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Is bacon healthy?

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Quick Answer

Bacon is not a healthy food due to its high saturated fat content and the harmful chemicals that are created by processing the meat, notes WebMD. Bacon contains nitrates and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are believed to increase the risk of developing several types of cancers.

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Full Answer

Bacon is also very high in calories and sodium and may contribute to weight gain and high blood pressure, explains WebMD. Because of the unfavorable qualities of bacon, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends completely removing the food from one's diet. The high saturated fat content of bacon is responsible for raising cholesterol levels, which can lead to clogged arteries, heart disease and stroke, notes WebMD.

Turkey bacon is touted as a healthy alternative because it has less saturated fat and cholesterol than regular bacon, but turkey bacon is also considered a processed meat and can contribute to cancer if eaten frequently. Additional unhealthy processed meats to avoid include hot dogs, sausage, ham, pepperoni, bologna and salami. When faced with a choice between bacon and sausage, WebMD advises choosing bacon as it is less harmful. If it is impossible to avoid bacon, WebMD advises eating it infrequently and only in small portions of no more than 1 ounce.

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