Are you consuming a lot of bacon and not losing weight?
Courtesy of our friends over at The Weight Loss Daily Blog, I learned something new about the food that most people erroneously stereotype as the staple of livin' la vida low-carb: BACON!
Although the idea that those of us who are on a low-carb diet sit around all day snacking on bacon, eggs and cheese is completely untrue, the popular perception by most uneducated people about this way of eating is that you should eat that way. That's why the people who go on their own version of "the Atkins diet" are robbing themselves of the right way to do low-carb.
Because it seems the nitrates and nitrites that are added to bacon as a way to help preserve their color and protect against the growth of bacteria is actually the culprit in the added risk of cancer and those dreaded weight loss stalls.
When nitrates and nitrites come under intense heat in the curing process, they are transformed into what is called nitrosamines. This problem extends to some other meats as well like sausage, ham and smoked fish, although it is most common in bacon.
The reason for the stall in your low-carb weight loss appears to happen when the fat intake is higher than what is needed to satisfy your hunger according to the column. While the columnist alleges cured meats are high in LDL cholesterol which "is responsible for clogged arteries" (no, it's not!), the fact is that you NEED fat because it serves as your fuel on the low-carb lifestyle.
While I personally haven't eaten bacon very often on my low-carb plan in the past year, I do eat a lot of meat. Primarily, I enjoy turkey breast, chicken, sausage, Wild Alaskan Salmon, steak, and sometimes ham. Bacon is consumed primarily when I eat out at a breakfast-type restaurant or buffet place.
This nitrate and nitrite problem is one low-carbers should certainly watch out for, but it is easily remedied by limiting your intake of bacon and other cured meats or finding alternatives that are nitrate-free.
The article recommends finding "a source of preservative-free, fresh meat, whether it be a local butcher or a mail-order meat source." GREAT IDEA and I'll keep my eyes open for a good source for such products. If you have any recommendations, then please feel free to share in the comments section below.
At the end of the article, there is a warning for people on the low-carb lifestyle to only select meats and portions that keep cholesterol consumption to 300mg or less and fat intake at the prescribed minimum for low-carb diets.
Let's get one thing straight: consuming cholesterol in your diet does NOT increase the cholesterol in your body. Dana Carpender hits this point very hard in her book Every Calorie Counts and it is one worth repeating over and over again. This is one of the most misunderstood health concepts that people still don't understand. Wake up people! It's NOT the cholesterol you eat that gives you high cholesterol!
As for the warning about only eating the amount of fat prescribed on your low-carb plan, what the heck is that? The last time I checked, there is NO limit to the amount of fat you can eat on most low-carb programs, especially Atkins. Fat is the lifeblood of your low-carb weight loss plan and limiting it will not help you shed the pounds any faster. The notion that you'll clog your arteries with fat is as old and outdated as the low-fat diet itself. We have GOT to get over this fat phobia people!
While I appreciate the information regarding nitrates and nitrites from The Weight Loss Daily Blog, the information provided was a mixed bag at best. That's why you must always be discerning and skeptical of any and all information you read about, even what you read here at "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb."
When more people start becoming independent thinkers rather than mind-numbed robots believing everything we hear, then we will see a radical shift in attitude about these long-held dietary beliefs. Until then, we'll have to keep correcting the lies when they rear their ugly head!