However, it gets a lot of bad press from the mainstream media – most of which is undeserved.
A point often overlooked is that bacon is incredibly nutrient-dense.
So, in the interest of giving some balance to the continuous stream of negative news, here are 43 reasons to eat bacon.
Could it be good for you?
Reasons to Eat Bacon
Prior to discussing the topic in full, here are the reasons to eat bacon at a glance:
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#1. Bacon Raises High-density Lipoprotein (HDL)
The conventional narrative says that bacon is bad for our heart health because it’s full of “artery-clogging” saturated fats.
In fact, bacon consumption results in increased high-density lipoprotein levels. Otherwise known as the “good cholesterol,” higher HDL levels have a protective effect against cardiovascular disease (6).
Foods high in fat such as bacon tend to raise HDL levels.
#2. Bacon is High in Potassium
Potassium is an essential mineral, and far too many people are deficient in it.
For instance, less than 2% of US adults are meeting the recommended dietary intake of the mineral (7).
This deficiency is especially importance since potassium regulates blood pressure, and low potassium levels are a significant cardiovascular risk (8).
On the positive side, bacon offers a decent amount of the mineral; 17% of the RDA per 100g (9).
#3. It Curbs Hunger and Stops Food Cravings
Food cravings affect many people in modern society. It’s not so surprising when there are hyper-palatable foods available on every street.
Despite many people trying to move towards healthier diets, hunger pangs and cravings for sugary/carb-filled food are common.
The key to beating these cravings is to emphasize foods that increase satiety.
#4. Significant Source of Protein
As mentioned above, bacon is a major dietary source of protein.
It provides 38g protein per 100g (12).
Bacon is delicious and makes any meal it’s in taste much better.
And there’s science in this too; according to the BBC, the taste of bacon hinges on chemistry and a complex molecular mix.
#6. It’s Low in Carbs
Bacon is one of the very best low carb choices.
Per 100g, the macronutrient breakdown looks like this:
- Carbohydrate: 1g
- Fat: 42g
- Protein: 37g
If there was ever a food that’s low in carbs and high in fat (LCHF), then bacon is it.
#7. It Has an Amazing Smell
In addition to an amazing taste, it smells pretty good too.
Most people have woken to the smell of bacon coming from the kitchen, and it’s definitely something to help get you out of bed.
And so much more appealing than the idea of toast and soggy cornflakes.
#8. Bacon is Full of Selenium
Selenium is a mineral that is responsible for (13):
- Exerting antioxidant effects in the body
- Improving thyroid function
- Optimizing DNA production
- Strengthening the immune system
Notably, bacon contains high levels of selenium: 93% of the RDA per 100g (12).
#9. It Works Well With Literally Anything
A variety of cuisines use it in their dishes, and it fits well with so many different foods.
Often seen in BLT sandwiches, carbonara, pizza, English breakfasts, and more.
In recent times, people are even combining bacon with chocolate — and that tastes great too.
The picture on the right shows a recipe for ‘chocolate covered bacon’ which contains:
- Coconut oil
You can see how to make it here.
#10. Bacon is High in “Heart Healthy” Oleic Acid
Almost everyone refers to olive oil as “heart healthy” and something that belongs in our diet.
Of course, the predominant fatty acid in olive oil goes by the name of ‘oleic acid’ (14).
In contrast, many people refer to bacon as “greasy” and “full of bad fat.”
But guess what? The primary fatty acid in bacon is oleic acid: the very same fat as in olive oil (15).
#11. Nitrate Fears: Overplayed?
There is a fear of the nitrates most commercial bacon contains. Firstly, if you want to avoid nitrates, then you can always choose a smoked uncured bacon. However, this might not be necessary as some of the worries over nitrate may be unfounded.
Chris Kresser writes a nice article, in which he argues the case that these compounds occur naturally in vegetables, are not problematic, and that there’s no real reason to avoid them.
However, as with many things in nutrition, there may be a difference between a naturally occurring substance and a synthetic one. For example, some studies demonstrate that inorganic nitrate consumption (like in bacon) may lead to the formation of carcinogenic N-nitrosamines (16, 17).
But significantly, even if you believe that nitrosamines in bacon can be a concern, research shows that vitamin C inhibits the conversion of nitrate to nitrosamine (18). So, eating some leafy greens with your bacon could be a good bet if you have any concerns.
Perhaps the most important point is cooking temperature. Studies show that frying bacon at 210°F results in no nitrosamine formation.
However, some nitrosamines do form at a frying temperature of 350°F (19).
Slightly longer, gentler cooking methods are always a safe bet, and they probably make bacon better for you.
Thiamine is an essential vitamin that we can find in animal foods.
Bacon is no exception, and provides ample amounts of the vitamin: 100g provides 31% of the recommended daily value (12).
#13. Bacon Contains Choline
Choline is an important mineral and mainly occurs in fatty animal foods. Some of the best sources are liver, egg yolks, and meat.
Unfortunately, choline deficiency is rife in modern times due to the widespread fear of animal fats.
