Episode 64: Is Bacon Healthy?

Thanks for joining us for episode 64 of The Ancestral RD podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like us to answer it on the show! Today we are answering the following question from a listener:

“Hi, I love your podcast. Is bacon healthy? The Paleo and Ancestral people say yes, but what about all that cholesterol?”

Bacon is a highly debated food with proponents on seemingly polar opposite sides. On one side we hear to enjoy it freely from breakfast to dessert. Who here has had chocolate covered bacon? On the other side we hear warnings to avoid it at all costs. Many of us want to know, what’s the real deal with bacon?

Join us today as we share insight to help you decide if bacon should be on your breakfast plate. We clear up confusion about cholesterol and saturated fat, discuss bacon’s role in cancer risk, and give tips on how to enjoy bacon while minimizing potential health risks.

Here’s what Laura and Kelsey will be discussing in this episode:

  • The surprising truth about the effect dietary cholesterol has on blood cholesterol
  • The amount of cholesterol actually in bacon
  • The ratio of fat in bacon
  • Clearing up the confusion about saturated fat and its relationship to heart disease
  • Processed meats and the risk of cancer
  • Why you may not be avoiding nitrates when you buy bacon labeled “nitrate free”
  • Why burnt or charred meat is a bigger risk factor for cancer than nitrates
  • How to cook bacon to reduce carcinogens
  • The importance of not stressing over eating less than ideal foods in moderation
  • How high quality bacon from pastured animals is better protected from the cooking process
  • Why bacon can be part of a healthy diet when considered in relation to other lifestyle factors

Links Discussed:

  • KettleAndFire.com - Use the code AncestralRDs for a 15% discount off your first order of Kettle and Fire bone broth!

TRANSCRIPT:

Kelsey: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode 64 of the Ancestral RDs. I’m Kelsey Marksteiner and with me as always is Laura Schoenfeld.

Laura: Hi everyone.

Kelsey: Hey Laura. How are you doing?

Laura: I’m quite tired. I feel like both of us are on the same page with our exhaustion levels.

Kelsey: Yes, very much so.

Laura: Although yours may be a little bit more reasonable than me just being tired because I chose to stay up too late for the last two weeks. Why don’t you tell us about your trip to Canada?

Kelsey: Sure. I was in Quebec City. They have a big music festival every year that goes for ten or eleven days. I was there from….let’s see, we drove up there on Friday and then I left on the following Sunday. I was there for over a week. I guess that’s about ten days. It was really fun, but basically what it entailed is being out super late every night going to these concerts. There’s nothing during the day really. All the concerts are at night and some of them even go until 1 – 1:30 in the morning. I didn’t do too many of the super late concert nights, but I did do a couple. Otherwise, it was just a bunch of family for me there as well. Even if we didn’t go to a concert, we’d be hanging out after the concerts and staying up late.

My body is just totally messed up right now because I am so not used to doing that. Basically we would go to concerts, hang out, go to bed at like 1 or 2 in the morning, and then wake up at 11 every day, and go eat breakfast, and hang out around the town and stuff. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, which can be hard once your body is adjusted to that sort of schedule. I’m exhausted, so it’s easy to go to sleep. But for me, I’m the kind of person that even if I go to bed at a normal time if I’m really tired, I’ll just sleep for a really long time.

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: That’s been a little tough to start waking up at a normal time again.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: Hopefully it’ll get better.

Laura: Well, I had kind of a similar experience over the last couple weeks. My boyfriend was visiting for two straight weeks, which was kind of intense. Good, but also probably most nights I’d say the earliest we were asleep was 11 – 11:30, some nights kind of staying up later until like 12:30. I don’t know if we were as up as you were, but it’s just amazing how fast that kind of is exhausting.

Kelsey: Oh yeah.

