1

votes

How is bacon paleo?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 25, 2012 at 8:59 AM

I've seen many mentions of bacon and how "paleo" it is, so I'd like to ask how the eating of meat cured with nitrites or other processed meats is considered healthy?

2821052ea598af78cbbee15033cd7468

(0)

on December 08, 2013
at 06:29 PM

Here lieth the sole voice of reason in this thread.

Most of the comments here are anti-reason even in the face of exposure to potential carcinogens, and pro-authoritarian, even when those authorities fail to follow even the most elementary principles of science even while seemingly selling medical advice to those who will buy it without a critical eye.

I was hoping for more nuanced, intelligent and well-reasoned discussion for this question. Unfortunately you won't find that here amongst the many trolls and foot soldiers.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Quite good points. I suppose I didn't phrase it right. I believe that the theory of eating in a paleolithic manner is sound....its our practice of it that can be distorted and could lead to less than stellar results. While I understand why people have taken to calling it a paleo template I wonder how many people jump in with someone elses template in mind i.e. the don't do the "strictest" level first, and then wonder why they aren't getting the results they had hoped for.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

To me, paleo is an aknowlegement that there is a biologically optimal way of eating. For humans, meats and vegetables are foundational level food groups. Very few humans have evolved the appropriate enzymes to effectively and safety consume grains. We began consuming grains during the agricultural revolution, while this was 10,000-15,000 years ago, evolution has not pushed these enzymes through natural selection becuase (1) The harm comes from chronic abuse -- most likely after procreation stages and (2) We have evolved to an era where sick people can be strong contributors to society.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2012
at 08:26 PM

@Harry - Are you still spun up about this? Bacon-avenger strikes again.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2012
at 11:46 AM

@ Dave S. - Chris Kresser is "a licensed acupuncturist".

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2012
at 11:31 AM

incidentally, nitrosamines happen to be one of the major groups of chemical carcinogens in tobacco products

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2012
at 04:47 AM

@ Matt: I agree. But it was you who alluded to this - _"I'm pretty sure my bacon-derived happiness is worth 2 years of life!"_

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 03, 2012
at 01:32 AM

And at some point becomes converted to nitrosamine which creates DNA lesions that can switch off a tumor supressor gene or activate an oncogene..

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 02, 2012
at 11:36 AM

@Harry, nobody in their right mind thinks that bacon consumption causes on average 2 years of life reduction.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on October 01, 2012
at 04:13 PM

You should see how paleos get all bent out of shape if you question protein powder.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 01, 2012
at 02:33 PM

[Monty Python and the Holy Grail]

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:40 AM

It still cannot establish causation.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:40 AM

Nitrates convert to nitrites in the body. (which eventually may form nitrosamines through intermediate nitric oxide in low pH environments).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:39 AM

Nitrates convert to nitrites in the body. (which eventually may form nitrosamines through intermediate nitric oxide in high pH environments).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:37 AM

So all toxicity data for humans has been obtained in humans? No, reasonable approximations and estimates have been made based on model organisms. As you've pointed out more than once, it's unethical to do such experiments on humans.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:36 AM

Nitrate (NO3) converts in the body to nitrite (NO2) which eventually gets converted to nitric oxide (NO) which our bodies actually make constantly as a signaling molecule. That's why high-nitrate celery is used to cure bacon, it converts to NO2/NO *in situ*. NO-bound heme is why cured bacon appears pink and why my homemade bacon looks brown.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 09:22 PM

@Harry - Sure. Do you understand basic logic? You can't claim food obsession is unhealthy and then claim that if I eat bacon I'm going to fall over dead. That I have to have some sort of weirdly pure diet. You found studies, many not in humans, which show large amount of chemicals from pesticides are bad and extrapolate that to mean moderate consumption of bacon is lethal. It's crazy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 02:12 PM

@LLM: Do you understand what the scientific method is? Here is a wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on September 30, 2012
at 04:18 AM

Bacon does seem to put me in a meditative state. . .

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:37 AM

A meta-analysis is more than just about trends (by which I take it that you mean agreement across numerous independent studies - in itself highly important) but also about effect size.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:22 AM

You need to distinguish between nitrAtes and nitrItes.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:19 AM

How so? There are vast metabolic differences between model organisms and humans. This is the reason there are Phase 0 and Phase 1 clinical trials.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 02:35 AM

Matt, you're comparing lifestyle (which includes various activities and numerous opportunities to stimulate the reward pathway outside of food) to food obsession. Paleo food obsession is still food obsession, as this tete-a-tete clearly illustrates. People are suggesting they would sacrifice 2 years of life in order to eat as much bacon as they like - that strikes me as food obsession.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 02:28 AM

@ LLM: Nitrates (NO3) are different to nitrites (NO2). Yes, NO3 is also found in vegetables and fruit. The concern is with NO2, which is used as a preservative and meat colorant and reacts with dietary amines to form carcinogenic nitrosamines.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 29, 2012
at 12:48 PM

Agreed. Now take the next logical step. If bacon's nitrates are bad and veggies' nitrates aren't. Which means is a protective effect of compounds in veggies that is lacking in diets that feature bacon. Which given decades of fat-is-bad propaganda has produced a positive feedback loop. Healthy folks don't eat bacon, but that in and of itself doesn't make them healthy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 29, 2012
at 12:40 PM

Don't know about that, Harry. Thinking about traditional European/Mediterranean lifestyles... very food-centric...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 29, 2012
at 12:38 PM

There's a sucker born every minute. ;)

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 29, 2012
at 04:18 AM

Just wondering? Why do they advertise bacon as nitrate free if its not a problem?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 29, 2012
at 01:47 AM

Still ignoring the fact that the same studies show spinach and lettuce were accounted for what was it 35% and 17% and lunch meat accounted for less than 4%. Sheesh, give it a rest man.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 29, 2012
at 12:02 AM

Oh really? Prove it. You are big on opinion but so far you are totally unable to support anything you say with real evidence. Food addiction and companies taking advantage of food reward is not the same as enjoying a whole food. What are you, one of those who only eats boiled chicken breast and steamed broccoli? Life is too short.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 11:52 PM

Overemphasis on food derived happiness is why theres an obesity epidemic.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 28, 2012
at 11:32 PM

*misses the reference*

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 28, 2012
at 11:30 PM

I'm pretty sure my bacon-derived happiness is worth 2 years of life! ;) Of course, I'd be very surprised if going no-bacon would add on average 2 years of life. We'd probably not see more than a few days of life extension, I'm not trading bacon for mere days.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 08:00 PM

see: Naturalistic Fallacy. Things are not healthy or unhealthy because they are natural or unnatural. Arsenic in rice might be natural but doesn't make it good for us. Cyanide in (is it?) Cassava isn't suddenly good because we didn't add it. If you don't like Bacon, don't eat it. But as I said unless you have real evidence that 1-2 slices along with lots of veggies, meat and eggs is actually going to kill me...well...no...even then I rather die happy at 90 then miserable at 92.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 28, 2012
at 02:03 PM

Now you're just getting silly...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 28, 2012
at 02:01 PM

So is it the nitrates or is it the missing phytochemicals/co-factors that prevent nitrate damages? Bacon in a diet rich in plants, phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, etc, what's the effect?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 28, 2012
at 01:59 PM

So, logically... If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood. And therefore...A witch!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 12:41 PM

_Natural_ being the operative word.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 12:40 PM

Causation in the model organism, yes. Causation in humans, no.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 12:36 PM

Because the nitrate in lettuce is naturally occurring whereas the nitrate in bacon is added.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 12:28 PM

Without the benefit of a survey of the relevant literature, I would propose that naturally derived nitrates are metabolised differently to artificially added nitrates. I suppose one could consider natural carbs (e.g. from vegetables) versus processed carbs (e.g. added sugar) as an analogy.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 28, 2012
at 05:56 AM

^ Well, whats the proposed mechanism? Then we might be able to properly deal with the issue. Given there are nitrates in vegetables, should we be avoiding high nitrate veges too? If you avoided everything there was an epidemiological study against, there would be virtually no food left. If you can some up with a proposed mechanism, it might make the theoretical avoidance of that mechanism easier to talk about...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 05:11 AM

Very Zen.......