And the mineral is crucial for our body; it plays a role in methylation, DNA, and detoxification systems.
The good news is that bacon is also a good source of choline, and provides 131mg per 100g (there is no RDA for choline) (12).
#14. No Blood Glucose or Insulin Spike
Bacon is extremely low in carbohydrate and very high in fat.
As a result, there are no blood glucose or insulin spikes following bacon consumption.
This fact makes bacon an excellent choice for people with diabetes, as well as anyone who is trying to maintain stable blood glucose levels.
Poor quality foods such as sugar, bread, and other refined carbohydrates tend to skyrocket blood sugar levels.
#15. Full of Saturated Fat
Despite the decades-long fear over saturated fat, more people now realize that naturally occurring saturated fats are not bad for you.
In fact, they are good for you.
And further, they play a critical role in every cell in our body.
This article by Chris Masterjohn brilliantly explains why saturated fats are so important to our overall health.
Despite mainly providing monounsaturated fat, bacon also offers a decent supply of saturated fat and contains approximately 13g per 100g (12).
#16. It’s a “Paleo” Food (sort of!)
Of course, real cave dwellers didn’t have bacon (nor did they have most of the commercial fruits and vegetables available today).
But bacon does have an extremely long history, and it has been part of diets around the world for centuries.
And the curing of meat was essential prior to refrigeration. Salting pork helped preserve the meat and protect it from bacterial contamination.
#17. Bacon and Eggs
It’s my favorite breakfast and possibly the greatest combination of any two foods: bacon and eggs.
Here is a picture:
#18. Tastes Delicious However It’s Made
Bacon tastes amazing no matter how you cook it.
Whether it’s pan-fried, baked, used in soup or on a homemade pizza — it never fails to taste good.
And any food tastes a lot better with bacon than it does without it.
#19. Bacon Pate
Pate is a traditional food that we can make by mixing butter with pureed meat and seasonings.
In fact, my parents used to give me bacon & liver pate as a child because it was the only way I’d eat liver!
So, pate can be a good way of getting some nutritious organ meats into your diet too.
And any pate that contains bacon tastes great — and it’s quite easy to make.
Here’s a simple recipe:
- First, place a pan on heat and melt 5oz butter
- Put 10 slices of bacon, 1 small onion, and 2 cloves of garlic into the pan and cook gently
- Add 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and any seasonings you like (salt, pepper, Italian herbs, nutmeg, etc.)
- Next, after fully cooking puree/blend the entire mixture.
- Refrigerate. It will harden in the fridge, and your spreadable pate will soon be ready
#20. It Has a Decent Amount of Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Bacon provides a good source of all B vitamins, and riboflavin is no exception.
100g bacon contains 16% of the vitamin B2 RDA (12).
#21. Bacon-Wrapped Sausages
While bacon and eggs take first place, bacon-wrapped sausages come in a close second!
They’re so tasty that they even win a place at the Christmas dinner table.
Have you ever had terrible tasting bacon?
With most foods, the quality can be very different from one meal to the next. For example; steak is one of the most popular foods, but a poorly prepared steak doesn’t taste so great.
In contrast, if you ever have bad bacon…… it still tastes pretty good.
#23. Provider of Iron
As a fatty meat, bacon doesn’t have quite as much iron as leaner meats do.
But it still provides a source of this essential mineral and offers 8% of the RDA per 100g (12).
#24. Bacon Contains Pantothenate (Vitamin B5)
Here’s yet another of the vitamin B family that bacon contains.
13% RDA per 100g (12).
There are many fake bacon products available which are not the real thing.
They’re also not real tasty nor are they real good for you!
For instance, take ‘vegan bacon’ — the main ingredients look like this:
- Soy protein
- Soy isolate
- Wheat gluten
- Soybean oil
- Soy protein concentrate
It’s a bunch of soy flours and refined soybean oil, held together by gluten, with added flavorings to give it some taste.
On the other hand, turkey bacon is real food, but it doesn’t match the real thing in the taste department.
Real bacon is always best.
#26. It’s Very Simple to Make
Put it on the oven grill for 10 minutes, or pan-fry for a similar amount of time.
Bacon is simple to make and you can have a meal ready to eat in no time at all.
#27. Helps People Adjust to Low Carb/LCHF/Keto
Sometimes, new adopters of lower carb diets face two problems; food cravings and sodium imbalances.
First, bacon is amazing for satiety and can kill sugar cravings dead.
Secondly, it’s also high in salt, so it can be helpful when people first start a low carb diet.
#28. Massive Source of Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Vitamin B3 is otherwise known as Niacin, and it’s a vitamin that gets a lot of attention for its cardiovascular benefits.
Research studies show that Niacin helps:
- Protect against hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) (25)
- Fight age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease; people with low dietary intake of niacin have increased risk (26)
And the superb news is that bacon provides a huge source of niacin – 58% of the RDA per 100g (12).
I usually eat bacon and eggs for breakfast every Saturday morning.