Laura: I’ve been having a couple days of recovery. It’s crazy how much sleep affects everything, and circadian rhythm entrainment, and having a normal sleep schedule because I’ve just noticed that for example, I don’t have clinical anxiety, but I definitely have the tendency to get anxious physically. It’s so weird because the last couple days…I mean I feel like part of the anxiety is related to just going from spending time with my boyfriend all day every day for two weeks, and then all of a sudden he’s gone and I’m just kind of stressed about it, which is sort of dumb. But then even just having higher physical anxiety responses to things, part of that could be that I’m way over caffeinating to try to get my energy up a little bit. Too much caffeine always pushes me into that anxiety mode as well.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: It’s amazing how my body has just crashed.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I think I was running on a little bit of adrenaline while he was here too. Now that he went home, I’m just like oh my gosh, I can’t handle my life right now.

Kelsey: Oh no.

Laura: It’s just crazy and I know I had experience back in February/March where I had been watching too much TV and staying up late for that reason. I took that I guess it was 40 days of no TV, and going to bed 10:00 or something, and getting a lot of sleep, and being really conscious about circadian rhythm, and I felt so good. I was PRing all my lifts and all that. It was very short lived just because things got disrupted again shortly after that. I’m like I really need to get back into that because just the last couple days just feeling super tired and emotional for no reason. It’s just really frustrating because I hate feeling that way where it’s like oh I’m just over-reacting to things because I’m tired.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: I can’t even think of a legitimate reason that I’m feeling anxious, but it’s there. Then that of course makes it harder to sleep and then the cycle continues.

Kelsey: Yeah. I can see why that would make it tough to break out of cycle if that disrupts your sleep in and of itself. That’s rough.

At least for me, the things that I’ve been noticing, I did work out while I was there, which now I’m like, was that a good idea? Maybe I should have just not because now that I’m back and recovering, I feel like oh my God, I can’t even imagine working out right now. I have yet to go this week, but today is the day it’s going to start.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: So we’ll see how it goes.

Laura: My physical activity has been significantly reduced in the last month mostly because my trainer was out of town. He was traveling with his wife in Europe so he was gone for three weeks. I did not exercise a whole lot other than walking, and being outside, and stuff like that. While he was gone I maybe went to the gym three to five times or something.

Then when my boyfriend was in town, I did do a couple of training sessions, and then we did a lot of outdoor activities, but definitely less than what I had been doing before. Then I guess my trainer was out of town on Monday, so today is my first day back in a week.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: I’m like this is going to be really bad. So we’ll see just because when I’m really tired, my workouts are awful.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: It’ll be interesting to see what happens. Luckily because I work with a trainer, it’s a combination of motivation to work a little harder, but also he’s really good at not over-exercising me.

Kelsey: Yeah, that’s good.

Laura: Yeah. I’m not worried that it’s going to make it worse. Who knows, maybe it’ll make me feel better.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I’m just like I feel like I need a vacation my vacation. I’m actually going to be driving out to Ohio to now visit my boyfriend there, and it’s like oh my gosh. Hopefully because he lives in the middle of nowhere we won’t be doing as much as I had over packed into our schedule while he was here. It was funny because halfway through it I was kind of apologizing. I’m like I’m really sorry for making all these plans. I was so worried we were going to be bored. Now I’m like oh my gosh, we definitely did way too much.

Kelsey: What was I thinking?

Laura: I know, it’s just crazy. We’re used to short couple day visits or whatever, so two weeks straight of our normal level of activity was not good.

Kelsey: Well it sounds like we both had a good week or two and unfortunately we’re exhausted because of it.

Laura: This is going to be a really, really good episode you guys.

Kelsey: Just you wait. But PSA, get your sleep guys.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: It’s very important. Before we jump into our question for today, here is a word from our sponsor.

Laura: Okay. Our question for today is from David. David says:

“Hi. I love your podcast. Is bacon healthy? The Paleo and Ancestral people say yes, but what about all that cholesterol?”

Laura: Bacon. I’ve been eating a little bit of bacon the last couple days. Not a ton, but way more than I normally eat just because I bought some when my boyfriend was in town. I have all this extra bacon that we didn’t finish and I’m like okay, guess I’m eating it.

