Did you know that 43% of Canadians would choose bacon over sex? At least that’s what a 2010 survey found. Or did you know that is was included in the first meal ever consumed on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin?
This single strip of bacon alone is 43 calories. In perspective, here is the same amount of calories in apples and broccoli. It’s easy to see which might fill you up more easily...but then again, who just eats one piece of bacon? Looking at this another way, 100 grams of apple is around 50 calories, while 100 grams of bacon is around...550 calories. 68% of these calories come from fat, with almost half being saturated.
So it may...or maybe not surprise you that the average American consumes nearly 8 kg every year! That’s 44,000 calories every year, making sliced bacon a 4 billion dollar industry in the US alone. Even 65% of Americans said they would support bacon as their national food.
But different countries around the world actually use different cuts of a pig for bacon. For example, Canadian Bacon is from the loin, the British use shoulder and ham bacon, and Americans make belly bacon. Overall, around 11% of a pigs standard weight can be used for bacon.
So why are we so obsessed? Well when bacon is heated, the fats melt and the sugars and amino acids have a very unique chemical reaction. This specific reaction releases a medley of around 150 volatile organic compounds from the bacon which float through the air and create the amazing smell, ultimately stimulating your mouth-watering response. So it’s not just the snack you desire, but the smell itself is a perfect example of chemistry at work, stimulating your brain and body.
Our modern culture loves bacon so much that ‘bacon mania’ is a classified movement! From bacon toothpaste, to bacon air fresheners, and even...bacon condoms, some people can’t get enough of it!
But bacon isn’t all good. Not only are 4 strips of cooked bacon worth nearly half your recommended daily intake for salt, but most bacon - and other things like lunch meats- are treating with a chemical called sodium nitrite. This keeps the meat looking red and fresh, instead of turning its natural grey, but has also been implicated in a lot of health concerns.
These nitrites react with amino acids during cooking, forming nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens, increasing your risk of developing cancer. A diet high in sodium nitrites may also lead to a decrease in your body’s ability to transport oxygen properly in your red blood cells.
On the other hand, nitrites help to prevent bacterial growth that can cause botulism. Bottom line is, when you do pig out, keep it in moderation - and a few antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables to go along with it won’t hurt either!