Scientific Evidence for Our Love of Bacon


David Kessler, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, researched why we love the foods that we love, and what causes what he calls “eatertainment.” When he began his research he assumed that people were attracted to certain types of food due to nutrition or the hormonal drives of our endocrine system. Instead he discovered that it boiled down to three things: fat, sugar and salt.

Does our bacon obsession stem from its content of fat, sugar and salt? Let’s take a look at this with a scientific distance from our love for bacon.

getty_rf_photo_of_bacon#1 Fat:

Kessler says bacon has a “high flavor profile” and is a “one-of-a-kind product that has no taste substitute” due to the lard, or the streaks, in bacon. It is those white stripes that give bacon the crispness and flavor that we love.

Bacon is used for barding in cooking, which means to add fat for flavor to foods that have little fat themselves. That Filet Mignon doesn’t have bacon on it for gift wrapping!

Chefs love to use bacon fat when cooking because it is the fat molecules that give off the aroma of food. (When mom is cooking breakfast, what do you smell? Is it the bacon sizzling or the pancakes on the griddle?)

Bacon fat also adds an amazing flavor – Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe with its bacon lardoons is absolutely amazing, and many Italian and American South recipes use the power of bacon fat to add flavor to their dishes.

Did you know? One teaspoon of bacon fat is 38 calories and is 40% saturated fat.

bacon_heart#2 Sugar:

The bacon on our grocery shelf is usually “brined in sugar”, meaning sugar is added for flavor when curing the bacon.

Of course there’s maple bacon and other forms of bacon that contain sugars for special flavoring. (Does slopping your bacon through the syrup on your breakfast plate count?)

Did you know? If you want to eat sugar-free bacon, you have to buy it labeled as such.


Bacon#3: Salt

Since salt is used in the curing of bacon, there is a high sodium content in it. Salt is the preservative that gives bacon its shelf life and prevents the formation of botulism.

Saltiness is one of humankind’s basic tastes, so salt is used as a seasoning to add flavor to foods. The salt in bacon pleasures our taste buds!

Did you know? Two pieces of bacon can contain up to 400 mg of sodium, equal to approximately 1 gram of salt, which is the same weight as a regular paper clip.

So much of what we eat contains differing levels of fat, sugar and salt. Bacon – with its wonderfully high levels of all three – isn’t called “meat candy” for nothing! We can scientifically prove that bacon tastes great, something our bacon obsession has been telling us for years.

I love to share my obsessions – like bacon and vampires.

Article Source: Scientific Evidence for Our Love of Bacon