Anyway, I like this question because I feel like bacon is one of those foods that there’s so much conflicting recommendations about it. On one hand, you have people that say it’s the worst thing ever, and you shouldn’t ever eat any of it, and it’s going to kill you. Then you have usually on the Paleo side of spectrum, bacon is awesome, eat it every day, you can eat a pound of it a day, no problem.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Like don’t worry about it at all. Obviously there’s a huge discrepancy between the two different opinions. Ultimately, I would say that Kelsey and I both kind of fall towards the middle of the spectrum.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Maybe a little closer to the Paleo side of things, but still not fully accepting of the thought that unlimited bacon every single day is fine.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Just to clear up David’s confusion about the cholesterol question, bacon actually doesn’t really have that much cholesterol in it. It only has about 9mg of cholesterol per slice compared to something like an egg, which I believe eggs have 200mgs?

Kelsey: Yeah. 200, 300, something like that.

Laura: Yeah so obviously if you’re having bacon and eggs and you’re worried about dietary cholesterol, then bacon is not really the thing that you would need to be thinking about. But dietary cholesterol, as a lot of our listeners know, doesn’t actually raise blood cholesterol. Just worrying about cholesterol in foods in general I think is not really helpful. It’s one of things that is just left over from the whole low fat/low cholesterol era.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: There’s really never been any evidence that dietary cholesterol is a risk for heart disease or that it raises blood cholesterol. Hopefully that helps David feel a little better.

Kelsey: I would just add there’s a caveat there that that’s for most people. There definitely are some people that are extra sensitive to cholesterol in their diet. I actually should say saturated fat in their diet.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: If that’s you, then there is some saturated fat in bacon. But I’m sure Laura will talk about that break down ratio that is different than probably most people would think about bacon I think.

Laura: Yeah, definitely. Dietary cholesterol, which is in things like eggs, and shrimp, and obviously certain animal products that are a little higher in fat, that’s not going to affect blood cholesterol levels. Like Kelsey just said, dietary saturated fat can raise blood cholesterol in some people. But most evidence actually shows that eating saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease even if the blood cholesterol is mildly impacted.

Unless you are someone with something like heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, which basically means that you have higher levels of cholesterol in general, or if you are somebody who has a high sensitivity to dietary saturated fat and a high saturated fat diet makes a significant impact on your blood cholesterol, most people are not going to have a big increase in their heart disease risk from eating saturated fat.

Now I don’t see that as being 100% accurate for every single person. Like we were saying, if you are someone who has elevated blood cholesterol for genetic reasons, then perhaps eating lower amounts of saturated fat wouldn’t be a bad idea. But again, that’s not everyone and for most people saturated fat is not that big of a deal.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Now, bacon, like what you were just saying, ironically has more monounsaturated fat in it than saturated fat. One slice of bacon has an estimated 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids versus 1.1 grams of saturated fat. Really the balance of fat in bacon is actually more towards monounsaturated fats which are actually cardio protective.

Ultimately if we’re worried about heart disease, bacon consumption really shouldn’t be a huge risk for that. That hopefully for David answers a little bit about why bacon isn’t something to worry about when it comes to heart disease.

So if you’re worried about heart disease, or heart disease runs in your family, or your doctor has diagnosed you with heart disease, bacon is not necessarily going to impact your risk of that condition getting worse or developing over the long run.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Did you have anything to add about heart disease and bacon, or does that pretty much cover it?

Kelsey: That pretty much covers it I think. If you are someone who is sensitive to saturated fat, decreasing your bacon consumption if you’re eating a lot can decrease your overall saturated fat consumption fairly significantly depending on again how much you’re eating.

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: So it can be useful in that regard if you’re one of those people. But for the general person, yeah, usually not much to worry about in terms of heart disease risk and cholesterol.

