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Bacon for healthy

Bacon can be an important part of a healthy balanced diet when accompanied by vegetables and starchy foods. For those on high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, bacon makes a great snack when fried up crispy. It supplies that crunch that is often missed on these diets, while most of the fat is rendered out.

Is There a Healthier Way to Cook Bacon?
By Robert Rister

The healthiest way to cook bacon is in the microwave, but this is really effective only if you are cooking three to six slices, that is one or two adult servings. Place the bacon on a triple layer of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate, and cover with another double layer of paper towels. Microwave on high for two minutes, then check. Microwaving three slice for up to 3-1/2 minutes or six slices for up to 7 minutes will not create any carcinogens. Clean the microwave immediately after cooking bacon unless you like the lingering smell.

Photo: blazinghotwok.com

Frying or sautéing bacon is the only way you can cook slab bacon. Keep the heat set at low or medium. You can toss a lump of bacon in the frying pan and allow the heat the separate the slices, but you will need to separate them in the pan as soon as they begin to sizzle. Time to fry may be 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how much bacon you cook.

Soaking the bacon in water reduces the production of potential carcinogens, but you do not need this step if you cook the bacon slowly over low to medium heat and you stop cooking before it is burnt. Because of the high temperatures involved, you should not roast or broil bacon. Exposure to temperatures of 450-500º F (225-250º C) with exposure to air creates carcinogens.

Boiling bacon is a healthy way to prepare the meat. It creates no carcinogens, and it reduces salt content. Boiled bacon occasionally appears on British breakfast tables, but in the States it is reserved for seasoning vegetables.

Boiled bacon with vegetable
Photo: bbcgoodfood.com

As for the bacon-in-a-bag product you can find sitting on a non-refrigerated grocery shelf, I'm not sure I would touch it, much less eat it. Weeks and weeks of room temperature storage in a bag that may or may not be sealed may not result in food contamination, but it's bound to create free radicals.

There is, however, a sure-fire way to get around the problems of cooking bacon.

Much of the non-English speaking world eats bacon raw. If you are a guest in a German or Danish home or hotel and you are offered raw bacon for your breakfast, don't shrink in terror of parasites. Despite what you have read or heard, pork products in the European Union do not contain parasites (and, yes, I have seen raw European pork under a microscope), and you would also be safe in Australia or New Zealand. If you offered raw pork on your safari, however, try eating breakfast vegetarian."

Robert Rister is the author or co-author of nine books and over 2,000 articles on natural health including Is There Such a Thing as a Healthy French Fry and Why Are Doughnuts Round?


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