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 05:10 AM

None of the links you provided said that, not that I saw. Moreover, you haven't defined what is excess, or too much. Also, in an effort to control our nitrate intake why not keep the bacon and dump the lettuce which it appears is higher in nitrates.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 04:56 AM

What about my conclusion dont you get? That bacon processed with nitrites does not contribute to an excess of nitrate intake, which in turn increases risk of a variety of cancers? This is not my conclusion, incidentally, but that of the various studies I've provided links to.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 04:53 AM

Can you provide information on the relative amounts of nitrates and nitrites in various foods and how they compare to the those used in the processing of meat like bacon?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 03:50 PM

I don't think it's necessarily correct that a diet high in bacon is also high in nitrates. Processed meats may have added nitrates, but natural nitrates dwarf them.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:30 PM

Don't take my word for it. Read the rest of the research. If you would leave it at "that is enough to monitor your intake of processed meats".....then you would likely be fine given the data. It is when you try to pin it specifically to nitrates that your argument falls apart given not just the epidemiological studies you present, but also the animal studies and other trials done.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:18 PM

@ Harry... Sort of poor assumptions about bacon considering the evidence though don't you think? Just reading your paragraph I had to make some large non logical jumps to arrive at your conclusion. Shouldn't you be railing against the consumption of lettuce instead?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:28 PM

Matt is correct. A review or meta-study is not an actual study. And it is even further away from the gold standard, a controlled clinical trial. Not that reviews or meta-studies don't serve a purpose, but we should be careful to put too much stock in them. Note well all the recent drug recalls. HRT anyone? If you want to be super careful about avoiding anything that has a hint of something toxic, you will be left with nothing to eat. (All plants contain phytate, all animals have hormones)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 11:09 AM

On the premise that nothing is certain we are in complete agreement, however, when it comes to matters of health it is far better to err on the side of caution. There is clear epidemiological evidence of an association between high levels of dietary nitrates and physiological perturbation including cancer risk. That should be enough for a responsible person to caution on consumption of meats processed with nitrates.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 11:00 AM

The study's finding was increased risk of thyroid cancer with increased dietary nitrate intake among men. The study did not aim to establish an association between bacon and cancer, but rather nitrates and cancer. The reason for including this study is to show the association of nitrate consumption with cancer risk. High bacon consumption is very popular with many paleo practitioners. It follows that a high consumption of meat processed with nitrate would increase nitrate intake and therefore lead to an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 10:58 AM

The study's finding was increased risk of thyroid cancer with increased dietary nitrate intake among men. The study did not aim to establish an association between bacon and cancer, but rather nitrates and cancer. The reason for including this study is to show the association of nitrate consumption with cancer risk. High bacon consumption is very popular with many paleo practitioners. It follows that a high consumption of meat processed with nitrate would increase nitrate intake and therefore lead to an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 10:56 AM

A clinical trial is not the only way to establish carcinogenicity/toxicity. In fact, given nitrate-spiked water does not produce increased cancerous tumors in rats strongly suggests that nitrates aren't the issue. That doesn't let bacon/cured meats off the hook altogether though.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 10:51 AM

Harry, who is dismissing the trends/data obtained from observational studies? There is a pattern between cured-meat and various disease states, not sure if it's causal or not. Considering the lack of animal models, confounding variables, etc it seems even uncertain.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 10:48 AM

Nitrate poisoning is not carcinogenicity. I don't doubt that if you eat a few spoonfuls of sodium nitrate adverse health effects will result. That's obfuscating the matter.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 06:01 AM

Interesting quote from your first study: The major contributors to nitrate intake were lettuce (34.4%), cooked spinach (10.2%), and broccoli (4.5%) and the major contributors to nitrite intake were cold cuts (7.2%), pasta (6.7%), and bread (6.5%). – Mscott 4 hours ago In fact, it looks like processed meat intake decreased as nitrate intake increased. So processed meat was actually sort of inversely related to thyroid cancer! – Mscott 4 hours ago

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 05:58 AM

Which of these did you feel was evidence?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 03:33 AM

Matt, what is becoming increasingly apparent is that there is a strong anti-establishmentarian undercurrent amongst some PH members which dimisses valid scientific findings if they are not consistent with their beliefs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 03:28 AM

Jamie, I believe there was a mention of nitrates being used as a poison in feral pigs.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 03:19 AM

Incorrect, I said the _gold standard_ not the only standard. Matt, not all evaluation of risk is amenable to clinical trials. This is precisely where observational studies are an essential tool towards assessing causality. Determination of causality based on observational studies is largely a function of the quality and agreement of reports.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 27, 2012
at 02:50 AM

Statistically based studies are starting points (fuel for hypothesis), not ending points (proof). Theres alot of manipulation involved. I mean, its good because it rules out things that arent significantly correlated, but correlation does not equal causation. In order for something to be true, in most cases, they should be able to translate that into a coherent animal model. At that point they understand the phenomena.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:53 AM

Exactly, Harry. None of which you've cited. You cannot establish causality with observational studies.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:52 AM

I think JayJay understands the difference between observational and experimental studies. Which one can prove things and which one suggests things.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:52 AM

In fact, it looks like processed meat intake *decreased* as nitrate intake increased. So processed meat was actually sort of inversely related to thyroid cancer!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:51 AM

A review or meta-analysis doesn't really tell you anything new, just trends, doesn't prove anything.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:02 AM

Interesting quote from your first study: The major contributors to nitrate intake were lettuce (34.4%), cooked spinach (10.2%), and broccoli (4.5%) and the major contributors to nitrite intake were cold cuts (7.2%), pasta (6.7%), and bread (6.5%).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:25 AM

Then an apt question to consider, Spears, is whether to place higher value on the "sacredness" that bacon has for some over the possible health dangers. One may be so bold as to also ask, whether some members of this community are so removed from medical and scientific reality as to be a danger - by means of poor advice - to their peers.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:22 AM

Then an apt question to consider, Spears, is whether to place higher value on the "sacredness" that bacon has for some over the possible health dangers. One may be so bold as to also ask, whether some members of this community so removed from medical and scientific reality as to be a danger - by means of poor advice - to their peers.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:16 AM

And we should be holding your opinions in higher regard than the published, peer-reviewed work of qualified, senior researchers, is that right? I don't think so.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:10 AM

I've not seen any evidence that you or any of your contrarian colleagues have actually READ the references I've cited in order to oppose their conclusions. Do you understand what "Evidence Based" means?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:01 AM

And we should be holding your opinions in higher regard instead, is that right?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 11:59 PM

And that's a valid reason for dismissing evidence?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 06:55 PM

Also, my field has no meta-analyses, and reviews aren't worth anything... that's why I don't put stock in them.

Adb249ff0b1447d86ed308d0265e2b86

(571)

on September 26, 2012
at 06:38 PM

I lost excessive amounts of weight eating copious amounts of bacon and eggs for breakfast. For me if I'm 'Very Low Carb' my weight goes through the floor. Paleo without lots of fat or safe starches isn't enough calories and could present a risk of rabbit starvation. I don't think anyone here is rude but bacon clearly has sacred and iconic status for some.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 05:11 PM

Like other toxicity studies, it'll have to be done in animals. Show me the animal data.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 05:10 PM

For reducing variables and proving causation, definitely. For pattern recognition, no.

5e816d3249fd4bceb096d4ae7183df1a

(508)

on September 26, 2012
at 04:59 PM

Here's a pastured, nitrate free bacon I found at a local grocery store. Really, really good. http://www.beelerspurepork.com/Products/SpecPages/Bacon.htm

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:40 PM

Abso-freaking-lutely. I love my smoker....I've done bout everything on it.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:23 PM

And you are profoundly deluded if you believe science holds no bias....yes ESPECIALLY that found in peer-reviewed journals.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:13 PM

So, in your estimation animal studies are superior to observational studies with sample populations > 400,000? Extraordinary.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:12 PM

So, in your estimation animal studies are superior to observational studies with sample populations > 400,000?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:09 PM

Evidence = http://paleohacks.com/questions/151777/how-is-bacon-paleo/151814#151814

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:08 PM

Proof = http://paleohacks.com/questions/151777/how-is-bacon-paleo/151814#151814

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:02 PM

-- The salient point being whether it is harmful or not.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:01 PM

Actually, it appears that "hacking" in this case has more to do with the aggressive voicing of unfounded and often inane opinions rather than creative brainstorming and informed debate.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:56 PM

@Matt: the gold standard of establishing causality is a multi-centre randomised controlled trial that would compare a cohort with bacon consumption against a cohort without. The obvious problem is inability to blind. However, the bigger problem is that no ethics board would approve such a trial given the existing evidence that supports an association of cancer with processed meat consumption.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:50 PM

That's a profoundly inept statement. These are _published, peer-reviewed_ meta-analyses.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:46 PM

Reviews and meta-analyses aren't real studies? They represent the highest level of evidence according to Evidence Based Medicine methodological guidelines. Clearly it is not possible to conduct a randomised controlled trial given it would be unethical to proscribe a cohort to consume a cancer inducing agent.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:08 PM

Paleo foods aren't often also paleolithic. Paleo foods are most often at least traditional, which cured meats are. Though you could argue that modern cured meats aren't even traditional, and arguably not even paleo. Quibbling over pigeonholes is fun, ain't it?