Laura: Cool. What I see as the main chronic disease that could be affected by high bacon consumption is actually cancer. Now I know that there is a lot of debate about processed meats and cancer, and also nitrates and nitrites in processed or smoked meats and cancer. Most of the evidence that I’ve seen suggest that there isn’t a link between dietary nitrates and nitrites and cancer risk.

That’s one thing that a lot of people are worried about with bacon specifically and people will actually buy nitrate free bacon to avoid it. Unfortunately a lot of times what is used in nitrate free bacon is celery juice, which celery is a very high natural nitrate content. So you’re not actually avoiding nitrates when you get celery cured bacon.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: You could actually be getting more of those than if it was just cured with normal nitrates or nitrites. When you’re looking at nitrate content in bacon, that’s not really something that I’m too worried about with cancer.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Especially because a lot of fruits and vegetables have nitrates and nitrites in them. Our saliva has a lot of nitrates and nitrites in it. That’s not the issue when it comes to bacon. The issue that could potentially be there, and again this is based on epidemiological studies which some people may say is not the best way to study risk with food consumption, which I agree. I think that’s something that you could argue that epidemiological studies have a lot of methodology flaws and can’t necessarily make strong conclusions with epidemiology.

But most of these large scale studies suggest a small increase in cancer risk from an increase in processed meat consumption. When I say small, the numbers I’m seeing are around 17-18%. And I think I saw one risk ratio as saying that if the average…and this is specifically bowel cancer is the one they usually talk about with processed meat…they were saying that on average there is a 6 out 100 person bowel cancer rate in I think it’s worldwide, but I don’t remember exactly if that’s worldwide or if that’s specifically where these studies are being conducted. Adding 50 grams processed or smoked red meats, or just meat in general will incase that to 7 out of 100 people getting bowel cancer.

It’s obviously not this massive increase in cancer risk. So that connection between processed meats, smoked meats, that kind of stuff and cancer could be there, but not necessarily a huge worry for me.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Really what my biggest concern with bacon is, it’s not so much the processing component, but it tends to be more of the cooking process which can leave the meat charred or even burnt. A lot of people will fry their bacon. I personally fry my bacon most of the time when I’m eating it because I find that it makes it the most crispy, which crispy means that it’s probably getting a little carcinogenic, but I don’t eat bacon that often.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: It’s one of those things that’s like okay, if I’m going to have it, I want it crispy, but I’m only having it a couple times a month.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: But unfortunately burnt or charred meat is a well known carcinogen. When you’re cooking bacon, if you’re eating it regularly, you really need to try to avoid letting it get blackened and don’t eat the pieces that get burnt. If you’re eating it more than a couple times a week, like say twice a week or something, then eating it when it’s burnt is definitely going to increase your risk for cancer just because burnt meat is a well known carcinogen and it’s something that there’s not a lot of debate about as far as whether or not it could cause cancer.

Kelsey: Yeah, and I know some people are probably kind of bummed to hear that. At least I know some people who specifically like burnt bacon.

Laura: Oh yeah.

Kelsey: Which I don’t understand personally, but there are those people out there. Yeah, you really do want to try to avoid those blackened pieces of bacon. They, like Laura said, are a known carcinogen.

What I like to do is cook mine in the oven if I can. If you’re going to have people over or you have a smaller oven, like I have a table top oven that’s a lot smaller than my normal size oven that I can use to make a smaller amount of bacon and not heat up an entire oven for it. That cooks a lot more evenly so as long as you’re not cooking it for too long, you’ll get nice evenly cooked pieces of bacon, which I think taste better anyway personally. So if you can do that, that’s a good way to help prevent those small pieces that inevitably usually get burnt when you’re frying bacon on the stovetop.

And Laura, if you like the crispy bacon, have you ever tried cooking it in the oven on a cookie sheet with the pan underneath it so it’s not sitting in its own oil?

Laura: You mean like a grate kind of?

Kelsey: Yes.

Laura: Like a cooling rack?

Kelsey: Yeah, like a cooling rack.

Laura: No, I haven’t.

