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What Happens to Your Body When You Eat Bacon

It's one of the most beloved breakfast foods around, but how does it actually affect your body? We break it down.
bacon

Bacon might just be one of the most widely-loved breakfast foods out there. The smell of bacon cooking on the stove alone is enough to make your mouth water. But is it okay to eat bacon every day for breakfast? Is bacon bad for you? Is there any nutritious value to bacon? And will we have energy after we eat it, or will this delicious, greasy food leave us feeling lethargic?

We know—it's a lot of questions. But they're the most common ones that probably run through your mind as you're cooking up some bacon slices, so we decided to answer them for you so you know exactly what happens to your body when you eat bacon.

1

You'll get some good fats, and some not-so-good fats.

bacon frying pan
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It's no secret that bacon is full of fat. The juicy, fattiness of a nice strip of bacon is what makes it so good! But what type of fat is bacon made of?

Well, bacon is primarily made of 50% monounsaturated fats, 40% saturated fats, and 10% polyunsaturated fats and according to The Nutrition Journal. All three of these fats can be a part of a well-balanced diet.

As The Nutrition Journal explains, monounsaturated fats can actually help balance cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Saturated fats sometimes tend to have a negative reputation, but they aren't all that bad. You'll find these fats mostly in animal products, and they should definitely be consumed in small/moderate quantities. Polyunsaturated fats, which are found in many fish products, are also good for your heart and cholesterol levels.

Although saturated fats in small quantities aren't so bad for you, bacon still contains about 40% in every serving. It's important to focus on exactly where you're getting your saturated fats. Because of this, you might want to limit your bacon intake and be sure you're getting saturated fats from coconut oil or coconut butter to help balance out your diet.

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2

You'll get a ton of vitamins.

Bacon in a small skillet ready to eat for breakfast
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Most people don't realize this, but bacon actually contains a ton of vitamins as well. So when you consume bacon, you'll be treated to plenty of vitamins including B6 and B12 along with iron, zinc, magnesium, and selenium.

The Nutrition Journal agrees that these are helpful vitamins to ingest at breakfast, but adds that there are plenty of other fresh, leafy greens and lean meat that you can get these vitamins from instead.

3

The grease may cause a gut imbalance.

bacon cooking in a skillet
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Animal products and fatty foods have been known to help balance out your gut microbiome and help soothe the lining of your stomach. This is one of the many reasons people obsess over bone broth! But according to the World Journal of Gastroenterology, large amounts of saturated fats or greasy foods can actually knock off the natural balance of your gut microbiota.

When we eat healthier fats like fats from fish or avocados, we are helping the balance of our body's fatty acids. But when we consume large amounts of greasy foods which are higher in not-so-healthy fats, it can actually knock things out of whack. This happens because processed fats and oils can create more gut bacteria, which harms the necessary bacterias that our gut naturally thrives on.

4

Your risk for cancer may increase.

raw bacon being taken out of the refrigerator
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Bacon is a type of processed meat, so your risk for cancer may increase. See, processed foods like bacon, sausage, and deli meats are classified as Group 1 carcinogens. This means that these products have been proven to be able to lead to cancers. For processed meats specifically, it's been known to lead to colorectal cancers. This, of course, is not isolated, as it also depends on the lifestyle you are living as well.

5

Eating it regularly could be a problem for people with high blood sugar.

strips of cooked bacon lying on brown parchment paper
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According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, the large amounts of grease and salt in bacon consumed regularly can cause issues for people with consistently high blood pressure.

The study states that if you don't have blood pressure issues or a history of this in your family, and you eat a balanced diet and exercise, bacon on a regular basis might not have much of an effect, though.

So the big takeaways here? Bacon isn't all that bad for you, as long as you're eating it in smart ways and in moderation.

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