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:34 PM

Yes, basically take what we know in terms of safe levels of nitrites and what we know about processed meats and it seems that there is most likely another factor leading to the ill health benefits of consuming processed meats (which BTW never includes JUST BACON). So what would eating low grade bologne, hot dogs, McDonalds, chicken nuggets, fish sticks....and so on and so forth have in common BESIDES just the nitrite/nitrate load? Seems like there are plenty of other factors at play AND the least likely villain based on what we know is nitrate.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:19 PM

Sorry, but meta-analysis are usually quite biased to begin with. They tend to exclude based on studies that don't fit the conclusions they are looking for.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:11 PM

Harry, I don't think anybody denies the correlation found in countless observational and meta-studies. What we (or at least I) question is the ability of the correlation to establish causation. While JayJay's references don't show nitrate-in-meat doesn't increase cancer rates, they confirm the theory that dietary nitrate has little effect on health. The absence of data or a negative result doesn't prove anything, but it strengthens an argument against such a link.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:00 PM

Nothing, but they don't prove anything. They identify patterns and that prompts additional studies to determine whether patterns are valid or not. If the bacon/nitrate-disease pattern is so strong, I would expect there's some animal studies supporting that. But I haven't found any yet.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 26, 2012
at 07:32 AM

Nah, just a subject we can all hack.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 05:03 AM

Dave my pants stay on around you

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 05:03 AM

Matt if I'm trolling then you must be mega trolling.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 04:58 AM

Awesome for you :)

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 04:54 AM

What's wrong with observational studies??

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 04:51 AM

Outstanding assessment

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:48 AM

Grass fed antibiotic free is 10% paleo, but only because it's meat. At best it makes it as 40% late neolithic. +1 for the meat comment though. You've gotta eat it in the best form available even if it isn't perfect.

6d64cd6dc98d6ab763bd03678a317964

(2177)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:46 AM

Squamous is such a sexy word.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:45 AM

JayJay: i reviewed the studies with the highest evidentiary quality PRIOR to forming an opinion

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:44 AM

@ JayJay: i reviewed the studies with the highest evidentiary quality PRIOR to forming a conclusion

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:36 AM

..see my response below on the references you've provided..

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:26 AM

@JayJay, the "Carcinogenicity studies of sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate in F-344 rats" study... supports what we already know. Nitrates aren't the problem, nitrosamines are. The conversion of nitrate to nitrite to NO to nitrosamine is going to be lousy at best in the digestive system, maybe a couple of percent conversion at best in the frying pan. Concentrations well below the amounts that induce cancers in animal studies.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:24 AM

It's not ancestral paleo, starting with the neolithic pig, followed by the farm it was raised on and the meat processing plant. But like everything else in the modern paleo world, it's paleo in the figurative sense. The cities modern paleos live in aren't paleo either. If there were a formula for determining "paleoness" I would give highest weight to hunting and gathering behavior as the main factor, followed by meat eating.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:15 AM

Meh.....you get the idea, have a look round for yourself. These are just the first few I saw in some of those "blog articles where arbitrary causality is established to support a view with no scientific referencing"...guess you didn't read em. They seem to be referenced rather more than you make out.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:12 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19439460

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:11 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3974695

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:11 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18268290

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:10 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7200054

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:10 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3015194

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:09 AM

yes and yes (to your questions)... guess you skimmed over all the stuff that says there was no correlation in those "blog article" which also happened to cite several studies. Nah, the likely reason the correlation is less is because its not real. It's assumed this stuff is bad for you and they juggle numbers to make it so.....happens all the time. They come up with an answer and construct the data to prove it.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:46 AM

http://store.honoredprairie.com/Natural-Bacon--1lb-Pkg-799lb_p_248.html <---where I get mine. Of course it does use vegetable juice powder for the "naturally" occurring cure. In the end I'm not concerned. Bring on the bacon.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 25, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Quite. I believe that the theory of eating in a paleolithic manner is sound....its our practice of it that can be distorted and could lead to less than stellar results. While I understand why people have taken to calling it a paleo template I wonder how many people jump in with someone elses template in mind.... i.e. the don't do the "strictest" level first, and then wonder why they aren't getting the results they had hoped for.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 08:30 PM

Yeah and caffeine is an insecticide. So what?

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:33 PM

Here pork is poor mans meat, so they are fed grain and rape seed like crazy, any smart paleo would steer very far of those meats. I envy the places that have real old school pork that is taken care very well. In some parts of france pigs eat better diet than some people in Finland. Altho that isnt very hard ;)

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:30 PM

So the Paleo template to eating is to revert to foundational level foods, and through experimentation determine what other foods provide us with the quality of life we desire. This may include foods that were not available to our paleolithic ancestors (like Dairy or Coconuts -- How the hell did an Irish boy evolve to eat coconut?).

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:29 PM

JayJay, it is impossible to "eat as our paleolithic ancestors ate" because (1) We don't know what they ate. No one does, it's all conjecture (2) We cannot eat what they ate. Our foods are radically different in nutritional content than they were 100 years ago, God forbid 20,000 years ago. (3) Our genetic diversity, from breeding across "tribes" is radically different than our ancestors, thus it is impossible to eat in according to our ancestors as different gene expressions have been passed down.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:29 PM

Real bacon is always cured (pink salt, insta cure #1), that what gives the distinctive flavour. I have Ruhlmans book for reference. I dont care for pork tho, i prefer lamb and beef flavour reasons. Local finnish pork is poor quality. Lamb is taken care much better, and reindeer. Cured reindeer meat is damn good. It just so expencive.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:15 PM

Like I said above pork belly seasoned as you like....

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:14 PM

See I still disagree with this version of "paleo"...Paleo really is just as stated foods available to paleolithic and yes PRIOR to the agricultural revolution whether you have evolved tolerances to those foods or not. Now if you said paleo hacks idea of a paleo template is "not just eat what a caveman ate" then I guess you could be right.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:12 PM

Or just eat pork belly and season it as you wish...

19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on September 25, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Sure, give me all your bacon.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 04:10 PM

I rarely point to epidemological studies myself - they find patterns, which is important. It's up to controlled studies to figure out what (if anything) causes the patterns. There's a pattern between cured meats and various diseases (mostly cancer). I haven't seen the study that links nitrated-food to cancer in animals. One could postulate other causes of such a pattern.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:55 PM

So its a stastical jobbie (ie correlation), or is there an animal model, or smoking gun?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:51 PM

Reviews and meta-analyses aren't real studies. They identify patterns, but cannot suggest any causative pathway for such patterns. In other words, they don't prove anything.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:44 PM

that is not to say i do not agree that there is a bias inherent in most (all) of the studies. BUt, my point was that you're being inconsistent and being a victim of confirmation bias yourself.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:43 PM

...but I do also do agree that there is a bias inherent in most (all) of the studies.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:42 PM

I agree with the sentiment about not caring about being optimal 100% of the time, I was just pointing out an inconsistency. I also find it interesting how you're willing to point to epidemiological studies in support of your point, but go on to discredit their efficacy when they are in opposition to your view.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:42 PM

please see "The idea is to eat foods that are healthy for YOU." The onus is on the receiver.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:37 PM

I didn't say nut butters were off-limits, just than they weren't whole foods. They been processed into hyperpalatable foods that are incredibly easy to overeat. Bacon is very similar. I've said before that bacon is not optimal, but who gives a shit about being optimal 100% of the time?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:31 PM

Bacon-eating correlates well with poor diet and not giving a shit about one's own health. But it's the bacon that's killing folks, right? That's the problem with epidemiological studies. There's an inherent bias that health folks bring to studies. Bring on an animal model that demonstrates that nitrate-containing (in the amounts found in human feedstuffs) foods cause cancer. I've only seen nitrosamine-spiked diets causing cancer in animal models, but I'm open to having my mind changed.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:26 PM

Squamous cell cancer is linked with carcinogens absorbed from smoked meat

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:18 PM

Thats an interesting statement Harry. Why do you beleive that?

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:12 PM

There are also studies showing red meat increases cancer risk: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/10/5/439.short

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Smoking the meat also makes it carcinogenic.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:47 PM

Good answer. And I always wondered what it would taste like to very thinly slice some fatty cut of pork and then broil it for a couple minutes on each side...then season with salt. Would it not end up tasting like bacon, or is there some much greater step that I am missing?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:45 PM

Well meat curing doesnt have to involve nitrates. You can make bacon with smoke and plain salt etc. Pity thats not the standard though.