Kelsey: That might be something to try because I think usually the issue that makes it not as crispy when you cook it in the oven is that if you don’t let it kind of get rid of the oils…

Laura: Drip off?

Kelsey: Yeah, then it’s sitting in its own oil and it doesn’t get that crispiness.

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: So for those of you out there who like very crispy bacon, you may want to try that.

Laura: Yeah.

Kelsey: I personally like it in the oil. I don’t like super, super crispy bacon. It just has to be crispy enough. That works out for me, but I have definitely heard that tip.

Laura: I like bacon that shatters when you take a bite.

Kelsey: Glass bacon, great.

Laura: Usually the way I cook it is I’ll pan fry it, and then maybe 2/3 into the cooking process I’ll pour all the grease into a little container to save it for later cooking, and then finish it off in like an almost dry pan.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Then I put it on paper towels to even soak up more of the fat so it ends up being very, very crispy.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: But like you said, that can sometimes lead to some burning bits if the heat is too high. So I’ll have to try this cooling rack method and see if it gives me that shattery bacon that I really like.

Kelsey: Yeah, give it a shot. I don’t like shattery bacon so you’ll have to let us know how that goes for you. I don’t know if it can make it that crispy.

Laura: Yeah, I’m just weird. It’s just funny how you get used to cooking it a certain way and it’s like anytime I get bacon that’s like kind of too meaty or floppy, I’m just like this isn’t cooked the way I like it. But like I said, I’m probably making it more carcinogenic the way that I cook it. There’s pros and cons.

But anyway, like I said, that to me is one of the biggest issues as far as the cancer risk is concerned if you’re getting more of a burnt bacon issue. If you do eat a lot of either bacon or any sort of processed meats that you’re cooking at high temperatures, just try to not burn it. That’s probably the best way to prevent the major increase of cancer risk.  That is something that I wonder about. I know that the processed meat consumption also includes things like salami and smoked meats that are not cooked like that.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: So I don’t know if the burning process increases the bowel cancer risk as well. I think it probably would. But my question is, okay, is that what they’re getting at with that type of study? Or is it because it also includes things smoked cold meats that wouldn’t really be the issue. So I don’t know.

Kelsey: Yeah, it’s a good question. I wonder if they’ve done any studies that look at cooked versus cold versions of processed meats.

Laura: Right, yeah. I not sure. I’ll have to look into that. But like I said, I feel like if you’re only eating once in a while, don’t freak out.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: You have a little bit of burnt bacon, but it’s not something….and I mean this honestly goes for any red meat. So if you eat a lot of steak, for example, and you do a lot of grilling, that’s going to be a problem as well. Grilling meat, and cooking it at high temperatures, frying it, getting it to the point where it is getting charred, that’s going to increase the cancer risk of that product. So not really something I would suggest eating on a regular basis. If you’re going to have a bacon wrapped fillet mignon on the grill, then try to just have that once in a while and don’t have it multiple times a week. I’d say that’s the main issue that I have with the chronic disease risk.

The only other thing I can think of as being a possible issue with bacon, which isn’t a huge deal because honestly if you’re just trying  to get protein in the morning by eating bacon, then this isn’t really that big of a deal, but bacon is pretty low nutrient density. I remember seeing Mat Lalonde did a presentation at AHS a couple years ago about nutrient density of foods and how that should impact the kind of foods that we eat. I remember him talking about how a lot of Paleo staples like bacon and coconut oil are pretty much almost nutrient free.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Coconut oil is basically nutrient free and then bacon is very low nutrient. Now I don’t if that’s just because it’s mostly muscle and fat, or protein and fat and it’s not coming from a part of the animal that is high nutrient. Or if it’s the curing and cooking process that destroys a lot of the nutrients. I’m sure it’s probably a combination of both.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: But basically bacon is just going to be macronutrients. It doesn’t really have much in the way of vitamin and mineral content. If you’re getting a lot of your protein from bacon, it’s possible that you’d be missing out on some important micronutrients that you might get from other things like eggs or other types of meats that might be a little bit higher in certain nutrients. If you’re just having a little bacon alongside some eggs, you’re getting lots of nutrients from the eggs. Don’t worry about it. But if you’re just eating half a pound of bacon at breakfast and that’s all you’re eating, then you’re not really going to be getting a lot of micronutrients.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: That would be one other issue that I have with bacon is it’s just not really a nutrient dense food and you’d be better off eating things like salmon or some leftover meat from dinner the night before if you want to get more nutrition out of your food.

