Tripp to Health
Our adventures in healthy eating.
Bacon and Eggs... Healthy or Not??
This article has been updated and published the new website. View Bacon and Eggs ... Healthy or Not on DuPage Family Wellness.
I was talking to someone this week about food (surprise surprise for those of you who know me!) Anyways, we were on the topic of breakfast. Here’s how the conversation went down…
Me: I had a healthy breakfast this morning
Person 2: What, like yogurt?
Me: No, actually I had bacon, eggs, and a lot of veggies
Person 2: Oh bacon and eggs, real healthy (insert eye roll) … I wish I could get away with that.
I then proceeded to go into a long rant that I am about to go into with you all, so get ready! So many people are so afraid of fat and cholesterol that it makes me sad! I’m trying to educate people one at a time, but maybe writing this blog will help to do it faster.
Bacon and eggs have gotten a bad rap over the years. Ever since this picture was published in Time Magazine back in 1986, almost everyone in our country has been afraid of fat and cholesterol.
What is Cholesterol-
In a very simplified nutshell, cholesterol is a transport molecule in our body. It is neither good nor bad, it just transports things (fat etc.) around. Up until the last 35 years or so, Cholesterol was not even something that we measured. There was no such thing as “high cholesterol. “
Why would cholesterol go up?
If you have a lot more fat to be transported, you need more cholesterol to do this job. Our bodies actually do a very good job of making their own cholesterol. I don’t want to get too scientific here, but there is a cycle that many of you probably learned about in biology class called the Krebs Cycle that is the main way our bodies convert sugar to energy. One of the indirect byproducts of this cycle is cholesterol. So again, in a very simplified nutshell, the more sugar you eat, the more cholesterol your make.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Back in the 1980’s, many scientists assumed that when overweight and unhealthy people had high cholesterol, it was the cholesterol itself that was causing the problem.
New research is coming out saying that is it inflammation that is causing the problem, and their bodies were just producing more cholesterol to try to clean up that inflammation. (so they had high cholesterol because they were unhealthy, not the other way around) Whoa. I’m not going to get into cholesterol drugs right now, I’ll just let you think about what the implications of those last 2 statements could be if you are giving drugs to strictly lower the cholesterol levels.
What happens if Cholesterol gets too low?
Cholesterol helps us to make bile acids (for digesting fat). We use cholesterol on our skin to help make Vitamin D from sunlight. Cholesterols is also a key component in steroid hormones (estrogen, testosterone etc.) Clearly those are all very important processes that we want working!
So what kind of bacon and eggs are okay to eat?
My answer to this is the same as my answer to everything, the more natural the better. Ideal would be from pigs and chickens that ate their natural diets. (and chickens are not vegetarians- so be worried when you hear that Perdue Chicken comercial boasting about their awesome vegetarian fed chickens)
Bacon- Avoid super processed bacons with lots of additives (nitrates, etc)
Eggs- Please, eat the whole darn egg. There is a lot of good healthy protein and fat in that yolk, it’d be a waste to toss it. The best way to prepare it is to keep the yolk intact (poaches, over easy), a very hard scramble will denature (scramble up) some of those good proteins.
What about egg beaters? How many ingredients do you see on the label? Need I say more (hint…way over processed)
What about those veggies you mentioned? Oh yea- veggies are my way of life. Add them to everything. They offer lots of great nutrients, and make you feel full! Cook your bacon first, cook the veggies in the bacon grease (awesome cooking fat), and then throw your eggs over the top! Delicious!!