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 25, 2012
at 02:42 PM

Prosciutto not be bacon...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:41 PM

Maybe we can consider cooking bacon slowly, and eating with fried tomatos (for vit c), the equivilant of soaking and roasting nuts...

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:40 PM

BTW, crapping your pants is not paleo. Frankly, once the bacon is done the pants come off!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:39 PM

I wonder how hard it is to make bacon? Its a damn tasty food, if its not overly hard, might be worth a shot making some truely nitrite free stuff maybe. Then again if its the nitrosamines, then surely we can just slow cook our bacon, forget about crispy and have our cake and eat it too?

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:36 PM

It's a good idea to look at the evidence and take it into consideration. I've looked at it a number of times. It always seems very weak. I don't eat a ton of bacon or processed meats, but I also do not worry about it. Sugar, flour, omega-6 - these are things that concern me as I am pretty convinced of their deleterious effects, especially for me. A few other things like MSG, soy, caffeine and alcohol are also problematic for me. Bacon is not a problem in my book.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:34 PM

Cant you cook it slower then, if its a degradation product? Bacon on slow heat?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:27 PM

There's enough evidence based on systematic reviews and meta-analyses to be a cause for concern.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on September 25, 2012
at 02:16 PM

"man has been curing meat with smoke and/or salt for a very long time". Man has been eating grains for a very long time as well.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 01:55 PM

Really? So nut butters are off limits because they're overly processed but bacon is game? Give me a break.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 25, 2012
at 01:43 PM

but there are plenty of observational epidemiological studies showing processed meat to increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. I guess we're just ignoring those for now.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 01:40 PM

We have "evolved" to consume cured meat? Evidence?

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on September 25, 2012
at 12:45 PM

The concern with nitrates in bacon isn't the nitrate itself, but the nitrosamines that are formed when the bacon is cooked.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2012
at 12:12 PM

Dude, dying painlessly sounds awesome! More bacon please!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:47 AM

The dude in question is paleotype. ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:47 AM

Dude, never heard the axiom, the dose makes the poison? Stop trolling.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 11:08 AM

Baconcide......

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 11:05 AM

It's the nitrite salt that they use as poison (see below)

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 11:04 AM

And there's a difference between nitrites and nitrates..

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 11:03 AM

"It has now also been identified that not only do nitrite salts act as effective toxins, poisoning and death occur rapidly and relatively painlessly. The mechanism of action provides the quick development of anoxia in the brain due to the reduced oxygen carrying capacity of methaemoglobin induced by the nitrite. Thus one of the first symptoms of the toxicosis is the occurrence of unconsciousness, in much the same way as carbon monoxide acts."

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:01 AM

Polyphenols are associated with genotoxicy, and we eat those all the time. Guess the question is, how effeciently are nitrates cleared from the body?

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 11:00 AM

This one is awesome http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/WO2008104028

1133603ea602c6824da56e8b596c9754

(614)

on September 25, 2012
at 10:58 AM

Not only can you get nitrite free bacon, but you can get unseasoned bacon.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 10:44 AM

Yes, but most is.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 10:41 AM

For evidence google nitrites and cancer. But if you want to crap your pants search on Pubmed.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 10:39 AM

Evidence? Google nitrites and cancer or ifnyou wantnto really crap your pants even get onto Pubmed.

0a9ad4e577fe24a6b8aafa1dd7a50c79

(5150)

on September 25, 2012
at 10:04 AM

You do realize that not 100% of bacon on planet earth is treated with nitrates, right?

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24 Answers

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4
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:15 PM

From a brief survey at Pubmed:

Nitrates inhibit iodine uptake in the thyroid (promote hypothyroidosis?) and increase the risk of thyroid cancer in males (2011, large prospective study). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20824705

Association between cured meat consumption during pregnancy and risk of childhood brain tumors (2004, meta-analysis). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14739572

Association between nitrosamine and risk of gastric cancer (2006, systematic review). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16865769

Association between nitrite intake and ovarian cancer - 30% increase in highest consumers (2012, large prospective study) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21934624

However, it appears that co-consumption with vitamin C reduces the carcinogenicity of compounds that react with nitrite (2012, review). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22202020

These results, for me, are troubling. There is no way one could responsibly promote the consumption of a food with evidence of carcinogenic potential in a health-based context. Clearly, the benefits of meat preservation using chemical hazardous to health belong to an age where refrigeration did not exist. Today, there is no benefit that can compensate for the carcinogenic potential in such foods.

how-is-bacon-paleo?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:26 PM

Squamous cell cancer is linked with carcinogens absorbed from smoked meat

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 12:41 PM

_Natural_ being the operative word.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:53 PM

Smoking the meat also makes it carcinogenic.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:45 PM

Well meat curing doesnt have to involve nitrates. You can make bacon with smoke and plain salt etc. Pity thats not the standard though.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:12 PM

There are also studies showing red meat increases cancer risk: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/10/5/439.short

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:55 PM

So its a stastical jobbie (ie correlation), or is there an animal model, or smoking gun?

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:52 AM

In fact, it looks like processed meat intake *decreased* as nitrate intake increased. So processed meat was actually sort of inversely related to thyroid cancer!

6d64cd6dc98d6ab763bd03678a317964

(2177)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:46 AM

Squamous is such a sexy word.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:02 AM

Interesting quote from your first study: The major contributors to nitrate intake were lettuce (34.4%), cooked spinach (10.2%), and broccoli (4.5%) and the major contributors to nitrite intake were cold cuts (7.2%), pasta (6.7%), and bread (6.5%).

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:18 PM

Thats an interesting statement Harry. Why do you beleive that?

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 29, 2012
at 04:18 AM

Just wondering? Why do they advertise bacon as nitrate free if its not a problem?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 03:50 PM

I don't think it's necessarily correct that a diet high in bacon is also high in nitrates. Processed meats may have added nitrates, but natural nitrates dwarf them.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 10:58 AM

The study's finding was increased risk of thyroid cancer with increased dietary nitrate intake among men. The study did not aim to establish an association between bacon and cancer, but rather nitrates and cancer. The reason for including this study is to show the association of nitrate consumption with cancer risk. High bacon consumption is very popular with many paleo practitioners. It follows that a high consumption of meat processed with nitrate would increase nitrate intake and therefore lead to an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 04:53 AM

Can you provide information on the relative amounts of nitrates and nitrites in various foods and how they compare to the those used in the processing of meat like bacon?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 29, 2012
at 01:47 AM

Still ignoring the fact that the same studies show spinach and lettuce were accounted for what was it 35% and 17% and lunch meat accounted for less than 4%. Sheesh, give it a rest man.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 29, 2012
at 12:38 PM

There's a sucker born every minute. ;)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 02:28 AM

@ LLM: Nitrates (NO3) are different to nitrites (NO2). Yes, NO3 is also found in vegetables and fruit. The concern is with NO2, which is used as a preservative and meat colorant and reacts with dietary amines to form carcinogenic nitrosamines.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:36 AM

Nitrate (NO3) converts in the body to nitrite (NO2) which eventually gets converted to nitric oxide (NO) which our bodies actually make constantly as a signaling molecule. That's why high-nitrate celery is used to cure bacon, it converts to NO2/NO *in situ*. NO-bound heme is why cured bacon appears pink and why my homemade bacon looks brown.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 03, 2012
at 01:32 AM

And at some point becomes converted to nitrosamine which creates DNA lesions that can switch off a tumor supressor gene or activate an oncogene..

11
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:49 PM

Oh stop whining. Seriously if bacon makes you wet yourself don't eat it. It is that simple. I like my life better with bacon, it is tasty and I have 0 evidence that it will hurt me.

