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12 Replies to “Is bacon healthy?”
Gennie says:

I also went along to the Low Carb Downunder in sydney on the weekend. Learnt a lot about fat among other things. We do eat bacon but not often mainly because it is hard to get free range and without a whole lot of other stuff on the ingredients list. The day was very interesting, hard to get your head around eating that much fat when we have been told the opposite for so long but giving it a go.

180nps says:

Hey Gennie… Yes it can be hard to get your head around it if you are not used to that way of thinking. It’s also worth checking out a video interview I did with my friend Kelli. She overcame a very serious health issue by changing her lifestyle and eating a higher fat diet. It’s well worth a look as the information she shares is fascinating. You can watch the video here. …Cheers, Guy

Aimee Clark says:

Thanks for the info! I’ve just started looking into the bacon issue this week as my partner Clint and I have been eating bacon regularly, from our local organic butcher and thought it was ok. I’m waiting on some info from them as to what is in the bacon so we can sure of what we are eating.
Loving the info on grain-fed animal fat and omega-6’s, that’s so good to know!
We want to eat as cleanly as we can and be as educated as we can about the foods we are eating. We enjoy eating a high fat diet and want to now make sure of what is really in the fat we’re consuming.
Also we want to be able to provide good information to our group members to help them make better choices. The more research done and the more discussions about the findings, the better! Thank you for your info :o)
We’ve been reading alot of good info on Mark’s Daily Apple as well which is terrific.
Aimee :o)

180nps says:

Thanks Aimee… Good luck on your clean eating journey… I’ll be interested to hear what your local butcher says 🙂 Guy

Michael says:

I was pleased to find free range bacon at the shops today. But the next line down on the packaging boasts that the pigs are “corn fed” so I didn’t bother buying it.

Michelle says:

You can buy free range bacon rashers now from the deli at Woolies. Considering the rules on food advertising, I’m willing to accept that they’re telling the truth. I doubt they’d knowingly jeopardise their profits!!

180nps says:

Thanks for sharing Michelle… I’ll check that out too … Cheers, Guy

Tora says:

I think it’s unfortunate there is no mention about the welfare of the pigs when it comes to eating bacon, it’s all about ‘what’s in it for me as a human being’. Generally pigs are treated and handled notoriously badly, and the fact that there is so little free range bacon around in Australia is further evidence of that. It’s a shame the Paleo community don’t include animal welfare in their argument for eating a high fat diet; to me it’s a natural step to say that eating free range and organic meat also has the potential to improve how animals are treated.

180nps says:

Hey Tora… You make a really good point…. And it’s a topic I wanted to cover when I have more of the facts correct first… In the defence of the Low Carb Talk, they did touch on this but I had not captured it in the video… Cheers, Guy

rebecca says:

umm.. interesting.. don’t you think it is just someone’s idea for a get rich campaign?
i say stick to your ancestors diets.
3 meals a day, protein and veges and eat only things that grow from the earth for snacks… another thing which amazes me is the don’t eat processed foods.. hello all the protein powders and sorry even your 180 product are all processed.. well at least your all banking on our stupidity!

Tina says:

Hey Guy,

Just have a question for u about fats. Ever since I read David Gillespies book, discovered Sarah Wilsons blog and, of course, 180 nutrition I have cut out sugar as much as I can and increased the good fats in my diet. However, I only recently began to pay attention the whole grain fed/grass fed thing and have discovered that the restaurants and pubs I eat my steaks at dont have the grass fed option. Without having to cut these places completely what is the next best option for me?

180nps says:

Hey Tina… It’s pretty hard to get it right all the time. Personally I eat grass fed when cooking for myself and when I eat out I generally go for the fish instead. Once in a while I’ll eat grain fed if I fancy I steak, but it’s defiantly the minority of the time. Realistically I work off an 80/20 rule… Where 80% of the time I’m on top of my eating… Of course 100% would be perfect but very hard to sustain! Hope that helps, Guy

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