And there’s no breakfast that I look forward to more.
Bacon and eggs, alongside some mushrooms and a grilled tomato, is the best breakfast in the world in my book.
#30. Contains Large Amounts of Phosphorus
Phosphorus is another mineral that bacon provides an ample supply of; 56% of the RDA per 100g (12).
In fact, we can find over 85% of our body’s phosphorus in our bones and teeth (29).
#31. Has a Decent Balance of Fats
As previously mentioned, the predominant fat in bacon is oleic acid– the same type of monounsaturated fat found in olive oil.
And per 100g, the breakdown of fats in bacon looks like this (12):
- Total Fat: 40.3g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 18g
- Saturated Fat: 13.3g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.5g (omega-3: 200mg, omega-6: 4193mg)
The only negative here is the large imbalance between omega-3 and omega-6, which stands at about 20:1 in favor of omega-6.
Pastured pigs may offer a slightly better ratio, but these pigs don’t eat grass and still eat the high PUFA feed.
However, on the positive side, the total amount of polyunsaturated fat is very low.
If you’re avoiding omega-6 vegetable oils and including fatty fish in your diet, then this is unlikely to be a concern.
#32. Decent Supplier of Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
Vitamin B6 is necessary for hormone production, brain development, and mood (32).
Bacon offers 17% of the RDA for pyridoxine (12).
Can you imagine a cheese quiche without bacon? Or just fried eggs by themselves?
They’d still be good, but bacon makes them taste that much better.
No matter what dish, bacon helps improve the taste of whatever food you combine it with.
#34. It Can Help You Lose Weight
Of course, this isn’t in a ‘magical pill’ way.
If you eat piles and piles of bacon, then you’ll likely struggle with a few weight problems.
But bacon may help you lose weight indirectly. Due to the impact it has on satiety, a breakfast of bacon sure helps discourage snacking throughout the day.
In fact, many people report success with this and a quick Google of “bacon + weight loss” shows many success stories.
Recently, this idea gained some media coverage as part of ‘10 surprising ways you can lose weight‘.
#35. Contributes a Large Amount of Zinc
Another nutrient in bacon’s arsenal is zinc, and the salty meat contains 24% of the RDA per 100g (12).
#36. Source of Magnesium
Bacon is also a good source of magnesium, an essential mineral which is imperative for human health.
Bacon provides 9% of the RDA per 100g (12).
Recent research has shed light on improved mood in evenings before a bacon breakfast.
No, I’m just joking… but bacon is delicious and generally makes people happy.
#38. One of the Best Vitamin B12 Sources
High in many B vitamins, bacon also contains 22% of the RDA for vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) (12).
This vitamin helps keep our red blood cells, DNA, and nerve cells in a healthy state (39).
#39. Eating Nothing But Bacon Improves Health?
This one is a bit surprising, and not something I would recommend anyone to do.
But it’s what someone called Dan Quibell did in something known as ‘the bacon experiment.’
In short, here’s what happened:
- Dan ate 2lbs (908g) of bacon per day, for 30 days.
- He didn’t eat anything else except the bacon
- He lost 19lbs weight over the month.
- Dan’s health markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol numbers, and liver markers all improved.
This little experiment suggests bacon may be good for you! But, again… I don’t recommend a bacon-only diet.
If you want to read more about this story, you can read an interview on ketogasm.
#40. Brussel Sprouts and Bacon
Sprouts are a pretty nutritious vegetable, and they taste good too. But, they are just sprouts.
Nobody really thinks about them as one of the most delicious foods (I think).
But pair them up with bacon, and it’s entirely different. While they don’t come close to bacon and eggs, this is a combination that tastes great.
Here are some yummy recipes:
A lot of people don’t realize, but it’s fairly easy to make bacon at home.
And it can be tastier, healthier, and a whole lot cheaper than buying the stuff from a store.
That said, it does require a bit of work.
If you’re interested in learning more, then here’s an excellent guide to homemade bacon.
#42. It Can Be a Dessert
We saw chocolate-coated bacon earlier on, but there are many other dessert variations of bacon too.
Ever wanted to try low-carb maple bacon pecan muffins? Well, there’s a recipe for that.
And Maria Emmerich has a recipe for some rather interesting bacon ice-cream cones too.
#43. Bacon Lardons
Lardons are thicker, crispier, and juicier slabs of bacon than normal and they taste great.
Originating from France, they are added to a variety of dishes to boost the depth of flavor.
They can also be eaten (and taste just great) by themselves.
And that’s the end!
Is Bacon Good For You?
This article mentioned many reasons to eat it, but is bacon good for you?
Firstly, I’d say that unprocessed red meat is a better choice. But bacon certainly isn’t as bad for you as the media often make out.
Despite the fears over nitrate, it’s a nutritious food that can fit into a healthy diet.
And waking up to bacon is a whole lot better than some low-fat frankenfood made of oil and flour.
What are your thoughts about bacon? Can it be part of a healthy diet?