Burden of proof is on the person making the claim. Bacon=bad? Prove it.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 06:01 AM

Interesting quote from your first study: The major contributors to nitrate intake were lettuce (34.4%), cooked spinach (10.2%), and broccoli (4.5%) and the major contributors to nitrite intake were cold cuts (7.2%), pasta (6.7%), and bread (6.5%). – Mscott 4 hours ago In fact, it looks like processed meat intake decreased as nitrate intake increased. So processed meat was actually sort of inversely related to thyroid cancer! – Mscott 4 hours ago

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:08 PM

Proof = http://paleohacks.com/questions/151777/how-is-bacon-paleo/151814#151814

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 05:58 AM

Which of these did you feel was evidence?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 11:00 AM

The study's finding was increased risk of thyroid cancer with increased dietary nitrate intake among men. The study did not aim to establish an association between bacon and cancer, but rather nitrates and cancer. The reason for including this study is to show the association of nitrate consumption with cancer risk. High bacon consumption is very popular with many paleo practitioners. It follows that a high consumption of meat processed with nitrate would increase nitrate intake and therefore lead to an increased risk of thyroid cancer.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:09 PM

Evidence = http://paleohacks.com/questions/151777/how-is-bacon-paleo/151814#151814

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:18 PM

@ Harry... Sort of poor assumptions about bacon considering the evidence though don't you think? Just reading your paragraph I had to make some large non logical jumps to arrive at your conclusion. Shouldn't you be railing against the consumption of lettuce instead?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 29, 2012
at 12:02 AM

Oh really? Prove it. You are big on opinion but so far you are totally unable to support anything you say with real evidence. Food addiction and companies taking advantage of food reward is not the same as enjoying a whole food. What are you, one of those who only eats boiled chicken breast and steamed broccoli? Life is too short.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 05:10 AM

None of the links you provided said that, not that I saw. Moreover, you haven't defined what is excess, or too much. Also, in an effort to control our nitrate intake why not keep the bacon and dump the lettuce which it appears is higher in nitrates.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 28, 2012
at 11:30 PM

I'm pretty sure my bacon-derived happiness is worth 2 years of life! ;) Of course, I'd be very surprised if going no-bacon would add on average 2 years of life. We'd probably not see more than a few days of life extension, I'm not trading bacon for mere days.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 08:00 PM

see: Naturalistic Fallacy. Things are not healthy or unhealthy because they are natural or unnatural. Arsenic in rice might be natural but doesn't make it good for us. Cyanide in (is it?) Cassava isn't suddenly good because we didn't add it. If you don't like Bacon, don't eat it. But as I said unless you have real evidence that 1-2 slices along with lots of veggies, meat and eggs is actually going to kill me...well...no...even then I rather die happy at 90 then miserable at 92.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 28, 2012
at 02:01 PM

So is it the nitrates or is it the missing phytochemicals/co-factors that prevent nitrate damages? Bacon in a diet rich in plants, phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, etc, what's the effect?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 02:35 AM

Matt, you're comparing lifestyle (which includes various activities and numerous opportunities to stimulate the reward pathway outside of food) to food obsession. Paleo food obsession is still food obsession, as this tete-a-tete clearly illustrates. People are suggesting they would sacrifice 2 years of life in order to eat as much bacon as they like - that strikes me as food obsession.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 12:36 PM

Because the nitrate in lettuce is naturally occurring whereas the nitrate in bacon is added.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 04:56 AM

What about my conclusion dont you get? That bacon processed with nitrites does not contribute to an excess of nitrate intake, which in turn increases risk of a variety of cancers? This is not my conclusion, incidentally, but that of the various studies I've provided links to.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 11:52 PM

Overemphasis on food derived happiness is why theres an obesity epidemic.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 29, 2012
at 12:40 PM

Don't know about that, Harry. Thinking about traditional European/Mediterranean lifestyles... very food-centric...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 02:12 PM

@LLM: Do you understand what the scientific method is? Here is a wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 09:22 PM

@Harry - Sure. Do you understand basic logic? You can't claim food obsession is unhealthy and then claim that if I eat bacon I'm going to fall over dead. That I have to have some sort of weirdly pure diet. You found studies, many not in humans, which show large amount of chemicals from pesticides are bad and extrapolate that to mean moderate consumption of bacon is lethal. It's crazy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 02, 2012
at 11:36 AM

@Harry, nobody in their right mind thinks that bacon consumption causes on average 2 years of life reduction.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2012
at 08:26 PM

@Harry - Are you still spun up about this? Bacon-avenger strikes again.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2012
at 04:47 AM

@ Matt: I agree. But it was you who alluded to this - _"I'm pretty sure my bacon-derived happiness is worth 2 years of life!"_

7
8425f2fefc608f58a8cc0f2dcaa93341

(381)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:48 AM

People ask: Why doesn't everyone follow a Paleo diet?? The answer is in this thread. We look like a bunch of nutcases as we argue about bacon!

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 04:51 AM

Outstanding assessment

7
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:44 AM

The risk from nitrates/nitrites is low, and overblown. Aside from observational epidemiological studies, I've seen no support for nitrates in food causing cancer. See: http://paleohacks.com/questions/139951/do-nitrosamines-produced-in-food-actually-cause-cancer

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 01:55 PM

Really? So nut butters are off limits because they're overly processed but bacon is game? Give me a break.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:43 PM

...but I do also do agree that there is a bias inherent in most (all) of the studies.

3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

(1782)

on September 25, 2012
at 01:43 PM

but there are plenty of observational epidemiological studies showing processed meat to increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease. I guess we're just ignoring those for now.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 05:10 PM

For reducing variables and proving causation, definitely. For pattern recognition, no.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:44 PM

that is not to say i do not agree that there is a bias inherent in most (all) of the studies. BUt, my point was that you're being inconsistent and being a victim of confirmation bias yourself.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:12 PM

So, in your estimation animal studies are superior to observational studies with sample populations > 400,000?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:31 PM

Bacon-eating correlates well with poor diet and not giving a shit about one's own health. But it's the bacon that's killing folks, right? That's the problem with epidemiological studies. There's an inherent bias that health folks bring to studies. Bring on an animal model that demonstrates that nitrate-containing (in the amounts found in human feedstuffs) foods cause cancer. I've only seen nitrosamine-spiked diets causing cancer in animal models, but I'm open to having my mind changed.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:00 PM

Nothing, but they don't prove anything. They identify patterns and that prompts additional studies to determine whether patterns are valid or not. If the bacon/nitrate-disease pattern is so strong, I would expect there's some animal studies supporting that. But I haven't found any yet.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:37 PM

I didn't say nut butters were off-limits, just than they weren't whole foods. They been processed into hyperpalatable foods that are incredibly easy to overeat. Bacon is very similar. I've said before that bacon is not optimal, but who gives a shit about being optimal 100% of the time?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 04:10 PM

I rarely point to epidemological studies myself - they find patterns, which is important. It's up to controlled studies to figure out what (if anything) causes the patterns. There's a pattern between cured meats and various diseases (mostly cancer). I haven't seen the study that links nitrated-food to cancer in animals. One could postulate other causes of such a pattern.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 04:54 AM

What's wrong with observational studies??

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:42 PM

I agree with the sentiment about not caring about being optimal 100% of the time, I was just pointing out an inconsistency. I also find it interesting how you're willing to point to epidemiological studies in support of your point, but go on to discredit their efficacy when they are in opposition to your view.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:13 PM

So, in your estimation animal studies are superior to observational studies with sample populations > 400,000? Extraordinary.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 28, 2012
at 02:03 PM

Now you're just getting silly...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 12:40 PM

Causation in the model organism, yes. Causation in humans, no.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:19 AM

How so? There are vast metabolic differences between model organisms and humans. This is the reason there are Phase 0 and Phase 1 clinical trials.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:37 AM

So all toxicity data for humans has been obtained in humans? No, reasonable approximations and estimates have been made based on model organisms. As you've pointed out more than once, it's unethical to do such experiments on humans.

6
06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on September 26, 2012
at 01:14 AM

This is what we call a "forbidden" question. It is akin to asking why we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway, we are not meant to know the answer, only that it just "IS".

Matt
PhysiqueRescue.com

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 05:11 AM

Very Zen.......

06ca9c524c28bc3fba95d4d90f8f43c6

on September 30, 2012
at 04:18 AM

Bacon does seem to put me in a meditative state. . .

6
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on September 25, 2012
at 01:03 PM

I rather eat unprocessed meats, so you can have my bacon :) So bring on lamb heart, kidneys, and livers for me rather than bacon.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:33 PM

Here pork is poor mans meat, so they are fed grain and rape seed like crazy, any smart paleo would steer very far of those meats. I envy the places that have real old school pork that is taken care very well. In some parts of france pigs eat better diet than some people in Finland. Altho that isnt very hard ;)

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:15 PM

Like I said above pork belly seasoned as you like....

19ff515e8ec02d95e8f2cf68c3ec1373

(1207)

on September 25, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Sure, give me all your bacon.

44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:29 PM

Real bacon is always cured (pink salt, insta cure #1), that what gives the distinctive flavour. I have Ruhlmans book for reference. I dont care for pork tho, i prefer lamb and beef flavour reasons. Local finnish pork is poor quality. Lamb is taken care much better, and reindeer. Cured reindeer meat is damn good. It just so expencive.

5
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2012
at 12:09 PM

Ok, One more time.

PALEO IS NOT JUST EAT WHAT CAVEMEN ATE

Paleo is a belief that we evolved to eat certain types of foods. We have continued to evolve even after the "agricultural revolution". The idea is to eat foods that are healthy for YOU.

