Bacon: Health Benefits and Dangers
Pork dishes including bacon are the bone of contention for nutritionists and common healthy eaters. Vegetarians are not intruding to these debates as they are not eating meat in general. Foodies know that muscle gain decreases without animal protein as well as it results in disturbed functioning of internal organs and worsened metabolism.
Subcutaneous pork fat is useful product as it does not require thermal processing and salted lard can be stored for a long time and it doesn’t lose its useful properties.
Pork fat lovers call it a bacon in accordance with English tradition. But lard with meat layer and bacon are different products. Let’s discuss health benefits of high-quality bacon.
What Is a «True» Bacon?
Bacon consists of uniform alternating strips of meat and fat, which is obtained from British and Danish large breed pigs with a long back. In livestock, fattening takes more than half a year. Animals are fed per “alternation” technology which implies sticking with a protein-grain diet consisting of cereal and skimmed milk mixture combined with flour. The farmer monitors the weight of livestock preventing obesity and excessive thinness. The layer of high-quality lard should comprise from 3 to 10 centimeters.
Salting obtained bacon requires some skill. The technology ensures uniform filling of pieces with a pure brine per the Boma formula. Manufacturers use dry as well as wet salting method utilizing a brine. Quality of final product depends on quality of salting as well as used smoking method for processing of this delicacy.
Features of High-Quality Bacon
Consumer is provided with delicacy of three types based on its outlook, flavor and smell.
- High-quality should have dark-pink color and be dark spots free.
- Fat and meat tissues should be dense.
- It should not have any extra smells including salt smell.
- It should be slightly salty and soft to taste.
Commonly high-quality bacon is marked as a full branded. Second sort of bacon is denoted as a «half branded». Third sort of bacon is denoted as a «unbranded or cuts». This type of bacon is sold in carvings in common food stores. The first two types of bacon are offered to consumers in pieces packed into the kitchen film. High-quality product is too expensive, it is packed into fabric and is available for foodies.
Interesting fact is that Russian meat factories are calling raw smoked ribs a bacon. A «true» bacon is made from side part of the thoroughbred animals. In stores, one can buy «bacon made from turkey». These are cuts made from turkey thighs and they represent traditional delicacy made from lard with meat layer.
Consumer buys salty or smoked bacon made from side part of a spine of pork that is fed in accordance with certain technology. Bacon cut is looking as alternating of cuts of meat and fat with a width of 1,5 cm. Traditional bacon is looking in this way and it is called English bacon. There are also other «national» products such as:
- Canadian bacon which is made from back part of pork. It is a lean pork which is very expensive. In Russia, it is only sold in premium stores.
- Italian bacon Pancetta is a fat pork cut seasoned with herbs and spices.
- Danish bacon has a larger layer of meat than one of a fat. It is exported to Russia and Europe. It is very famous worldwide as well as in Copenhagen, which is recognized as a gastronomical capital of the world.
- Irish bacon has layers of lean lard. It is very rarely sold in Russia.
- «Russian» bacon is a brisket of meat which is smoked and has a lard alternated with meat. It is sold at nice price in cuts and servings.
Health Benefits and Chemistry of Bacon
Whatever producing country is, bacon always contains subcutaneous pork fat. It is a proven fact that pork fat contains useful biologically active substances such as:
- Vitamins A, D, E, В which ensure proper functioning of heart, smooth skin and good visual acuity;
- Proteins which ensure muscle gain and help people stay fit;
- Unsaturated amino acids which ensure proper functioning of liver, brain and kidneys;
Fat is very valuable because it is rich in vitamin F which is a polyunsaturated arachidonic acid. This acid can be found in peanut and olive oil, but fat contains over 10 times more unsaturated amino acids. This acid binds with cholesterol making it a “good” one: it prevents formation of cholesteric plaques in the blood vessel walls of blood vessels. Bacon prevents development of an atherosclerosis. Bacon’s melting point is approaching the body temperature, this parameter is based on utility of the product in contrast to palm oil that does not melt or “deposits” on the walls of the esophagus and stomach. Bacon benefits impaired people and athletes who want to gain weight fast as well as it is good for pregnant women.
Nutritional Value of Bacon
100 grams of bacon contains up to 300 – 500 kcal.
- Bacon contains up to 35 to 45 grams of fat and «ensures» up to 400 kcal of nutritional value. It is one tenth of daily intake of saturated and unsaturated fats.
- Bacon contains up to 20 – 25 grams of protein. It is a one fourth of daily intake for sportsman with strong muscle tone and one half of daily intake for subtle gymnast.
- Bacon contains up to 60 – 70 mg of cholesterol which is 20% of daily intake.
- Bacon contains up to 1-2 grams of carbs which is about 8 kcal of daily intake.
- Bacon contains up to 10 –14 grams of sodium which is a half of daily intake.
Contains the following number of nutrients:
- Up to 35 % of selenium;
- Up to 25 % of phosphorus;
- Up to 9,3 % of zinc;
- Up to 4,5 % of magnesium;
- Up to 3,8 % of iron;
- Up to 50 % of vitamin B1;
- Up to 30 % of vitamin B3;
- Up to 6 – 20 % of vitamin B6.
In Sports Nutrition
Knowing chemistry of this delicacy as well as its nutritional value, athletes may include this product into “heavy” dieting days intended to cover intensive training for competition and marathon. Small portions of bacon can be consumed several times during those days. A tasty dish can be made from lean chicken breast, which is wrapped into a slice of bacon. It is a very useful food for the body when it is time to get a lot of protein. Bacon can also be consumed along with condiments and vegetables containing a coarse fiber. Such a diet reduces loading of liver and multiplies beneficial properties of the bacon. 100 grams of salted bacon with vegetable salad seasoned with vegetable oil will cover a need for fats and proteins during the 2-hour workout.
Dishes based on bacon enhance vitality, strengthen the skeleton and balance hormones. Selenium, magnesium and zinc stabilize male libido.
Disadvantages of Bacon
Bacon is a salted and smoked product. Therefore, it should be consumed in moderation as sodium retains water in body disturbing the water-salt balance. You should not go heavy on bacon in presence of a kidney disease and you should limit its consumption up to 100 g twice a week. Hypertensive people must adhere to the same regime. Consumed in large quantities, it may disturb functioning of gastrointestinal tract even in healthy people.
Smoked product should be consumed even in smaller quantities as smoked products increase a risk of development of oncological diseases of the intestine. You should learn how to distinguish high-quality smoked product from the bad one with “liquid smoke” used to make it. High-quality bacon has a light brown color. Artificially smoked bacon has a bright, saturated color.
Bacon is bad for your health if classic technology is not followed during production process. Unscrupulous manufacturers flavor the product with additives, ammonium nitrate and other flavoring agents. Product with such additives is harmful for your body as it causes intoxication.
One should properly chose high-quality bacon paying attention to its chemistry. «Right» bacon consists of meat, lard and salt. Wooden smoke is used to smoke bacon. Do not be cheap with price as cheap bacon is not good for your health. Pay attention to best before date, outlook and color of a meat delicacy. Once you have bought this natural product, don’t go heavy on that. Moderation in everything will do only good to you.