There May Be A Place for Bacon in Your Healthy Diet Plan
It is, without a doubt, a fact that Americans and bacon go hand in hand. Only last year, bacon was consumed by over 261 million people in the US, and according to projections being made for the year 2020, this number is expected to rise all the way up to 272 million. One of the main reasons behind bacon’s unparalleled popularity is the fact that it can be eaten with almost anything: as part of breakfast with eggs, in pasta for lunch, as a snack whenever you want, or during dinner time.
Unfortunately, there is a growing emphasis on losing fat to fit a particular size, and people are cutting down on their fat intake. Since what makes bacon juicy and crispy is the melted pig fat, it is one of the foods getting axed from meal plans. However, if you are a bacon lover and also already following or aiming to follow a healthy diet, then there is good news for you. According to some dietitians, bacon can be healthy!
Since bacon is branded to be one of the unhealthiest foods in the world, it is important to first understand the nutritional value it provides before making an assessment if it can become part of a healthy diet. On average, one piece of bacon contains around 43 calories, about 137 grams sodium, only 3 grams protein, and, of course, about 3.3 grams fat.
If you observe these numbers, you’d realize that’s not bad at all. Bacon also provides you with a lot of good nutrition such as B vitamins which are excellent for boosting the metabolic system in the body, and also selenium which is among the best anti-oxidants to boost the immune system that nature has in store for us. Phosphorous is another great contribution made by bacon to the body, as it helps in developing strong bones as well as repairing tissues.
How You Should Be Consuming It
Bacon comes in a variety of types, and hence the choice of bacon plays a significant role in what it does to your body. For example, the center-cut of the pork belly, where bacon comes from, has 30% lower fat content compared to other regular-cuts. Although for bacon enthusiasts they might not appreciate the slight compromise on taste, but from the health perspective this is an excellent hack to consuming bacon without feeling too guilty about it.
However, when it comes to hacks, the Canadians have surely one-upped the Americans. Instead of cutting bacon from the belly of a pig, the Canadians go for the loin and cut from there. This portion of meat is then covered in cornmeal dust, and is cut in round shape to allow for equal cooking on all sides. It tastes delicious, and here is the best part: it contains a quarter of the American bacon calories with twice the amount of protein.
A Few More Important Points
Since we have discovered that bacon is somewhat high in sodium, it’s a given that if you can find a low-sodium version, go for it. A regularly high sodium intake has been known to contribute to chronic blood pressure issues, while it also increases stomach cancer risk.
To cut down on sodium, try getting a fresh cut from a local butcher instead of the processed forms as that would have lesser sodium content. And since you are making that trip to the local butcher, it would be the best thing if you ask for a whole pork belly, bring it home, slice it up in bacon shape, and cook it yourself. There is no healthier bacon-consuming alternative to this, that’s for sure!
The cooking heat with bacon is important, and although people often recommend cooking it at a low-heat for a longer duration to get the perfect crisp, we suggest you microwave it. The results you will receive by microwaving would be healthier since it discourages nitrosamine production in cured bacon that can be dangerous to consume and comes about when bacon is cooked on a high heat.
Lastly, if you don’t want to eat a lot of bacon, then chop it up and garnish other healthy foods with it to get that hint of bacon-flavor which you crave. That should be enough to satisfy your bacon cravings without compromising on the healthy diet plan.
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