Also, man has been curing meat with smoke and/or salt for a very long time, it is certainly part of how we have evolved to eat.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on September 25, 2012
at 02:16 PM

"man has been curing meat with smoke and/or salt for a very long time". Man has been eating grains for a very long time as well.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 25, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Quite. I believe that the theory of eating in a paleolithic manner is sound....its our practice of it that can be distorted and could lead to less than stellar results. While I understand why people have taken to calling it a paleo template I wonder how many people jump in with someone elses template in mind.... i.e. the don't do the "strictest" level first, and then wonder why they aren't getting the results they had hoped for.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:29 PM

JayJay, it is impossible to "eat as our paleolithic ancestors ate" because (1) We don't know what they ate. No one does, it's all conjecture (2) We cannot eat what they ate. Our foods are radically different in nutritional content than they were 100 years ago, God forbid 20,000 years ago. (3) Our genetic diversity, from breeding across "tribes" is radically different than our ancestors, thus it is impossible to eat in according to our ancestors as different gene expressions have been passed down.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:42 PM

please see "The idea is to eat foods that are healthy for YOU." The onus is on the receiver.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 01:40 PM

We have "evolved" to consume cured meat? Evidence?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:30 PM

So the Paleo template to eating is to revert to foundational level foods, and through experimentation determine what other foods provide us with the quality of life we desire. This may include foods that were not available to our paleolithic ancestors (like Dairy or Coconuts -- How the hell did an Irish boy evolve to eat coconut?).

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:14 PM

See I still disagree with this version of "paleo"...Paleo really is just as stated foods available to paleolithic and yes PRIOR to the agricultural revolution whether you have evolved tolerances to those foods or not. Now if you said paleo hacks idea of a paleo template is "not just eat what a caveman ate" then I guess you could be right.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Quite good points. I suppose I didn't phrase it right. I believe that the theory of eating in a paleolithic manner is sound....its our practice of it that can be distorted and could lead to less than stellar results. While I understand why people have taken to calling it a paleo template I wonder how many people jump in with someone elses template in mind i.e. the don't do the "strictest" level first, and then wonder why they aren't getting the results they had hoped for.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

To me, paleo is an aknowlegement that there is a biologically optimal way of eating. For humans, meats and vegetables are foundational level food groups. Very few humans have evolved the appropriate enzymes to effectively and safety consume grains. We began consuming grains during the agricultural revolution, while this was 10,000-15,000 years ago, evolution has not pushed these enzymes through natural selection becuase (1) The harm comes from chronic abuse -- most likely after procreation stages and (2) We have evolved to an era where sick people can be strong contributors to society.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:08 PM

Paleo foods aren't often also paleolithic. Paleo foods are most often at least traditional, which cured meats are. Though you could argue that modern cured meats aren't even traditional, and arguably not even paleo. Quibbling over pigeonholes is fun, ain't it?

3
Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:40 AM

If bacon concerns you, start smoking your own meat over wood. My barrel smoker cost $300 and I run it on 100% wood, these days apple and filbert. What you get tastes nothing like bacon, or any other commercial smoked meat. The smoke flavor is intense and the meat needs no other seasoning. As far as I'm concerned this is as close to paleo as it gets.

I've smoked all kinds of stuff, including butternut squash. I usually run it pretty hot (oven roasting temperature) and 2-3 hours max, due to the burn time in the wood basket. Salmon invariably works the best, whether it smokes out dry or stays moist. I've also had good results with pork ribs and loin, beef loin shell, and chicken and duck thighs. I usually cover the meat with bacon strips, then salvage the smoked bacon to eat by itself.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:40 PM

Abso-freaking-lutely. I love my smoker....I've done bout everything on it.

3
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:12 AM

The echo chamber effect seems to have manifested around this topic as many have risen to defend the consumption of meat processed with nitrite/nitrate. The defence seems to centre on personal experience (the "awesomeness" of bacon), or the experience of others (i.e. blog articles where arbitrary causality is established to support a view with no scientific referencing).

Given the available published research of the highest evidentiary scale (systematic reviews and meta-analyses) that indicate an association between nitrite/nitrate consumption from processed meats and an increase in cancer risk (references), this is surprising.

In order to stimulate a more rational discussion one could consider this issue from a different perspective by posing the following questions:

  • would you advocate that your significant other, or, your child consume meats preserved using this method?

  • would you advocate that a person who has been diagnosed with cancer consume meats preserved using this method?

Undoubtedly, there are genetic polymorphisms that enable some people to have an increased ability to metabolize toxins and resist oncogenesis. This is likely the reason why the degree of association between cancer risk and nitrite/nitrate consumption from processed meat is not as high as that of cigarette smoking and lung cancer, for example. However, as with cigarette smoking, there are a small number of individuals that live to well over 100 years despite being habitual smokers - and this is the argument that big tobacco used to maintain ignorance for as long as they could manage.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:23 PM

And you are profoundly deluded if you believe science holds no bias....yes ESPECIALLY that found in peer-reviewed journals.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 11:09 AM

On the premise that nothing is certain we are in complete agreement, however, when it comes to matters of health it is far better to err on the side of caution. There is clear epidemiological evidence of an association between high levels of dietary nitrates and physiological perturbation including cancer risk. That should be enough for a responsible person to caution on consumption of meats processed with nitrates.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:10 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3015194

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:50 PM

That's a profoundly inept statement. These are _published, peer-reviewed_ meta-analyses.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 10:48 AM

Nitrate poisoning is not carcinogenicity. I don't doubt that if you eat a few spoonfuls of sodium nitrate adverse health effects will result. That's obfuscating the matter.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:10 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7200054

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:19 PM

Sorry, but meta-analysis are usually quite biased to begin with. They tend to exclude based on studies that don't fit the conclusions they are looking for.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:15 AM

Meh.....you get the idea, have a look round for yourself. These are just the first few I saw in some of those "blog articles where arbitrary causality is established to support a view with no scientific referencing"...guess you didn't read em. They seem to be referenced rather more than you make out.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:16 AM

And we should be holding your opinions in higher regard than the published, peer-reviewed work of qualified, senior researchers, is that right? I don't think so.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:11 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18268290

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 03:28 AM

Jamie, I believe there was a mention of nitrates being used as a poison in feral pigs.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:12 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19439460

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:26 AM

@JayJay, the "Carcinogenicity studies of sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate in F-344 rats" study... supports what we already know. Nitrates aren't the problem, nitrosamines are. The conversion of nitrate to nitrite to NO to nitrosamine is going to be lousy at best in the digestive system, maybe a couple of percent conversion at best in the frying pan. Concentrations well below the amounts that induce cancers in animal studies.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:30 PM

Don't take my word for it. Read the rest of the research. If you would leave it at "that is enough to monitor your intake of processed meats".....then you would likely be fine given the data. It is when you try to pin it specifically to nitrates that your argument falls apart given not just the epidemiological studies you present, but also the animal studies and other trials done.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:44 AM

@ JayJay: i reviewed the studies with the highest evidentiary quality PRIOR to forming a conclusion

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:36 AM

..see my response below on the references you've provided..

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:01 AM

And we should be holding your opinions in higher regard instead, is that right?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 10:51 AM

Harry, who is dismissing the trends/data obtained from observational studies? There is a pattern between cured-meat and various disease states, not sure if it's causal or not. Considering the lack of animal models, confounding variables, etc it seems even uncertain.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:11 AM

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3974695

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:45 AM

JayJay: i reviewed the studies with the highest evidentiary quality PRIOR to forming an opinion

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 03:33 AM

Matt, what is becoming increasingly apparent is that there is a strong anti-establishmentarian undercurrent amongst some PH members which dimisses valid scientific findings if they are not consistent with their beliefs.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:09 AM

yes and yes (to your questions)... guess you skimmed over all the stuff that says there was no correlation in those "blog article" which also happened to cite several studies. Nah, the likely reason the correlation is less is because its not real. It's assumed this stuff is bad for you and they juggle numbers to make it so.....happens all the time. They come up with an answer and construct the data to prove it.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 27, 2012
at 02:50 AM

Statistically based studies are starting points (fuel for hypothesis), not ending points (proof). Theres alot of manipulation involved. I mean, its good because it rules out things that arent significantly correlated, but correlation does not equal causation. In order for something to be true, in most cases, they should be able to translate that into a coherent animal model. At that point they understand the phenomena.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:52 AM

I think JayJay understands the difference between observational and experimental studies. Which one can prove things and which one suggests things.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 28, 2012
at 12:28 PM

Without the benefit of a survey of the relevant literature, I would propose that naturally derived nitrates are metabolised differently to artificially added nitrates. I suppose one could consider natural carbs (e.g. from vegetables) versus processed carbs (e.g. added sugar) as an analogy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:22 AM

You need to distinguish between nitrAtes and nitrItes.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 28, 2012
at 05:56 AM

^ Well, whats the proposed mechanism? Then we might be able to properly deal with the issue. Given there are nitrates in vegetables, should we be avoiding high nitrate veges too? If you avoided everything there was an epidemiological study against, there would be virtually no food left. If you can some up with a proposed mechanism, it might make the theoretical avoidance of that mechanism easier to talk about...

