Bacon is the bastion of the American breakfast. Despite its reputation for being part of a not-so-healthy meal, the reality is, this fatty meat has solidified its position as one of the most crave-worthy foods.
The next time someone slams you about your consumption of such an unhealthy treat, change the subject skillfully with one of these interesting bacon facts.
1. We were born to eat bacon for breakfast
Humans have a natural craving for foods that contain salt, sugar and fats. Because bacon is so high in sodium and fat, when you combine that with offerings like jelly or maple syrup, we just can’t stop ourselves.
2. A BLT is a great hangover cure
According to Dr. Elin Roberts of Newcastle University, bingeing on alcohol depletes neurotransmitters, which bacon can help shore back up because of its high level of amino acids. Bread is high in carbs, which also break down amino acids, so if you overindulge, nom on a BLT.
3. Americans eat a lot of bacon
According to 2010 statistics released by the National Pork Board, Americans consume 1.7 billion pounds of bacon each year in food service alone. That’s the equivalent weight of 4,250 blue whales, the largest animal on Earth.
But Denmark still out-eats us when it comes to pork, at No. 1 to our No. 12.
4. Pigs are smaller than blue whales
A 250-pound pig will produce about 23 pounds of bacon. To produce enough bacon to feed all the people in the stat above, you’d need about 73,913,043 pigs of that size.
5. Bacon could make your kids smarter and reduce your memory loss
A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina found that choline, which is present in high levels in bacon, made the offspring of pregnant lab mice develop larger hippocampi, which may contribute to a better memory.
Adults who consume choline regularly show reduced rates of memory loss over time, and it may be used in treatments for things like Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
6. Bacon-flavored products may still be vegan or vegetarian
If you’re a vegan, don’t go stockpiling bacon-flavored items like there’s no tomorrow, but a lot of products called “bacon-flavored” not only have no bacon but no animal products at all. Bacon Ritz, Kettle Maple Bacon Potato Chips, J&D’s Hickory Bacon Salt and more — totally cruelty-free. This includes most bacon bits you’d buy at the store. Check the label, though.
7. Canadian bacon isn’t bacon (or Canadian)
In the U.S., we use pork belly to make bacon. Canadian bacon is an American term for fully cooked smoked pork loin or back. It’s called “Canadian bacon” because it’s made from the cut they’d use to make their bacon, which is nothing like what we’d call Canadian bacon.
8. Bacon is better than sausage
Bacon does have fat, but if you have to choose between them at breakfast, opt for bacon over sausage (especially if turkey bacon is an option). You can have three slices of bacon for every two sausage links for fewer calories and grams of fat.
9. Bacon may lower a man’s sperm count
A study at the Harvard School of Public Health showed that men in their study who ate a lot of processed meat, including bacon, may have a lower sperm concentration. We’re not suggesting to stuff your man’s face with bacon in lieu of birth control. It’s just, you know, a pretty interesting factoid. Do with that information what you will.
10. Bacon isn’t that bad for you
There are healthy nutrients in it. You shouldn’t overindulge, but bacon does contain B vitamins, zinc and selenium. B vitamins fight anemia and help you with higher energy levels throughout the day (another reason to choose bacon for breakfast). Zinc and selenium are antioxidants. It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids (the same ones you find in fish), which are good for your heart.
Additionally, the fat it does contain isn’t the worst kind (trans fat), and the amount of fat it does have is grossly exaggerated in the average consumer’s mind.