I am not the biggest fan of bacon, but my brothers and husband really love it. I will admit I have tried the candied bacon at Honky Tonk (served on a beer no less) and Vosage Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar. It tastes good, I’m just not one of those people that thinks ‘bacon makes everything taste better.’ I am certainly not trying to ruin anyone’s personal love affair with bacon, but I have decided to respond to my husband’s repetitive inquiry, ‘com’on, bacon isn’t that bad for you?’ So I guess in some ways this is a letter to my husband.
Nutritionally speaking, bacon is as bad for you as they say. But it isn’t because of the calories. There is actually only about 40 calories in a strip. And believe it or not it is not because of the fat. There is about 3.5 grams of fat in one strip.
The problem with bacon is not only that it is high in sodium with a fair amount of saturated fat, but it is filled with nitrates. Sodium nitrate is a preservative that you should look for on packages. It is like trans fat. The trans fat awareness has changed the way a lot of companies process their food and now it is a huge selling point for cereals, crackers, peanut butters and so forth in luring consumers to buy their product. I wish there was a sodium nitrate movement because it would force people to look more closely at this derivative of nitric acid. The use of sodium nitrate and its effect on the body is being more closely evaluated. It has been suggested it has carcinogenic properties. But aside from this potential, sodium nitrate is actually dangerous when it come in contact with other substances possibly causing a fire, inhaling it can cause problems with your respiratory system and exposure directly to your skin can cause severe irritation.
Now granted, most are not inhaling bacon, rubbing it on their body (although I have heard a few stories) or rubbing it with potential combustibles, but the fact that there is an ingredient in bacon that has these effects freaks me out. Luckily, many of the organic manufacturers are producing bacon without nitrates. Here is a list of some of the better options out there. So, if 40 calories a strip and 3.5 grams of mostly saturated fat doesn’t deter you, then try one of these products on your BLT, with your eggs or covered in dark chocolate.