American Obsession With Bacon Can Lead To Serious Health Risks

By John Lavitt 05/12/14

Though not exactly an addiction, our love of all things bacon can lead to increased health problems like cancer and cardiovascular disease.

This is your heart on bacon. Shutterstock

The romantic infatuation with bacon in the United States has been spiraling out of control. A threat to cardiovascular health, the excessive salt and high fat content of bacon can be lethal.

From bacon-wrapped everything to bacon-scented cologne, the obsession has been invading all areas of American society and culture. According to a Marketwatch report, bacon sales in the United States climbed 9.5 percent in 2013 to an all-time record of close to $4 billion.

Americans put bacon on everything from rice and ravioli to soup and cereal, while bacon flavored products like mayonnaise, dental floss, and even condoms are commonplace. But our obsession with processed meats contain serious potential health risks.

A 2012 study conducted over a 20-30 year period and published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who ate one serving of red meat a day had a 13 percent increased risk of dying during the study. The study also found that eating processed meats, like bacon or sausage, was linked with a 20 percent increased risk of death from cancer and heart disease. A regular diet of processed meat was also associated with a 21 percent increase in cardiovascular disease and a 16 percent increase in the risk of death by cancer.

Researchers found that replacing one serving of red meat with a healthier choice like fish or poultry led to a drastically reduced risk of death. In fact, over nine percent of deaths among men and almost eight percent among women could have been prevented during the study period of participants consumed half a serving less of red meats per day.

But because processed meats contain the holy trinity of salt, sugar, and fat, people have a more innate craving that makes it difficult for meat lovers to stop making everything taste better with bacon.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.