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Why You Shouldn't Fear Bacon

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Bacon has gained a bad reputation in mainstream media because of the high levels of saturated fat and sodium. Are there valid reasons to avoid bacon?

Saturated Fat and Low-Carb Diets

As discussed in this post, there is no evidence that:

  • too much saturated fat raises cholesterol
  • saturated fat causes heart disease
  • high cholesterol causes heart disease
  • lowering cholesterol reduces heart disease
  • there is a correlation between obesity rates and the amount of fat consumption
  • there is a correlation between obesity rates and the amount of protein consumption

The types of fat you should be worried about are toxic trans fats and polyunsaturated fats, particularly high omega 6 to omega 3 ratio.

The true reason for heart disease is inflammation, not saturated fat or cholesterol. Don't be afraid of saturated fat - instead, include a variety of foods high in monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids.

Sodium and Low-Carb Diets

It's a fact that bacon is high in sodium, but is it bad for us? The general advise is to keep sodium low. However, for low-carb ketogenic diets, an increased amount is desired.

The RDA of sodium according to the USDA is 2,300 mg, which may not be enough for a low-carb diet. The reason is that insulin, which also has the effect of reducing the rate at which sodium is extracted through kidneys, drops and it can cause sodium levels to drop significantly, too. Also, as you eliminate processed foods from your diet, your sodium intake will likely be lower than what you've been used to.

You can also check my post about the importance of electrolytes. Increased intake of electrolytes will help you overcome the side effects of giving up carbohydrates (fatigue, cramps and headaches).

So, how much sodium is adequate? You should add about 3,000-5,000 mg in addition to sodium naturally occurring in food (Lyle McDonald, "The Ketogenic Diet"). Don't get the idea that you can eat a cup of salt a day when on low-carb.

100 g / 3.5 oz of bacon contains about 2,000 mg of sodium. Taking everything into account, you shouldn't worry about sodium content in bacon.

How about nitrates found in bacon?

As long as your diet is high in anti-oxidants, nitrates are acceptable in moderation.

Best Keto Recipes with Bacon

Looking for low-carb & paleo recipes with bacon? Here are over 25 tasty options to choose from!

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Martina Slajerova
Creator of

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (12)

What do you base this statement (below) on? What is 'in moderation'? Any research to back it?
"How about nitrates found in bacon?
As long as your diet is high in anti-oxidants, nitrates are acceptable in moderation."

This has been thoroughly analysed and discussed on several websites, including Chris Kresser's blog - if you do a google search you'll find all you need.

First time I've seen this and responded to any thing like this. I have email type finnaly.  Not a computer, Facebook,Blog or Internet user.  Not sure what all should be done ,thank you for information and putting this out for people like me to accidentally find.

Just wondering which brand of bacon you purchase since many of them have sugar listed as an ingredient.
Thank you,

Hi Natalie, I live in the UK and the vast majority of bacon is sugar-free. Maybe someone else can comment?

Is there a link to the recipe in the main picture. I need to eat more avocados and that looks great!

Hi Sydney, the Guacamole is here: Quick & Easy Chunky Guacamole

So is it best to cook bacon at 275 for longer?

Yes, this is better. I usually cook mine at 275 F / 135 C for 30 minutes.

After constantly hearing the negative connotations associated with nitrate content in bacon, I ate it seldom to avoid what could potentially cause digestive inflammation.  However, after reading your post and researching other studies, unprocessed bacon is good in moderation if a well balanced diet full of antioxidants to balance the gut.  I advise taking a digestive enzyme always before a fat laden meal to aid digestion.

Fabulous post! Everything about nitrates I was looking for - I used to avoid bacon for this reason, what a fool I was 😊

So true - nobody will touch my bacon! Thanks for this! 😊