6

votes

Is bacon (or pork) back on the menu?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 31, 2012 at 4:39 PM

Recently, Jaminet wrote on the issues with pork, which are some good points. I would eat my pork well done, due to the possible pathogenic infections.

There are a few other interesting other ideas recently proposed.

Dr. Kaayla Daniel points out that Dr. Mary Enig suggested that lard or pork fat has up to 2800 IU of Vitamin D per 100 grams. This might help with many with Vitamin D deficiency. Daniel notes that Enig thinks the USDA doesn't want to reveal the difference in Vitamin D between pastured and conventional pork due to Big Ag lobbying. It is true that USDA doesn't want to distinguish differences between the following foods:

1) conventional vs. pastured eggs

2) health benefits of raw milk vs. pasteurized

3) dairy cows treated with rBST hormone vs those not

Chris Masterjohn on Vitamin D and lard http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/Vitamin-D.html

"By far the richest source of dietary vitamin D is cod liver oil -- a substance that takes the honor of being the food second richest in cholesterol...The second richest source of vitamin D is lard. No, you didn't read that wrong -- lard. Lard ... is over four times richer in vitamin D than its nearest competitor, herring. Granted, the pigs need to be exposed to sunlight to generate vitamin D."

http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/kdaniel/2012/03/29/save-your-bacon-sizzling-bits-about-nitrites-dirty-little-secrets-about-celery-salt-and-other-aporkalyptic-news/

Chris Kresser in the written transcript of his podcast also suggests that fear over nitrites are overblown. There's more nitrites in saliva and vegetables then cured meat! http://chriskresser.com/does-red-meat-increase-your-risk-of-death

Excerpts: Is processed meat bad?

Chris Kresser: .." The idea there is that nitrates and nitrites and nitroso compounds are carcinogenic, as has been seen in some animal studies, but the problem with this is that exposure to these compounds isn???t specific to meat intake, and in fact, exposure to them is a lot higher from other sources. Which of these food sources will give you the most ingested nitrites: 467 hot dogs, one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, four servings of celery or beets, or your own saliva?

Steve Wright: Oh man, you threw in a couple ??? I thought you were going to make it easy, like, you know, 401, 400, but I???m gonna go ahead and I???m gonna go with the number one, arugula.

Chris Kresser: OK. So, the answer is your saliva.

Steve Wright: Dang it!

Chris Kresser: Ha-ha, but you???re close. Nitrites are produced by your own body in greater amounts than we get from food, in general.

Steve Wright: Is it the same chemically?

Chris Kresser: Salivary nitrites account for 70% to 90% of our total nitrite exposure on a daily basis, but if you consider food alone outside of that, vegetables are actually the primary source of nitrite, and on average, and it varies place to place, but on average we get about 93% of the nitrites we obtain from food from vegetables alone.

And yes, nitrite is nitrite, nitrate is nitrate. It???s the same chemical formula, the same chemical composition. So, getting back to the quiz, you were right actually in your guess that a single serving of arugula is the highest dietary source of nitrite.

But two servings of butter lettuce and four servings of celery and beets ??? they???re all equivalent, and they all have more nitrite than the 467 hot dogs. And your saliva has more than all of them.

So, the other thing that???s important to understand is that nitrite has beneficial impacts on immune and cardiovascular function. In fact, it???s been studied recently as a potential treatment for hypertension, heart attacks, sickle cell disease, and some circulatory disorders.

The USDA only allows about 120 parts per million of nitrite in hot dogs and bacon, but during the curing process most of that nitrite forms nitric oxide, which binds to iron and gives hot dogs and bacon that pink color that they have, and the amount of nitrite left after that is only about 10 parts per million.

It???s also really important to understand that neither nitrate, nor nitrite really accumulate in the body in significant amounts. When we get nitrate from food, it???s converted into nitrite when it contacts the bacteria in our saliva, and then about 25% of the nitrate we eat is converted into salivary nitrite, and 20% is converted into nitrite in the gut. The rest is excreted in the urine within about 5 hours, and what nitrate is observed has a very short half life. It disappears from our blood stream in about 1 to 5 minutes.

