Sunday, April 22, 2012

To Bacon or Not to Bacon

The baco, it's bacon it's a taco  it's delicious.  We posted a 'baco' picture on Facebook recently and after Savage_Dave's brush with death a few people made remarks about, 'no more bacon', 'no more bacos', 'no more burgers'.  So the question is, is this valid advice.  Well, to some extent it is valid.  Why?  Because bacon is high in Omega 6 (N-6) fatty acids, especially if it is conventional meat and not from a pasture raised pig.  It isn't the saturated fat, it isn't what most people think is the problem.  We will actually be keeping his overall fat intake pretty high, fat is good for you if you eat the right kind of fat.  Our goal though is to keep his intake of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) low.  Why?  Well, because those promote inflammation.  And as I mentioned before inflammation is the cause of heart disease, not cholesterol, not fat.

Cholesterol gets a bad rap.  We need cholesterol.  It helps our brains stay healthy.  It repairs damage in our arteries, it is there for a reason.  The problem is that when we eat conventionally raised meats, the stuff from the grocery store, we are eating meat that is grain fed and high in fat.  Bad fat, N-6.  Over consumption of N-6 leads to inflammation in the body.  This inflammation damages the linings of the arteries and this results in the build up of plaque in the vessels (1).  Where does the plaque come from?  It is the result of the cholesterol walling off the injured area of the arteries.  Then your arteries add to it, plaque is made up of cholesterol, fibrin, fat, calcium and cellular waste.  So, if you minimize inflammation, you minimize plaque formation.  You let the cholesterol and fat in your blood move smoothly through your vessels just chilling out and not bothering anyone.

People used to think that keeping you intake of dietary cholesterol low would keep your blood cholesterol low too, but it doesn't really.  Now more and more experts are starting to recognize the role of inflammation in heart disease.  Control the inflammation, reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries.

A bonus?  Eating in a way that reduces inflammation is good for your body in many ways.  It will decrease bloating, stabilize blood sugar and assist in weight loss.  If you are interested in seeing results from this way of eating just look down at the bottom of my home page.  I have blogged my blood lipids in the past.

So, what exactly are inflammatory foods other than the N-6 we already discussed?  How do we reduce inflammation to stop more plaque from forming?  The short list are the immediate 'paleo' no-noes; grains- particularly wheat, sugars- including too much fruit, beans and night shades.  Other foods that can lead to inflammation are pasteurized dairy and as previously mentioned foods that are high in Omega-6 fatty acids, conventional chicken, pork, seeds and nuts.  Limit these foods and you will notice a decrease in joint pain, bloating and other indicators of inflammation such as bowel disturbances, rosacea and allergies.

Is this easy to do?  Of course not at first, but you quickly become adapted to feeling GREAT and that makes it worth while.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well.  You can do it!

Yes, I am uber lazy and will let other's use their knowledge and time to give the nitty gritty of why.  Hey, I have five kids a dog and a recuperating hubby to take care of, I think I can be a bit lazy ;-)

So, what's the skinny on bacon?  If you are healthy and not dealing with any type of inflammatory issue, eat away!  Heck if you have *just* high cholesterol and no other isues, it is still fine, you might want to limit it or balance it with some fatty fish like salmon.  If you have other co-morbidities such as diabetes, auto-immune disease, fibromyalgia, etc. well, then bacon....and our beloved baco should be eaten is moderation and limited to meat from animals that are raised in a pasture and treated well.  BAcon for me and the kids 1-2 times a week....none for poor Savage_Dave.



Nutmeg1976 said...

I should add that if you can't afford all grassfed, pastured meats it is okay too! Buy leaner cuts of grocery store meats and cut off visible fat. Now, of course that lowers your fat intake, which isn't great. Increase your fat by eating canned wild caught fish such as mackerel or salmon. Use ground liver combined with ground beef to boost the nutrient density. Get the less expensive cuts of meat grassfed and the more expensive stuff lean from the butcher in the grocery store. That is what we plan to do :D

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