Kelsey: Definitely.

Laura: Those are the main issues that I have with bacon. Is there anything that you wanted to add there?

Kelsey: Well, let’s see. I mean I think that really just trying to keep it at a moderate amount. I love bacon, bacon is delicious. But I think in general I try to limit the amount of processed foods in general, but processed meats as well to sort of a moderate amount, which to me just means I don’t eat it every day. Probably like you, I maybe eat bacon a couple times a month. Even that is kind of a lot for me. I don’t usually buy it to make for myself. It’s usually just something I eat out, or if I go home and visit family and we have a big breakfast together, bacon will often be a part of that, or at least sausage or something like that. It’s not something that I eat all the time and it’s not something that I buy all the time, which means that I of course don’t eat it all the time.

That’s something that you can consider. Like if you really enjoy bacon, but you know if you have it in the house you’re going to want to eat it a lot, you could just relegate it to those sort of special occasions when you’re out of the house and enjoy the bacon that way.

Laura: Mm hmm.

Kelsey: That’s definitely something to consider if you really enjoy bacon like probably most people do. Just treat it like a treat. It shouldn’t be something that’s a dietary staple for you. I think in general that’s how I think about processed foods.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: And of course processed meats are a part of that picture. Then other than that, I mean you really just don’t want to stress over these kinds of foods. You want to know that there are some foods that are probably a little bit better for you and some that are a little bit worse. It doesn’t mean that you can never eat the foods that are worse for you because a diet that is only consisting of “super foods” is not great either. You want to have variety and it’s okay to have these sort of foods as part of that variety. But just know, again, they shouldn’t be dietary staples.

But it’s not worth stressing over these things. If you’re falling asleep thinking about how bad bacon is for you and you’re so afraid of these foods, that’s going to have a much bigger impact on even your cancer risk. Stress is not good for the body and I think we’ve probably beat that topic to death on this show.

Laura: I don’t know, I think we can always talk more about stress.

Kelsey: Yeah, I mean it’s just really important to remember, and it’s hard to remember. We’ll keep talking about it so that you guys remember that over time. It’s easy to forget that stress can be a lot more problematic for your body and for your health than some of these things that we talk about and debate on this show.

Bacon is certainly one of those things. It’s not worth stressing yourself over. If you have a piece of bacon once and a while, it is not the end of the world and it’s not going to guarantee that you’re going to get cancer sometime in your future.

Really it’s perfectly fine to eat things like this once in a while. And you do just have to remember that there are so many other things that affect your cancer risk, including stress like we just talked about, smoking, the amount of plant food you’re eating, your sleep quality, your exercise. It’s really important to just look at your lifestyle in general and not focus on one thing because it’s never going to be one thing that causes someone to get a condition like that. It’s the whole picture.

Laura: Right.

Kelsey: You have to remember that and look at that whole picture.

Laura: Right. Yeah, I mean if somebody is sleeping well, *cough, cough…*

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: Eating lots of plant foods, exercising regularly, not smoking, at a healthy weight, doesn’t take lots of prescription medications, has a good social life, and all these things that affect cancer risk. If that person has a really good balance throughout their entire life and then they eat bacon most days during the week, I would say that their cancer risk is still going to be pretty low.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: That’s one of those things that people have to kind of make decisions for themselves. Honestly for me with bacon, I like it a lot and I almost feel like having it less frequently makes it more of a treat.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Whereas if I was eating it all the time, it probably would just be like, oh whatever, it’s just bacon.

