A slice of uncooked bacon contains 18.5 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol. However, while researchers used to say that cholesterol from food directly raised cholesterol levels in the blood, they now believe the relationship is more complicated.
The above nutritional information comes from the
Dietary cholesterol does not directly raise cholesterol levels in the blood. Instead,
Read on to learn more about bacon cholesterol and its role in blood cholesterol.
According to the USDA, a 28-gram (g) serving of raw bacon contains about
Previously, scientists thought that eating dietary cholesterol in food resulted in higher blood cholesterol levels. Newer research suggests this is not the case.
According to a
However, saturated fat does raise LDL cholesterol levels. The saturated fat in bacon can raise cholesterol even if its cholesterol content does not.
Bacon contains about
In addition to its saturated fat content, there are several other ways bacon may impact cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health:
- Sodium: Bacon is high in sodium. High levels of sodium in the diet can raise blood pressure and
increase the riskof heart disease.
- Nitrites: Inorganic nitrites are a type of preservative that many companies use in pork products, including ham, sausages, and bacon. A
2019 reviewalso shows an association between high consumption of nitrites and gastric cancer.
- Calories: Although bacon typically comes in thin slices, it is calorie dense, containing
110 caloriesper uncooked slice. It is important to be aware of this when determining a serving size.
In moderation, most foods can be a part of a heart-healthy diet. However, as bacon contains a high amount of saturated fat and sodium, people should limit their intake.
People with no health conditions should consider eating bacon occasionally and in small quantities. For example, they can put shredded bacon in a sandwich or salad to add flavor. Grilling bacon with no additional cooking oils also reduces the amount of fat per serving.
Additionally, people may wish to look for nitrite-free bacon or choose nitrite-free alternatives. For example, some traditionally cured hams do not contain nitrites.
Otherwise, it is best to only exceed the daily recommendations for saturated fat occasionally. Doing so regularly
People who have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or who are at risk of cardiovascular disease may need to avoid bacon entirely. A person should speak with a doctor or dietitian for more advice.
In the diet, high amounts of both saturated fat and trans fats
- red meat
- high fat dairy products, such as cream and butter
- baked goods, such as cakes and pastries
- certain oils, such as palm oil and coconut oil
Having low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol can also raise LDL cholesterol. Unlike LDL, HDL cholesterol is beneficial, and not having enough raises the risk for heart disease.
Things that can contribute to low HDL cholesterol levels include:
- overweight and obesity, particularly when a person has excess weight around their stomach
- insulin resistance
- certain medications, such as beta-blockers, androgens, and progestogens
- some genetic conditions
Bacon is high in cholesterol and saturated fat. While dietary cholesterol may not raise blood cholesterol levels, saturated fat can.
There are also other concerns with eating bacon. It is high in sodium, calorie-dense, and often contains nitrite preservatives. Research has found links between these preservatives and cancer.
People with no health conditions or who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease may wish to enjoy bacon in moderation on occasion. However, anyone who is concerned about their cholesterol levels should consult a doctor or dietitian.