Can diabetics eat Bacon and Eggs?

“YOU LIKE IT. YOU EAT IT.”

Well if you are a diabetic you would disagree with this fact, because being a diabetic the fact changes to:

“YOU LIKE IT. YOU THINK IT. YOU THINK IT. YOU THINK IT. YOU MAY OR MAY NOT EAT IT.”

Now that you are reading this post, I’m sure you’re a fan of bacon or at least like to have it occasionally, but you are stuck at “YOU THINK IT”.

But the good news is that bacon, being a high protein food, is great for diabetics but at the same time bacon is also a high fat food and that too saturated fats.

So now you are wondering can I, being a diabetic, eat bacon. If yes, then how much and during what time of the day, bacon alone or with other food items.

To make you a bit happy, YES you can eat bacon at least as a cheat food (LOL!)

I have done a few simple calculations to determine how much bacon can you eat, during what time of the day and with what other food item.

Let’s jump in…

Bacon

At 100g serving:

Table showing nutritional facts of 100g of bacon
Calories 541  
GI  approx. 0  
Saturated Fat 14g 70% of daily value (HIGH)
Cholesterol 110mg 36% of daily value
Carb 1.4g  

Now let’s see the glycemic load and saturated fat content of 100g of bacon.

Glycemic load = approx. 0 (<10) GOOD

Saturated fat = 14g which is 70% of daily value (<30%) BAD

This knowledge will help us to derive the ideal serving size of bacon (Please note, the ideal serving size is the serving size when taken alongwith high fiber foods such as green leafy vegetables, raw salads etc.)

Therefore ideal serving size = 43g (approx. 5 cooked slices)

Since bacon is a high fat food the ideal meal time would be BREAKFAST. This is because, your breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should be power packed with high carbs and high proteins. However, being a diabetic you cannot have high carbs anytime during the day. Also, meals with higher fat content should be consumed anytime but for the dinner.

Bacon for Diabetics

Oxidative stress has a big role to play in the pathogenesis of diabetes and diabetic complications. This fact is the most highlighted fact and that’s because it is true. 

Human body has natural mechanisms which reduce the oxidative stress by maintaining the balance between the free radicals (the oxidants) and the antioxidants. When this balance is disrupted, the spectrum of diseases ensue. At this time, the role of dietary antioxidants and medications comes into play.

Bacon is known to have Zinc and Selenium which act as powerful dietary antioxidants. 

This is a screenshot from an article published by BaconIsMagic.ca:

Omega-3 fatty acids are the good fats that are to be obtained from dietary sources because body is unable to synthesize them. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Different types are obtained different sources such as fish, olive oil, nuts seeds, marine oils, etc.

Bacon has omega-3 acids which can prove to be helpful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is one of the most frequently occurring complications of diabetes mellitus.

Bacon is also known to have choline which has healing properties for various organs of the body including heart, nerves, brain, liver. Choline is also an important facilitator of development of brain in fetus.

More on choline benefits here.

This screenshot is from the article mentioning the benefits of bacon by Boss Hog:

Also, the bacon is known to elevate the mood, reduce the stress levels and give a sense of satisfaction.

Nitrates in Bacon

Other than heart disease, the diabetics are also at an increased risk of kidney disease. The point of mentioning this fact here is that the nitrates have a part to play in increasing the risk of heart disease and kidney disease among many others. 

So why should we worry about nitrates while eating bacon?

The meat which is processed by the manufacturer is treated with either artificial nitrates or natural nitrates such as celery juices / powder to increase the shelf life and retain its red colour. These nitrates when fried over pan turn into nitrosamines which lead to various other disorders of heart, kidney, respiratory system and colorectal carcinoma.

So how to avoid this risk due to nitrates? It’s simple, just follow the tips mentioned in the screenshot below while preparing your bacon meal. (source: time.com)

Finally, let’s have a look at the advice by Cimperman about how much and how frequently bacon should be eaten. (source: time.com)

Now let’s play with the numbers related to EGGS!

Egg

At 100g (2 large eggs):

Table showing nutritional facts of 100g of large egg (equivalent to 2 large eggs)
Calories 155  
GI 0  
Saturated Fat 3.3g 16% of daily value
Cholesterol 373mg 124% of daily value (VERY HIGH)
Carb 1.1g  

 

Glycemic load = 0 GOOD

Cholesterol = 373mg i.e. 124% BAD (but due to egg yolk)

Therefore ideal serving size = 2 large eggs (egg white) + half large egg (egg yolk) => reducing the amount of yolk will help reduce the cholesterol content.

Ideal meal time => anytime during the day (BREAKFAST/LUNCH/DINNER) because it has least fat content.

We all know how much we enjoy eggs with bacon. Let’s see if its worth a fork or two being a diabetic…

Bacon + Egg

At ideal serving size of both:

Saturated fat = 6g + 0.8g = 6.8g (a bit more than 30%) NOT BAD

Cholesterol = 47.3mg + 90mg = 137.3 mg i.e. 45.76% (>30%) BAD

Therefore ideal serving size of both together = 5 cooked slices of bacon + egg whites of 2 large eggs (This will have 6g of sat. fat and 47.3mg of cholesterol)

Ideal meal time => BREAKFAST (again because of high fat content)

 

To summarize, you can have:

  • 5 cooked slices of bacon => with high fiber food items for breakfast
  • egg whites of 2 large eggs + egg yolk of half large egg => with high fiber food items anytime during the day
  • 5 cooked slices of bacon + egg white of 2 large eggs => with high fiber food items for breakfast

High fiber food items have a large number of benefits especially for diabetics. I shall discuss those later.

Do you want more such Diabetic Food Analysis Reports? Subscribe to DiabeticsToday for free:



WARNING:

  • Every individual, diabetic or non-diabetic, has its own bodily mechanism and metabolism. It is always cautioned that food recommendations should be correlated with personal health history and the advice of the doctor.
  • These calculations are based on the daily calorie intake of 2000. Therefore, if your calorie intake exceeds 2000 a day, you can increase the ideal serving size and vice versa. However, the recommended blood glucose level still remains the same.

It is a good practice to have a rough calculation of the nutritional facts of the food items before eating them for the people belonging to all the spectra of health and fitness and not just diabetics.

Do you want me to analyse any other food item? Comment your request below.

References:

Hey there, I'm a final year undergrad medical student at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College (SSRMC), Mauritius.

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