Bacon Sales Increase Despite Serious Health Risks

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Bacon Sales Increase Despite Serious Health Risks
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Bacon Sales Increase Despite Serious Health Risks

Read on to learn why it might be smart to quit bringing home the bacon.

Bacon sales in the U.S. have risen by 10 percent since last year, which brought in a whopping $4 billion for the bacon industry.

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It comes as no surprise that 65 percent of Americans agreed with the idea to make bacon America's national food.

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Sadly, since bacon is high in saturated fats and sodium, it's not very healthy. Studies have found that saturated fats associated with heart disease and excess sodium can be problematic for individuals with high blood pressure.

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Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that the consumption of processed meats, like bacon or sausage, is associated with a 19 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and a 42 percent higher risk of developing heart disease.

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The sodium nitrates in processed meats like bacon can also increase the risk of heart disease.

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Bacon gets its tempting flavor from the Maillard Reaction, which is when the protein on the surface of meat becomes denatured and recombines with present sugars. This reaction gives bacon its distinctive taste.

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Interestingly, the classic combination of maple syrup and bacon increases the craving for meat, making you want to eat even more, according to researchers from Harvard.

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The good news is that you can still enjoy limited amounts of bacon if you enjoy it as a topping, rather than a main dish.

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If you love bacon, there's no need to avoid it entirely. One serving or less a week isn't associated with any risk of developing disease.

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Humans have basic senses of taste like bitter, sweet, sour and salty. However, it is theorized that bacon falls under a fifth sense of taste called "umami," which is why people like parmesan cheese, soy sauce and meat.

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Bacon is cured and smoked before you purchase it, which increases its sodium content.

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Bacon is so popular that it was turned into a flavor for mayonnaise called Baconnaise, which is both kosher and vegetarian. At least the product offers a moderately healthier way to enjoy the flavor of bacon!

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The company that created Baconnaise also invented a bacon-flavored popcorn and Bacon Salt.

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When frying traditional pork bacon, the fat melts out, which aids the cooking process. However, letting bacon cook in its own fat isn't the healthiest method. Instead try cooking bacon strips on a rack in a pan so that the fat drains away.

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Vegetarians and vegans can even make their own bacon out of tofu. By slicing tofu thinly and frying it with tasty spices, it's easy to make a healthy bacon alternative.

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Bacon can also be prepared in the oven. By cooking bacon on a rack in a baking sheet, the fat will drip away, lightening up the savory treat.

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When choosing between a side of sausage or bacon, it turns out bacon is the healthier choice. According to WebMD, bacon is the lesser of two evils.

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Eating a bacon sandwich when hungover is actually a decent cure-all. Drinking too much depletes neurotransmitters. Since bacon is full of amino acids (which are a key component of neurotransmitters), it makes you feel better.

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Bacon is definitely a trendy food these days.

It's moved beyond breakfast and can now appear in practically any meal, but just because the savory treat is as ubiquitous as kale, doesn't make it healthy to consume in large quantities.

Check out the slideshow above to learn why it might be time to cut back on the bacon.

More from Kitchen Daily:
How to Save Money at the Meat Counter
A Bit About Bacon
What Makes Meat So Delicious?

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