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 29, 2012
at 12:48 PM

Agreed. Now take the next logical step. If bacon's nitrates are bad and veggies' nitrates aren't. Which means is a protective effect of compounds in veggies that is lacking in diets that feature bacon. Which given decades of fat-is-bad propaganda has produced a positive feedback loop. Healthy folks don't eat bacon, but that in and of itself doesn't make them healthy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:39 AM

Nitrates convert to nitrites in the body. (which eventually may form nitrosamines through intermediate nitric oxide in high pH environments).

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:40 AM

Nitrates convert to nitrites in the body. (which eventually may form nitrosamines through intermediate nitric oxide in low pH environments).

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2012
at 11:31 AM

incidentally, nitrosamines happen to be one of the major groups of chemical carcinogens in tobacco products

2821052ea598af78cbbee15033cd7468

(0)

on December 08, 2013
at 06:29 PM

Here lieth the sole voice of reason in this thread.

Most of the comments here are anti-reason even in the face of exposure to potential carcinogens, and pro-authoritarian, even when those authorities fail to follow even the most elementary principles of science even while seemingly selling medical advice to those who will buy it without a critical eye.

I was hoping for more nuanced, intelligent and well-reasoned discussion for this question. Unfortunately you won't find that here amongst the many trolls and foot soldiers.

3
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:31 PM

I think nitrates may be a little overblown, given they occur naturally in other foods.

But then again, I dont think we should eat loads of processed meat either. Like polyphenols (erroneously refered to as "anti-oxidants"), they are probably cleared quickly from the body, so only cause damage in higher quantities (All speculation of course).

It would be nice if more cured meats were made with just salt, given thats fully viable :/

Sucks that modern ham is usually low fat too :/

Of course pork is high in o6 too, so better to be free range as well.

If anyone find a truely nitrate free bacon/ham (as in, no juices either, just salt), which is not low fat, and free range - let us all know!

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on September 25, 2012
at 02:42 PM

Prosciutto not be bacon...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:41 PM

Maybe we can consider cooking bacon slowly, and eating with fried tomatos (for vit c), the equivilant of soaking and roasting nuts...

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:39 PM

I wonder how hard it is to make bacon? Its a damn tasty food, if its not overly hard, might be worth a shot making some truely nitrite free stuff maybe. Then again if its the nitrosamines, then surely we can just slow cook our bacon, forget about crispy and have our cake and eat it too?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:47 PM

Good answer. And I always wondered what it would taste like to very thinly slice some fatty cut of pork and then broil it for a couple minutes on each side...then season with salt. Would it not end up tasting like bacon, or is there some much greater step that I am missing?

5e816d3249fd4bceb096d4ae7183df1a

(508)

on September 26, 2012
at 04:59 PM

Here's a pastured, nitrate free bacon I found at a local grocery store. Really, really good. http://www.beelerspurepork.com/Products/SpecPages/Bacon.htm

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:46 AM

http://store.honoredprairie.com/Natural-Bacon--1lb-Pkg-799lb_p_248.html <---where I get mine. Of course it does use vegetable juice powder for the "naturally" occurring cure. In the end I'm not concerned. Bring on the bacon.

3
429e01b74c31847aed3af35ef9973256

(427)

on September 25, 2012
at 01:23 PM

I think it's close to 97% of all the nitrates and nitrites humans are exposed to are created by mouth flora.

Ima keep eating bacon thank you.

3
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 25, 2012
at 12:04 PM

You are talking about poison bait traps for feral pigs, which are sensitive to nitrates. They are targeting 135mg/kg for the traps. That's a hell of a lot of nitrate, but one point is that they don't want other animals to die from it. Some of the pigs survived anyway...

"...in the United States, the concentration of nitrates and nitrites [in cured meats] is generally limited to 200 ppm or lower." - wiki. Okay, yet again "The dose makes the poison." - Paracelsus.

You have presented NO EVIDENCE that the levels of nitrates in bacon are problematic to humans. And, as an aside, there are more nitrites and nitrates in vegetables (beets, celery) than in bacon. And if you really are concerned, then go get the nitrite/nitrate free bacon at Trader Joe's (just watch out for the beet/celery juice that it is cured with). And don't eat their salmonella filled peanut butter snacks.

To actually answer your question, bacon is not truly paleo. No processed meats are. But neither is butter, ghee, coconut oil, coconut flour, modern fruit, red wine, coffee, dark chocolate, etc. etc... I keep waiting for Trader Joe's to carry wooly mammoth, but I digress. There is no good reason to avoid bacon apart from excess omega-6 levels.

EDIT:

Thank you Chris Kresser for clearing this up once and for all!
http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:36 PM

It's a good idea to look at the evidence and take it into consideration. I've looked at it a number of times. It always seems very weak. I don't eat a ton of bacon or processed meats, but I also do not worry about it. Sugar, flour, omega-6 - these are things that concern me as I am pretty convinced of their deleterious effects, especially for me. A few other things like MSG, soy, caffeine and alcohol are also problematic for me. Bacon is not a problem in my book.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 03:51 PM

Reviews and meta-analyses aren't real studies. They identify patterns, but cannot suggest any causative pathway for such patterns. In other words, they don't prove anything.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:27 PM

There's enough evidence based on systematic reviews and meta-analyses to be a cause for concern.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:34 PM

Cant you cook it slower then, if its a degradation product? Bacon on slow heat?

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on September 25, 2012
at 12:45 PM

The concern with nitrates in bacon isn't the nitrate itself, but the nitrosamines that are formed when the bacon is cooked.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 05:11 PM

Like other toxicity studies, it'll have to be done in animals. Show me the animal data.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 06:55 PM

Also, my field has no meta-analyses, and reviews aren't worth anything... that's why I don't put stock in them.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:10 AM

I've not seen any evidence that you or any of your contrarian colleagues have actually READ the references I've cited in order to oppose their conclusions. Do you understand what "Evidence Based" means?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 11:59 PM

And that's a valid reason for dismissing evidence?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:46 PM

Reviews and meta-analyses aren't real studies? They represent the highest level of evidence according to Evidence Based Medicine methodological guidelines. Clearly it is not possible to conduct a randomised controlled trial given it would be unethical to proscribe a cohort to consume a cancer inducing agent.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:51 AM

A review or meta-analysis doesn't really tell you anything new, just trends, doesn't prove anything.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 28, 2012
at 11:32 PM

*misses the reference*

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:28 PM

Matt is correct. A review or meta-study is not an actual study. And it is even further away from the gold standard, a controlled clinical trial. Not that reviews or meta-studies don't serve a purpose, but we should be careful to put too much stock in them. Note well all the recent drug recalls. HRT anyone? If you want to be super careful about avoiding anything that has a hint of something toxic, you will be left with nothing to eat. (All plants contain phytate, all animals have hormones)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on October 01, 2012
at 02:33 PM

[Monty Python and the Holy Grail]

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 28, 2012
at 01:59 PM

So, logically... If she weighed the same as a duck... she's made of wood. And therefore...A witch!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 30, 2012
at 03:37 AM

A meta-analysis is more than just about trends (by which I take it that you mean agreement across numerous independent studies - in itself highly important) but also about effect size.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 01, 2012
at 11:40 AM

It still cannot establish causation.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 06, 2012
at 11:46 AM

@ Dave S. - Chris Kresser is "a licensed acupuncturist".

3
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on September 25, 2012
at 10:20 AM

Bacon is Paleo because it comes from a dead pig. And because it's awesome.

Where is your evidence that nitrates are unhealthy? I thought that was all bunkum:

http://bare5.com/2012/04/02/2221-hot-dogs-a-day-and-still-ok/

http://balancedbites.com/2011/05/bacon-health-food-or-devil-in-delicious-disguise.html

Nitrates had better be healthy, cos I'm glugging down the beetroot juice trying to increase mine right now: http://paleohacks.com/questions/151153/juicing-with-beetroot-is-a-5k-pb-worth-the-increased-cancer-risk

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:47 AM

The dude in question is paleotype. ;)

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:01 AM

Polyphenols are associated with genotoxicy, and we eat those all the time. Guess the question is, how effeciently are nitrates cleared from the body?

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 10:39 AM

Evidence? Google nitrites and cancer or ifnyou wantnto really crap your pants even get onto Pubmed.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 10:41 AM

For evidence google nitrites and cancer. But if you want to crap your pants search on Pubmed.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 11:08 AM

Baconcide......

