How Bad Is Bacon for You, Really?

Leslie Nemo, Live Science – It’s a debate that plays out in everyone’s head during a weekend brunch:

Should I be eating this much bacon?

Researchers have been diving into the question, too.

The question once again jumped to the forefront of people’s minds with the recent release of a study that concluded that bacon and several other types of meat are tied to an increased risk of breast cancer.

The research, published in September in the International Journal of Cancer Research, looked at 15 previous studies, including a total of more than 1.2 million women, focused on the link between breast cancer and processed meat.

The researchers found that individuals who consumed the most processed meat — about 1 ounce a day — had about a 9 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared with those who ate the least processed meat, which was about 1 ounce per week.

Not every paper looking into this relationship has come to the same conclusion, however: A World Health Organization-affiliated study from 2015, for example, did not, though it did decide these foods increased the risk of colorectal cancer.

[If you’re already at high risk for breast cancer, this may be a study you want to pay attention to. But we wanted more information before drawing any conclusions about bacon and health … see below.  Ed.]

Is Bacon Bad for You, or Good? The Salty, Crunchy Truth

HealthLine  – Many people have a love-hate relationship with bacon.

They love the taste and crunchiness but are worried that all that processed meat and fat could be harmful.

Well, many myths in the history of nutrition didn’t stand the test of time.

Let’s find out if the idea that bacon causes harm is one of them …

  • Bacon is made from pork and goes through a curing process where it is soaked in salt, nitrates and other ingredients.
  • Bacon is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which are not as harmful as previously believed. Also, the typical serving size of bacon is small.
  • Pork is rich in many nutrients, including protein and several vitamins. The same holds true for bacon.
  • Eating a lot of bacon and other salty foods raises blood pressure in salt-sensitive people. It may also increase the risk of stomach cancer.
  • Fried bacon may be high in nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. However, food producers have managed to reduce the nitrosamine content significantly by adding vitamin C.
  • All meat should be cooked well enough to kill potential pathogens, but not so much that it gets burnt.
  • Observational studies consistently show a link between processed meat consumption, heart disease and several types of cancer

The Bottom Line

Many studies have linked processed meat products, such as bacon, with cancer and heart disease.

All of them are observational studies, which cannot prove causation. Nonetheless, their results have been fairly consistent.

At the end of the day, you have to make your own choice and take a look at the matter objectively.

If you think including bacon in your life is worth the risk, then stick to a simple rule that applies to most processed food products: moderation is key.

Read the full story at HealthLine

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