Kelsey: I agree. I’m on the same page.

Laura: I feel like it’s going to be an individual decision and you have to look at everything that you’re doing and say okay, if I’m generally healthy and I’m generally doing all the things I need to be doing to stay healthy, is having bacon that big of a deal? Maybe not. Also remembering that there’s no guarantees in life, so if you really enjoy eating bacon and it gives you a lot of happiness, then life is short, don’t avoid something just because there’s a potential 17% increase risk of bowel cancer if you eat a lot of it. It’s one of things that you have to decide what is appropriate for you, and some people may say that the risk is worth the rewards.

Definitely an individual decision there, but just remember the science on bacon is pretty mixed and just cooking it gently, making sure it’s not burnt, not eating it every single day, getting products that are pastured…I know we really didn’t talk about that, but going for the higher quality animals where the bacon’s coming from…all that stuff can reduce the risk. And again, just making an individual decision for what works best for you.

Kelsey: Yeah. Just to go back to the pastured and fat part of this for a quick second, I would imagine that it’s sort of like olive oil in the sense that if you get extra virgin olive oil that has a lot of antioxidants in it and you cook with that, it’s going to be less oxidized by that cooking process because it has a lot of antioxidants to sort of prevent that oxidation from happening.

I would imagine that’s fairly similar to high quality bacon that comes from a pastured animal. It’s going to probably have more antioxidants. Basically it’s going to be better protected from the cooking process because of that. So I would really recommend that if you can get pastured high quality bacon, it’s definitely better to do that.

Personally I would really try to avoid the crappy kind of bacon, honestly. Again, this is a personal decision based on what I know about bacon, how much I enjoy bacon, and how much I enjoy that type of bacon. To me it usually doesn’t taste as good, I don’t enjoy it as much, and because I know it’s probably not well protected against oxidation, and it’s just not as good quality and as good for me because of that, I choose most of the time to not eat bacon in that sort of scenario if it’s not a good high quality piece of bacon.

Laura: Yeah. Maybe avoid those pre-cooked boxes that you stick in the microwave.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Because those really freak me out.

Kelsey: Yeah, frightening.

Laura: Good. Well I feel like that hopefully will help David make an educated decision about how much bacon, and what ways that he wants to eat the bacon, and again not worrying about cholesterol, and just trying to enjoy bacon in a way that’s minimizing the risk without worrying too much about the small risk that it might have to eat lots of bacon.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Alright. Well I feel like that answers that question well. Thanks for joining us everybody. We enjoyed having you. Thanks for putting up with our mental all over the place-ness I guess is the best way to describe it. But we will look forward to seeing you here next week. If you have any questions that you want to submit to the podcast, just feel free to go to TheAncestralRDs.com and click the contact tab to submit your question that way. But thanks for joining us and we’ll see you here next time.

Kelsey: Alright. Take care, Laura.

Laura: You too, Kelsey.

 

Disclaimer

This podcast is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and linkages to other sites, Laura Schoenfeld and Kelsey Marksteiner provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this podcast, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. Laura and Kelsey are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.

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Welcome to The Ancestral RDs Podcast!

Laura Schoenfeld and Kelsey Marksteiner, your favorite Ancestral Registered Dietitians, will teach you everything you need to know about ancestral nutrition and lifestyle to optimize your health - without stress or unnecessary restrictions!

Comments

  1. Brittany says

    Hi, I have seen Mat Lalonde’s video from AHS that you reference in the podcast and he didn’t say that bacon was devoid of nutrients. He actually said that bacon is one of the most nutrient dense foods. He separates out raw and cooked bacon and says that bacon grease has a low nutrient value. He says that when you cook bacon it becomes more nutrient dense because you are removing the bacon grease.

    • says

      What nutrients did he say bacon is high in? Considering it’s just muscle meat and is usually cooked at high temperatures (which destroys many micronutrients), I wouldn’t think there would be a whole lot of nutritional value beyond protein in bacon.

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