If you’re looking to boost your health, chances are you might put down the Doritos and reach for a salad.
Nothing wrong with that. A hearty salad full of mixed greens and vegetables has many antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals that you won’t find in fake foods (i.e. Doritos, Boxed potatoes, and Swedish Fish).
However, there are some rumors floating around that reaching for a healthy salad means you don’t have the alternative of getting some crispy, crunchy bacon and you should avoid it.
This is just flat wrong.
There are more than a few reasons to make sure your fingers are covered from time to time in salty bacon drippings.
- It’s packed with protein. As a building block nutrient, protein will keep you full longer and the mitochondria in your body work harder to break down protein. At a cellular level, this means your body is working harder, boosting your metabolism, and helping you to shed pounds
- Bacon’s fat is natural. A few years ago, there was an all-out war against fat in advertising, PR campaigns, and across the news. The damage is still being seen today. We have low-fat, no-fat cream cheese. We have margarine. We have models walking the runway who are practically anorexic.But, if you think about it, you’ll realize that’s not the best approach to fat. Our brains are literally made of the goop.
If we’re cutting out natural fats like those found in bacon or avocado, we’re starving our bodies of the very substance it needs for proper synthesis.Starving our bodies from a reasonable amount of animal fat is just as bad as replacing our butter with margarine. The body needs fat in moderation, but natural fat always beats a chemical replacement.
3. It is the duct tape of the food world– While you won’t see a scientific study that screams “Bacon goes with anything”, you’ll see it in articles, restauranteurs, or on Pinterest. Bacon, as you notice, holds things together (literally and figuratively). It makes boring foods like broccoli and Brussel sprouts more tolerable, which could improve your eating habits. Or it can excite the tongue by pairing with a sweet food or a spicy food- think bacon wrapped dates or bacon wrapped jalapenos-, which is one reason junk foods perform so well.
Junk foods are often loaded with salts, fats, and MSG- by themselves, and in moderation,salts and fats are not necessarily bad. However, if you pair those two with MSG, you get a deadly combo. MSG literally creates a synthesis in the brain that masks the “full” receptors and will cause you to continue to eat continuously even when you’re no longer hungry, leading to weight gain, heart problems, and a host of other health issues.
Imagine trying to eat a bowl of Brussel sprouts drizzled in bacon fat- It’s a lot harder to gorge yourself because you have filled up on fats and fiber- Your stomach sends a signal of being full. The brain responds correctly because it can actually interpret the signal and is not confused by a chemical like mSG.
Now before I get totally off track and start salivating on the keyboard, let’s get back to the salad/bacon comparison.
One last reason that bacon is a smart food to reach for is its impact on the environment.
A recent study from Carnegie Mellon found that if Americans followed the diet as the USDA recommends, eating lettuce in the same caloric proportion as bacon would contribute to three times as much in greenhouse gasses to the environment as bacon!
[If] Americans were to switch their diets to fall in line with the Agriculture Department’s 2010 dietary recommendations, it would result in a 38 percent increase in energy use, 10 percent bump in water use and a 6 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
The reason for this is because on a per-calorie basis, many fruits, vegetables, dairy, and seafood—the foods the USDA pushes in the guidelines over sugary processed food and fats—are relatively resource-intensive, the study finds.
That’s as good a reason as any to consider bacon in your diet. So if you are concerned about your health and/or the health of the Earth, bacon might e a smarter choice than lettuce.
Remember, everything in moderation.
Do you think protecting the environment is something to weigh when considering bacon or a salad? Let us know in the comments.