Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Is bacon bad for you? (And other fat advice)

Unfortunately many people are completely in the dark when it comes to saturated fats like bacon (and other red meats for that matter), and have come to believe they should be avoided at all cost because they cause heart disease.

Well, that’s not exactly correct.

Let me explain why the belief that bacon is the devil is not accurate, as well as enlighten you about the health benefits of bacon (and other forms of fat too!).

Should you bring home the bacon?
Believe it or not, bacon is a healthy food!

Each serving of bacon contains an appreciable amount of monounsaturated fats—the same kind of fat found in “heart healthy” olive oil (as well as canola oil). 

Bacon fat is a natural antimicrobial—it helps fight dangerous bacteria, similar to garlic.

The fat in bacon is also rich in Vitamin D, which helps build strong bones, protects you against cancer, heart disease and diabetes, and strengthens your immune system functioning.

In addition, bacon contains phosphatidylcholine – a powerful antioxidant important for brain function.

The saturated fat in bacon helps lower your risk of developing heart disease by reducing lipoprotein (a), a known risk factor in the development cardiovascular disease.

Since saturated fats make food taste better, increase satiety and make you feel fuller longer, they also encourage weight loss.  They also protect your liver from toxins and help promote healthy lung function. 

And saturated fat is absolutely CRUCIAL for your brain.  Your brain is mostly made up of saturated fat and cholesterol, and every single nerve pathway is saturated fat driven.  So it should be no surprise that studies have linked a low-fat diet with conditions such as depression, mood swings, brain fog and impaired cognition.

Saturated fat is also your heart’s preferred fuel, plus it also contains substantial amounts of fat-soluble Vitamins A, E and K.

Know the good from the bad
Just like anything else, with bacon it’s important to know the good from the bad. As such, you need to   understand what nitrates and nitrites are.

Much of the commercial bacon (and other processed meats such as ham, sausage, hot dogs and lunch meat) available is nitrate-cured.  Nitrates are also found in abundance in many vegetables.

Where you can get into trouble is when nitrates become nitrites, then nitrites become nitrosamines.

Here’s why:
  • Nitrates in and of themselves are relatively benign, unless they are turned into nitrites by bacteria in your mouth or enzymes in your body.
  • Nitrites are the potentially dangerous molecules--they can either convert into Nitric Oxide (which is helpful) or nitrosamines (which can be harmful).
  • Nitric Oxide can help relax and dilate your blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure.  (This is how the drug nitroglycerin works, FYI.)  It can also help prevent or reverse angina.
  • Nitrosamines, on the other hand, are the bad guys—they are the potential carcinogens. Nitrosamines are created when nitrites are exposed to high heat.  And since bacon and similar meats are typically cooked at higher heats (such as on a stove or on a grill), that’s when you may be looking at the creation of dangerous nitrosamines. 

So should you swear off bacon?
It’s not necessary to completely swear off bacon, especially when you look at its potential health benefits. 

What you need to do instead is be more or a careful label-reader at the grocery store--look for organic, nitrate/nitrite-fee, hormone-free varieties.  Also look for products that don’t contain MSG or other additives, which pose dangers all of their own. 

If you can’t find organic, nitrate/nitrite-free varieties, at least cook your bacon on a lower heat for a longer period of time to help prevent the formation of nitrosamines.

Other important fat facts
Here are other important facts you must know to make wise choices about fats—getting what your body needs and helping to keep it healthy all the way.

1- Get good sources of saturated fats in moderation
Contrary to popular belief, ALL saturated fats are not bad. 

They're only bad IF you get way too many OR you eat the wrong kind (trans-fats). 
Examples of good saturated fats from Nature include fats from animal sources (meat, butter, lard, suet, milk, eggs and cheese) in moderation.

"Moderation" means that scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast or a 4 oz. portion of steak for dinner a few times a week is fine.
   
A daily diet of triple cheeseburgers for lunch and a 24 oz. porterhouse for dinner is NOT.

2- Stay FAR away from trans-fats
Trans-fats have been proven to be absolutely detrimental to your brain (and overall) health. 
Trans-fats compete with and "bully out" good fats for placement in your cell walls.  So instead of the fat they need, your brain cells can be clogged with a freak-fat that your body can't even metabolize and instead must try to detox out of you.

The good news is they're easy to spot--any time you see a food label that says hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil or shortening, do not buy it.  Even though trans-fats are now largely being eliminated from most processed foods, we’re not there yet and you still have to be a careful label reader.

Now if you need a little help avoiding trans-fats and getting tasty sources of good fats, the Great Taste No Pain system can help YOU become an expert!

Great Taste No Pain gives you step by step guides and meal ideas that help you to automatically limit trans-fats, while eating delicious foods that are inherently loaded with good fats.

It also teaches you the many dangers of trans-fats and processed foods to encourage you to keep them out of your life for good.

Note that if you’ve got gluten sensitivity, I’ve got you covered too.  Great Taste No Gluten is for you instead.

3- Get your daily dose of extra-virgin olive oil
Experts recommend that you incorporate one to two tablespoons of EVOO daily. 
That's easy to do--just drizzle some on your salad and on your vegetables and you've got what you need!

The Great Taste No Pain and Great Taste No Gluten systems can help here too--many of the dishes in the recipe books feature healthy extra-virgin olive oil. 

4- Get enough Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are Nature’s anti-inflammatory, they have been shown to help lower blood pressure, enhance brain function and ease achy joints and arthritis. 

These important fats are found in abundance in fatty fish—but unfortunately that's not something that most people eat on a daily basis.  
 
We're also not getting the Omega-3s in other foods like we used to due to our reliance on processed vegetables oils and meats from grain-fed animals (which are severely lacking in the Moega-3s they used to have, but are brimming with inflammation-stirring Omega-6 EFAs).

That's why daily supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids is so important for so many people.
And VitalMega-3 fish oil supplements are the perfect way to make sure you've got what you need. 

VitalMega-3 is loaded with 1,200 mg of Omega-3s in each and every daily two-capsule serving, including the all-important EPA and DHA in the 3:2 ratio recommended by health experts.

Now that you know the truth about bacon (and other sources of fat) you can make the best choices to help enhance your health for years to come.

To your health,

Sherry Brescia

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