Q:

Is bacon bad for you?

A:

Quick Answer

While Renee Jacques of The Huffington Posts states that bacon is unhealthy, loaded with saturated fats and sodium and also linked to heart disease, WebMD notes it is not necessary to eliminate bacon from a diet as long as moderation is practiced and healthy choices are made. WebMD recommends restricting bacon to 1 ounce per day and choosing leaner types or substituting turkey bacon.

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Full Answer

While bacon is a significant source of saturated fats, Jacques also reports that bacon is high in niacin, or vitamin B3. Although it is healthier to obtain niacin from tomatoes and peanuts, bacon is a good source of vitamin B3. Bacon also contains choline, a chemical essential for the proper development of fetal brains.

According to WebMD, both bacon and turkey bacon are categorized as processed meat, which studies have concluded lead to a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. However, the exact reason is unknown, though it is hypothesized that nitrates and carcinogens contribute to the higher risk.

Jacques warns that bacon is often made from factory-farmed pigs, many of which are potential carriers for MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, when comparing bacon to sausages, both Jacques and WebMD conclude that bacon is the healthier option, with slightly less calories, fat and cholesterol.

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