Some nitrite in the stomach reacts with the gastric contents and forms nitric oxide, which may have some beneficial effect. And you kind of alluded to this, Steve, but the so-called natural nitrite or nitrate, or nitrite- and nitrate-free hot dogs and bacon, they use naturals sources of the same chemical, like celery and beet juice and sea salt, but it???s still NO3, which is nitrate. And as Mat LaLonde is fond of reminding us, when it???s the same chemical structure, it???s the same chemical. They???re no more free from nitrates and nitrites than the standard hot dogs and bacon. They have the same chemical. It???s just a different source. So, I think the whole nitrite and nitrate things is overblown.

Steve Wright: No, I think we might be OK in the hot dog realm. So, the big question is do you eat bacon, then, that has nitrites on the label?

Chris Kresser: Yeah, I mean, I would. We get our bacon from a local farmer, and I don???t think they, I mean, they use natural sources for curing, and you can still buy uncured bacon at the store, but if out somewhere, you know, like on a trip, traveling or something, I???ll eat whatever bacon is in front of me.

Steve Wright: Gotcha. OK. Yeah, and I???m glad you brought up the point about natural, basically it???s preservatives, natural preservatives on a label versus a chemical preservative, and that I think actually what most companies are starting to find is that it???s cheaper and more effective to use the natural than the synthetic forms, and I???m starting to see them all over labels now, the celery extract in the various ones, so I think that???s going to be a growing trend that everyone is going to continue to observe for the next 5 to 10 years.

Chris Kresser: Well, these methods have been used for a long time, right? I mean, curing of meats goes back a very long time, and so they were using these ???natural??? sources long before the synthetic ones. So, another theory of how red meat might be harmful is it???s not the red meat itself but cooking it at high temperatures, and that creates heterocyclic amines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may be carcinogenic, and I???m certainly open to this as a possibility. There is quite a bit of research that shows that cooking methods do alter the health benefits or effects of food that we eat. Stephan Guyenet has talked about this a few times, and someday I might write an article about it, and I imagine he might, as well, but the study results for the harmful or mutagenic activity of these compounds in relation to colon cancer have been pretty mixed. ... Kresser goes on to talk about the fallacies with red meat cancer studies.

What's your view?

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Same, same and same!

6b6c938c368e7a135e74c468c9ed1189

(633)

on April 02, 2012
at 07:33 PM

Pastured pigs eat pasture. Same as pastured beef, chickens or bison. Makes sense that their n-3/n-6 is similar.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on April 01, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Interesting, I was unaware of the in vivo production of nitrosamines in the human stomach. Thanks for pointing that out.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on April 01, 2012
at 04:47 PM

..that's a whole ham, not a slice

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 01, 2012
at 03:22 PM

That's a bit surprising given a pig's diet.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 01, 2012
at 03:19 PM

Nitrosamines form from nitrites under high pH (i.e. the human stomach), it's less about high temperature. Heck, I make nitrosamines in lab at less than 0 degrees C.

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on April 01, 2012
at 12:21 PM

Once or twice a year :0

6b6c938c368e7a135e74c468c9ed1189

(633)

on April 01, 2012
at 05:52 AM

I've read the ratio approaches 1:1 for feral pigs in several places, but can't recall the sources.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 01, 2012
at 01:33 AM

1:1 omega ratio in pastured pork? Link for that?

6498694060d879a7960b35913539b75f

(1307)

on March 31, 2012
at 05:48 PM

It never left my menu.

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7 Answers

9
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 31, 2012
at 04:51 PM

Bacon and pork were never off the menu for me! But I'm sure for those who think that hacking their diet to the nth degree will result in a few more days of longevity or whatever, go for it. People worry more about what possibly can happen more than what actually is happening. Yes, nitrates can ultimately produce carcinogenic nitrosamines. Do they really have an effect on one's health in the amounts produced? I'm not convinced.

