A recent announcement by the World Health Organization placing processed meats on a list of known carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) has resulted in instant push-back from bacon lovers. The recommendations come from an evaluation by 22 scientists who determined that eating processed meat on a regular basis increases the risk of developing some forms of cancer, most notably colorectal cancer. While this may be true, the risk factor remains extremely low for most people. What those scientists failed to take into consideration are some of the health benefits associated with one of America’s most popular processed meats: bacon.
Providing a Quick Burst of Energy
Pork helps maintain energy levels in healthy individuals, possibly explaining the reason why a quick slice or two of bacon can provide a quick burst of energy when heading out the door in the morning for some people. Bacon is also high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
Lower Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar
Moderate consumption of bacon can naturally lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure. There’s also research suggesting that bacon, in moderation, may help diabetics keep glucose levels under control. This is because bacon contains very little natural sugar, although lower sodium bacon is a better choice if salt is an issue.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals
Even die-hard bacon enthusiasts may not be aware of the vitamins and minerals found in those crispy, delicious slices — including vitamins B1, B3, and B12 and a greater concentration of zinc, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous than what’s found in most fish. Bacon is also a reliable source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Simply placing processed meats on a list of possible cancer-causing agents doesn’t mean that bacon lovers have to start dropping the “B” from their BLTs. WHO also includes aloe on its list of known carcinogens, so it’s important to have some perspective on this decision. Realistically, any diet consisting mainly of the consumption of bacon, or other processed meats, isn’t going to be as healthy as a balanced diet, so go ahead and indulge now and then — in moderation.