Calories in bacon

Is bacon healthy

Can a Healthy Diet Include Bacon?

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This question comes up with amazing frequency, nearly every time I do a radio show in the American Midwest. I could give you an argument that goes something like this (it applies to bratwurst as well as to bacon):

"The traditional American breakfast of fried bacon and eggs and the traditional British breakfast of broiled rolls of bacon with scrambled or boiled eggs are brain food. Bacon and eggs are among the best food sources of choline (bested only by beef and chicken liver). Choline is essential for healthy membranes in the cells of the brain and heart, and it is the building block of acetylcholine, the electrical transmission medium for nerve tissue. It is also essential for the body’s processing of fatty foods.

When humans do not consume enough choline, the liver has to use SAM-e (the same SAM-e you can buy as a nutritional supplement for depression and fibromyalgia) and the B-vitamin folic acid. When consumption of choline goes down, demand for folic acid goes up. The result is that if you don’t eat foods containing choline, you develop high homocysteine levels.

What about the cholesterol and fat content of bacon? Your body makes about 85 percent of its own cholesterol. Cholesterol from food has relatively little impact on your cholesterol levels, although you can lower your cholesterol slightly by avoiding foods with cholesterol (not really enough to make a difference if you have truly high cholesterol).

The fat in bacon and eggs is saturated, but it is the healthier cis- fats rather than the deadly trans- fats. The difference between the two kinds of fats is how they are absorbed by cells. Cis- fats go into cells like a long straight arrow shot at a high speed. They zip through the cell membrane leaving no trace behind. Trans-fats, like the fats in most margarines you would be eating on your bagel or toast if you gave up bacon and eggs, are like crooked, short arrows shot at a slow speed. They tend to "stick" in the lining of cells. There they oxidize and act as a platform for buildups of cholesterol.

What if you really want to lose weight and you want to do it by changing your breakfast habits? If you are happy eating a whole-grain bagel with a dab of sugar-free fruit preserves, fine. But if eating bagels or toast or Cheerios or Wheaties leaves you hungry, watch out. Insulin puts fat in fat cells. When you are satiated by your food, your insulin levels are lower. When you are hungry at the end of your meal, your body expects something more, and pumps out extra insulin to prepare for it. Not eating until you are satisfied, or not eating the foods that satisfy you, helps make you fat.

A study at the University of Sydney in Australia tested the idea that not eating until you are full affects blood sugar levels. Volunteers were given breakfasts of Rice Bubbles, Sustain, Vita-Brits, All-Bran, or white bread plus bacon and eggs. Rice Bubbles, as the name suggests, provided the least "weight" for the breakfast. They also caused the biggest surge in blood sugars. All-Bran added bulk to the bacon and eggs. The volunteers who ate the bran cereal with the bacon and egg breakfast had the least surge in blood sugar. The significance of the study is, eat your bacon and eggs along with a whole-grain source of carbohydrate for the least weight gain and the lowest blood sugars.

Author: Robert Rister

Read about Eggs and Cholesterol. Robert Rister, who occasionally indulges in both bacon and bratwurst, is the author or co-author of nine books on natural health.

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