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I don't think bacon is necessarily bad for you, but I don't think it's good for you, either. It's very low in nutrients and has little antioxidant activity...it's pretty close to empty fat, so it's great for slowing or reversing weight loss with little health benefits.
However, it also tastes phenomenal and a little goes a long way. 3 or 4 bacon strips in a whole pot of chili won't add much to the caloric content per serving, but it'll add loads of flavor. I avoid bacon as a staple, but I embrace it as a topping.
In general, cured meats probably aren't as healthy as fresh meats. EXCEPT PORK. Fresh pork is IMO one of the only unhealthy meats, and I've cut my pork consumption to near zero these days. Remember, pork is so popular in America because it was so easy to cure and store before refrigeration - traditional pork consumption is generally cured, not fresh. Fresh pork, even pastured, tends to coagulate the blood similar to a virus, and many diseases that infect pigs also infect humans since our flesh is so similar. I would much rather eat ham and bacon than fresh pork chops or ribs. On the occasions you do make fresh pork, submerge it in vinegar the day before. That seems to stop to blood coagulation. Curing will also stop the coagulation process and will kill any parasites in the pork.
Here is your blood:
Here is your blood on fresh, pastured pork:
Here is your blood on fresh, pastured pork after being marinated in vinegar, completely submerged, for 24 hours:
Here is your blood on bacon:
Here is your blood on proscuitto:
Here is your blood on fresh lamb:
Pork is the one meat we probably shouldn't be eating raw and untreated. I have a conspiracy theory in my head that human bodies don't process fresh pork well because the flesh is so similar to ours that it confuses it with cannibalism...but maybe that's me being irrational and crazy. Perhaps pork contains some yet undiscovered anti-nutrient or toxin that heat does not kill but acids and curing salts do? Hmmm...
If you read the actual study (I did, of course) you find that they found no change in mortality rates for people who didn't smoke and never smoked. They go on to say that the results *could* be improper adjustment for the smoking confounding factor. In other words, smokers lied about how much they smoked....and now the media is lying about the study because it fits the narrative. Here is the exact wording from the provisional pdf which can be found here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content...7015-11-63.pdf
"We cannot exclude residual confounding, in particular due to incomplete adjustment for active and passive smoking. The sub-group analysis for processed meat showed heterogeneity according to smoking, with significant associations only in former and current smokers and no significant associations in never smokers, which is compatible with residual confounding by smoking."
The article also did not say whether they separated out processed meats containing fillers or grains of various types from other meats. Eg, if it's OK to eat a hamburger that you make at home, would it then also be OK to eat sausage that you make at home? And in that case, what would be the differences between that sausage and a processed sausage? It would have to be in the chemicals or filters added to it. And in that case, not all processed meats are equal.
Seriously folks, if you're THAT worried about bacon being processed, buy pork belly or pig snout. Cut slices. Fry until crisp, no oil needed.
Bingo! Uncured, unprocessed bacon that tastes, in some ways, even better!
"The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."