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on September 25, 2012
at 02:40 PM

BTW, crapping your pants is not paleo. Frankly, once the bacon is done the pants come off!

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 25, 2012
at 12:12 PM

Dude, dying painlessly sounds awesome! More bacon please!

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 05:03 AM

Matt if I'm trolling then you must be mega trolling.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 11:03 AM

"It has now also been identified that not only do nitrite salts act as effective toxins, poisoning and death occur rapidly and relatively painlessly. The mechanism of action provides the quick development of anoxia in the brain due to the reduced oxygen carrying capacity of methaemoglobin induced by the nitrite. Thus one of the first symptoms of the toxicosis is the occurrence of unconsciousness, in much the same way as carbon monoxide acts."

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 25, 2012
at 11:00 AM

This one is awesome http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/WO2008104028

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:47 AM

Dude, never heard the axiom, the dose makes the poison? Stop trolling.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 05:03 AM

Dave my pants stay on around you

2
E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 04:55 AM

I'm getting the impression that discussing bacon presents some sort of existential threat here.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 26, 2012
at 07:32 AM

Nah, just a subject we can all hack.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:01 PM

Actually, it appears that "hacking" in this case has more to do with the aggressive voicing of unfounded and often inane opinions rather than creative brainstorming and informed debate.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on October 01, 2012
at 04:13 PM

You should see how paleos get all bent out of shape if you question protein powder.

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:35 AM

JayJay, lets examine your references:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3015194 -- 1986 study on the use of nitrates in fertiliser

  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7200054 -- 1982 study on nitrates in the drinking water of rats

  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3015194 -- 2008 review paper on nitrates in drinking water

  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3974695 -- 1985 paper on salivary nitrate ion concentration

  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19439460 -- 2009 paper on dietary nitrites present in plant foods

Not a single one of the references you've cited make mention of nitrates/nitrates used in meat processing. Furthermore, the evidentiary quality of the studies you're using to support your contention is considerably lower than the meta-analysis, systematic reviews and prospective studies with 400K+ sample populations opposing your position.

I have to point out that if this is the type of evidence you - and perhaps your colleagues - choose to hang your hat on, it casts doubt on claims of the benefit to risk ratio of other foods and dietary methods you provide advice on.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:11 PM

Harry, I don't think anybody denies the correlation found in countless observational and meta-studies. What we (or at least I) question is the ability of the correlation to establish causation. While JayJay's references don't show nitrate-in-meat doesn't increase cancer rates, they confirm the theory that dietary nitrate has little effect on health. The absence of data or a negative result doesn't prove anything, but it strengthens an argument against such a link.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 10:56 AM

A clinical trial is not the only way to establish carcinogenicity/toxicity. In fact, given nitrate-spiked water does not produce increased cancerous tumors in rats strongly suggests that nitrates aren't the issue. That doesn't let bacon/cured meats off the hook altogether though.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on September 26, 2012
at 12:34 PM

Yes, basically take what we know in terms of safe levels of nitrites and what we know about processed meats and it seems that there is most likely another factor leading to the ill health benefits of consuming processed meats (which BTW never includes JUST BACON). So what would eating low grade bologne, hot dogs, McDonalds, chicken nuggets, fish sticks....and so on and so forth have in common BESIDES just the nitrite/nitrate load? Seems like there are plenty of other factors at play AND the least likely villain based on what we know is nitrate.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2012
at 01:53 AM

Exactly, Harry. None of which you've cited. You cannot establish causality with observational studies.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:56 PM

@Matt: the gold standard of establishing causality is a multi-centre randomised controlled trial that would compare a cohort with bacon consumption against a cohort without. The obvious problem is inability to blind. However, the bigger problem is that no ethics board would approve such a trial given the existing evidence that supports an association of cancer with processed meat consumption.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 03:19 AM

Incorrect, I said the _gold standard_ not the only standard. Matt, not all evaluation of risk is amenable to clinical trials. This is precisely where observational studies are an essential tool towards assessing causality. Determination of causality based on observational studies is largely a function of the quality and agreement of reports.

2
Bece741db5f5fed6bafa12e3548f973f

(715)

on September 25, 2012
at 06:09 PM

Bacon is, simply put, side pork, or meat cut from the sides of a pig's belly. A brine is used to cure it and it is then smoked. It doesn't have to have nitrates added. This can preserve it for a long time. As far as cancer causing, anything burnt or cooked at too high a temp is going to cause cancer too. French fries is an example. I'd say moderation is going to be the key with bacon.

1
1a8a12fe963f03e1de368a4554f10368

(25)

on September 26, 2012
at 01:31 PM

I'm new to Paleo and I avoid bacon because I am trying to lose weight. It seems like the fat content would not be good for weightloss and I have a hard time seeing how it is good for the heart if consumed in immoderate concentrations (although I know diehard Paleo people don't see a problem with high fat). I've been very taken aback by how rude a lot of the responses here have been. Personally I view bacon as a seasoning -- I will chop it up and cook kale in it for my family and things like that, but I avoid serving it as the main part of a meal (i.e., I avoid serving "eggs and bacon").

Adb249ff0b1447d86ed308d0265e2b86

(571)

on September 26, 2012
at 06:38 PM

I lost excessive amounts of weight eating copious amounts of bacon and eggs for breakfast. For me if I'm 'Very Low Carb' my weight goes through the floor. Paleo without lots of fat or safe starches isn't enough calories and could present a risk of rabbit starvation. I don't think anyone here is rude but bacon clearly has sacred and iconic status for some.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:25 AM

Then an apt question to consider, Spears, is whether to place higher value on the "sacredness" that bacon has for some over the possible health dangers. One may be so bold as to also ask, whether some members of this community are so removed from medical and scientific reality as to be a danger - by means of poor advice - to their peers.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 27, 2012
at 12:22 AM

Then an apt question to consider, Spears, is whether to place higher value on the "sacredness" that bacon has for some over the possible health dangers. One may be so bold as to also ask, whether some members of this community so removed from medical and scientific reality as to be a danger - by means of poor advice - to their peers.

1
83456bd85c99b73a03dc9ccf7eb44255

on September 26, 2012
at 02:48 AM

definition of Paleo from Wikipedia: The paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era???a period of about 2.5??million years duration that ended around 10,000??years ago with the development of agriculture. In common usage, such terms as the "Paleolithic diet" also refer to the actual ancestral human diet.[1][2]

Doubt there was bacon 2.5 million years ago. There are SO many versions of Paleo out there it's hard to classify what is Paleo versus what is not. Not sure it matters as long as it tastes good, gives you energy, and is not harmful to your body.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on September 26, 2012
at 03:02 PM

-- The salient point being whether it is harmful or not.

1
4e98420c55180862f3a3815339749ed4

on September 26, 2012
at 01:30 AM

It makes me incredibly happy every morning, keeps my weight healthy and it once had a face, my verdict is it's freaken 100% paleo.

E253f8ac1d139bf4d0bfb44debd1db21

on September 26, 2012
at 04:58 AM

Awesome for you :)

1
Baa413654789b57f3579474ca7fa43d7

(2349)

on September 25, 2012
at 01:08 PM

This seems like a pretty good analysis of the Nitrate/Nitrite issue:

http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/07/does-banning-hotdogs-and-bacon-make.html

1
0859683443aff4a9d341606dbd326d32

(137)

on September 25, 2012
at 12:52 PM

Pretty much any kind of meat you buy in the grocery store will contain nitrates or nitrites..so have fun on the paleo diet without eating meat. That's why a lot of people try to consume only grass-fed, antibiotic-free animals.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on September 26, 2012
at 02:48 AM

Grass fed antibiotic free is 10% paleo, but only because it's meat. At best it makes it as 40% late neolithic. +1 for the meat comment though. You've gotta eat it in the best form available even if it isn't perfect.

0
36be98ce7588cdf4bc09efd7fe10c63c

on December 09, 2013
at 02:34 PM

I don't think bacon is bad, I love eat, and therefore I eat it.

Paleo is a diet for you, if you like bacon and think it will not hurt you, eat it.

Paleo Recipe Book

0
36be98ce7588cdf4bc09efd7fe10c63c

on December 09, 2013
at 02:34 PM

I don't think bacon is bad, I love eat, and therefore I eat it.

Paleo is a diet for you, if you like bacon and think it will not hurt you, eat it.

Paleo Recipe Book

,

I don't think bacon is bad, I love it and therefore I eat it!

Paleo is a diet for YOU, if you like it, it eat.

Paleo Recipe Book

0
1742a605736a9ef0695b0b2296e1b6b0

on December 09, 2013
at 03:20 AM

Troll [edit by Matt11]

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