“Experts” from every corner of the health arena seem to get their shorts in a bunch about many of the food items available to us. Many times they’re correct when they label something harmful. Sugars and artificial sweeteners are predominantly unnecessary and potentially harmful. Some meats and dairy products contain hormones that certainly aren’t healthy for humans.
The list of “bad” foods is in a constant state of flux, but one food often appears as both dangerous and deadly. BACON. We’re told that the fat in bacon can clog our arteries – and even push our cholesterol levels to dangerous highs. Even worse – to some people – are the nitrates that are used to cure bacon. Nitrates are linked to cancer and we’re admonished to avoid them – and to not consume foods that contain them, like bacon.
Still, millions of people consume bacon in a myriad of forms. I’ve had candied bacon in chocolate ice cream and, like so many others, mushrooms or sausages wrapped in bacon. The sausage wraps are delicious, but, according to the “you should fear nitrates” crowd, we consume a double whammy when we eat two foods laced with nitrates.
Okay, I’ll accept that nitrates are directly associated with cancer. But, so are most things – when consumed in excess. Chris Kresser explains “The Nitrate and Nitrite Myth” and he does so convincingly. Please review his article here http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon.
The fact of the matter is not so much wrapped in the details about nitrates and nitrites themselves, but possibly in the quantities consumed. Eat nothing but bacon and you deserve to get sick and even die. That’s a dumb move. So is avoiding all bacon. A little here and there as a flavorful treat is harmless. Even if the ingredients can be harmful, our marvelous bodies can handle it – in moderation.
That’s the key – moderation. It brings me back to my oft-reported 80/20 rule: Do Your BEST to Eat the Best Things 80% of the Time (give or take a few percentage points). Then, ENJOY something “forbidden” at other times. The idea is to not swing too far to either extreme (ex: bacon all the time vs. no bacon at all).
Now, if you don’t like bacon, I am not suggesting you go out and start scarfing it down just because you want to fill in some of the spaces in your 20% side. If you like it and want it, go ahead and eat it.
This same approach is valid for practically any food on the market.