4
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on March 31, 2012
at 09:11 PM

Pork was off the menu? I still grill my steaks, despite the heterocyclic amines or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. I still have tuna patties every once in a while despite the mercury. I'm still going to only eat salads when there's bacon to crumble on them. I enjoy supporting my awesome local hog farmer who is AKA the goddess of pork, and I love a fabulous chop, pulled pork, or uncured ham. I'm not going to eat only grass-fed beef all the time, and my access to seafood changed throughout the year. If someone thinks they're going to live a few months longer or whatever by cutting on all pork, power to them.

3
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on April 01, 2012
at 03:56 PM

Pastured/Free-range pig or GTFO

2
2c657a0aca33e505e735477ddd68f4f2

on March 31, 2012
at 11:33 PM

Give me bacon or give me death!

I don't eat bacon every day, but when I travel it's one of the breakfast foods I gravitate towards, as I've found plenty of sausage that has gluten added, and more than a few places that started adding pancake batter to their omelettes.

1
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on April 01, 2012
at 02:26 AM

If we're discussing nitrates and nitrites, I'm more concerned with the formation of N-nitrosamines, which again is an issue involving cooking temperature. So if you're using gentle cooking, I don't think people should worry about nitrates and nitrites. Of course, to a lot of people "gentle cooking" is the burner on medium.

I've also yet to see a credible source for that "pastured pork/lard has 2800 IU's of vitamin D per 100 grams" WAPF people seem so fond of citing. If someone knows where they're getting that information, I'd like to see it.

Either way, I don't think bacon/pork was ever off the menu. Just be smart about it. And factory farm pork is still garbage.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 01, 2012
at 03:19 PM

Nitrosamines form from nitrites under high pH (i.e. the human stomach), it's less about high temperature. Heck, I make nitrosamines in lab at less than 0 degrees C.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on April 01, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Interesting, I was unaware of the in vivo production of nitrosamines in the human stomach. Thanks for pointing that out.

1
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 31, 2012
at 05:02 PM

I don't eat as much pork anymore because I find it inflammatory. I sure do love my uncured bacon and a ham once or twice a year;.

2a00b9a42e4cb6e489a0e69d20714576

(3043)

on April 01, 2012
at 12:21 PM

Once or twice a year :0

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on April 01, 2012
at 04:47 PM

..that's a whole ham, not a slice

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Same, same and same!

0
6b6c938c368e7a135e74c468c9ed1189

on April 01, 2012
at 12:58 AM

We make our own bacon and render our own lard from pastured pork. It's pretty easy to do if you have a crock-pot and a smoker. This way I can control the quality. We do it ourselves because we have concerns with not only the Ω6/3 ratio (1:1 in pastured pork), but with scary additives, antibiotics and bacterial contamination in feedlot pork.

When I render my own lard/bacon fat, the pastured lard stays liquid even at 34 degrees. Regular lard is hard at room temp. Try it and you'll get why it's worth the effort. Pastured lard is also inexpensive. I can buy pastured pork fat for about $3.5-4/#, which is a fraction of what butter costs. TJ's applewood smoked bacon is $4/#, so I'm getting pastured for about the same price as non-pastured.


This is my response letter from Trader Joe's regarding their bacon:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for contacting us. In regards to your question, yes, it is possible that ractopamine hydrochloride (HCL) has found it's way into the pigs' feed, as we do not track the feed of our conventional meat products. The only way to truly ensure that your meat comes from pigs that have definitely not been treated with Paylean is to buy organic pork. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you (as we know we do not have an organic alternative at TJ's for this product), but we hope you feel more informed and empowered to make shopping decisions that work for you!

Regards, Nikki Customer Relations

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 01, 2012
at 03:22 PM

That's a bit surprising given a pig's diet.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on April 01, 2012
at 01:33 AM

1:1 omega ratio in pastured pork? Link for that?

6b6c938c368e7a135e74c468c9ed1189

(633)

on April 01, 2012
at 05:52 AM

I've read the ratio approaches 1:1 for feral pigs in several places, but can't recall the sources.

6b6c938c368e7a135e74c468c9ed1189

(633)

on April 02, 2012
at 07:33 PM

Pastured pigs eat pasture. Same as pastured beef, chickens or bison. Makes sense that their n-3/n-6 is similar.

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