Fat doesn’t make you fat. In fact, fat is a necessary nutrient which supports stress management, cognition, mood, sleep, energy, weight management, healthy tissues, skin and hair – even digestion and nutrient absorption.
When choosing to embrace Paleo principles, there is an understanding that not all fats are created equal. You want to focus on real fats. By real, I mean fat that existed before the Industrial Revolution; foods that are naturally rich in the fats and oils necessary for optimal functioning like the naturally occurring fats found in well-raised animals and wild caught fish, olives, avocados, coconuts, nuts and natural nut butters and egg yolks. This may also include lard, tallow duck and chicken fat rendered from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals, well-sourced, virgin tropical oils like coconut oil and palm oil, extra virgin olive and avocado oils and coconut milk.
At the same time, you want to stay far, far, FAR away from vegetable oils and margarines. Not only are these oils chemically processed, they are highly unstable fats that are prone to free radical damage and are detrimental to your health. Thus avoiding fried anything, breaded anything, processed anything, packaged anything, not-natural anything. Keep these junk fats away from your precious body!
One of our favorite fats (and possibly yours) to eat, and use, comes from our bacon.
Is there anything better than waking up to the smells and sounds of bacon sizzling in the frying pan?
It can be hard to argue that for many, bacon is one of the most delicious foods in the world and often viewed as a guilty pleasure. Unfortunately, bacon's reputation has been damaged over these past few decades.
When it comes to Pete’s Paleo bacon, we source our pork from pastured pigs raised on quality ranches. It contains no sugars or sweeteners of any kind and no added nitrates or nitrites. It is made with pork belly, spices, salt and love. This bacon is good for you and a delicious addition to your Paleo diet.
A note on nitrates and nitrites
Sodium nitrite is an ingredient frequently used in processed meats to prevent the growth of bacteria and enhance the color and flavor of products. When exposed to high heat in the presence of amino acids, nitrites can turn into nitrosamines, which are harmful compounds linked to a variety of adverse health effects and may be associated with an increased risk of cancer (1, 2, 3), type 1 diabetes (3, 4), Alzheimer’s disease (5, 6) and methemoglobinemia (7, 8).
According to the World Health Organization, 10 grams of nitrites is considered fatal, but doses of just two grams daily have resulted in death. The European Union has also recently re-established significantly lower maximum levels for nitrate consumption as a result of the most current data and research.
Not only does our bacon taste great – but enjoying a hearty serving has other benefits too.
Curbs Food Cravings
The one property of bacon is often maligned by conventional nutrition advice also happens to make it an excellent appetite controlling food: Its high saturated fat content.
By now you are aware of the lack of sufficient evidence to warrant the claims that saturated fat consumption causes heart disease and weight gain.
Consumption of well-sourced, naturally occurring, saturated fat actually fills you up faster than processed carbohydrate-rich foods, which means you will actually feel satiated sooner and for longer. Combine this with the fact that it tastes delicious and is often considered indulgent and crave-worthy and you can't lose!
Raises HDL Cholesterol
HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol, is an important marker for heart disease risk. The higher your HDL levels, the better your health. Contrary to popular advice, numerous studies have shown that eating saturated fat is one of the most effective ways to increase your HDL levels and is actually good for your heart health. In reality, it is the much-encouraged low-fat diets may actually be harming your arteries.
Source of Phosphorus and Selenium
Selenium is a key component in the health of the thyroid gland. It is also potent antioxidant that and when paired with antioxidant vitamin E, can prevent certain degenerative eye diseases and hair loss. Selenium has also been shown to play important role in joint and cardiovascular health.
Phosphorus is an essential for building your DNA, as well as forming ATP, the energy molecule that makes muscle movement possible. It combines with calcium to form calcium phosphate, which is responsible for strengthening bones and teeth. Phosphorus deficiency can cause neurological and muscular problems.
Rich in B Vitamins
B vitamins are required when converting food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which is used to produce energy. These B vitamins, often referred to as B complex vitamins, also help the body optimally utilize fats and protein. B complex vitamins are needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver and efficient nervous system functioning. Niacin, a B vitamin found in bacon, supports the productions of various reproductive and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands and other parts of the body and improves circulation
Choline has been recently identified as one of the most important vitamins for brain health. Studies have shown that choline can improve memory, learning speeds, and brain cell size. It may even help prevent Alzheimer's. Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is important for muscle movement, sensory perception, sustaining attention, and decision-making.
Now as much as you may love bacon, it is simply neither feasible nor advisable to obtain the bulk of your nutrition from strips or chunks of Pete’s Paleo bacon. However, if you reserve your bacon fat for sautéing vegetables and other proteins and frying eggs, you will always have that delicious hint of bacon in your chosen meal.
Ideally, you want to cook your bacon slowly over a low flame in order to reduce the oxidative damage that high heat may have on the fats. This also renders the fat perfectly to save and savor later!
With so many delicious options, it can be overwhelming and sometime confusing when it comes to correctly using your fats of choice. You may find yourself relying on only one or two Paleo options. Expanding your culinary horizons by using the many REAL fat offerings will give you a whole new chapter of menu options and flavor profiles to tantalize your taste buds and wow your diners.
Use our chef's guide to Paleo fats to determine what morsel of deliciousness to use, how and when, and get creative!