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back to article Eating a fat bacon sarnie? Have a defibrillator handy

A study has grimly concluded that men who fill their faces with more than 75g of processed meat a day are significantly more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack. This terrifying announcement for hardcore bacon lovers is based on a 1997 examination via questionnaire of the dietary habits of 37,035 chaps from Central Sweden. …

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Pint

You can take my bacon when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

So give it a couple of months...

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Boffin

Re: You can take my bacon when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

Makes me wonder, would someone's size affect how long it takes for their dead hands to go cold?

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Boffin

Re: You can take my bacon when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

Probably not, as the hand would be an exposed appendage with no blood flow (hence dead) to transfer heat from the main mass of the body, however large that may be.

I suppose if someone was large enough to have supersize extra-padded hands, then it may take slightly longer for them to go cold.

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Statistics

The statistics being used to maximum scare effect of course. The study is concerned with isolating the effect of processed meat, hence they quite sensibly and reasonably adjust for all other factors. However in the real world, your processed meat consumption is just one of many factors affecting your chances of cardiovascular disease. So even if you are in the worst category, your real-world heart failure risk increase due to processed meat will not be 2.43 times higher than your bacon-abstainer friends; once you adjust back in all the things they adjusted out in order to obtain their measurement of interest, it will probably be an overall increase of a few percent. If you are healthy, not overweight, do some exercise and don't have a genetic predisposition to cardiovascular problems, then enjoy that fry-up and don't worry.

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Processed?

Is bacon not unprocessed meat? I thought they just sliced it and put it in an impossible to open packet.

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Re: Processed?

Bacon is usually cured either by smoking or soaking in brine. Both methods use large amounts of salt. I am speaking about American-style bacon though, which is very different from what is common in the UK. Without research (i.e., just guessing) I'd assume that the American-style is orders of magnitude higher in sodium, and even typically more fat than meat.

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Silver badge
Pint

re. "fat bacon sarnie"

What about a bacon fat sarnie, grilled to pleasing crispness so it delivers its nectar in little squirts as you slowly crunch it between your teeth. Something so good can't be bad for you, surely?

Beer: To sluice the remaining fragments from between your teeth

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Boffin

There might be a way...

Surely, if you smoother your sarnie with tomato ketchup the lycopenes will protect you?

Sadly, I'm a brown sauce man, myself.

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Silver badge

Reminds me of an article I saw the other day: eat "real" food.

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Silver badge

Yes, yes. The same thing we've heard from any number of self-appointed experts. They fret that we've oversimplified dietary guidelines (Bittman gripes about the unholy trinity of "salt, fat, and sugar"), and then explain that all our problems (Bittman: "Want to balance the budget? Eat real food") can be solved if we only follow a different gross oversimplification.1

Eating "real food" is not, by and large2, going to solve the "obesity epidemic". For one thing, it doesn't exist.3 Obesity and related health issues are widespread in developed countries, and perhaps (so some claim) in the US most of all. But they're not all caused by diet, and even in individual cases it's quite likely that none of them are solely due to diet.

I know a number of people who eat highly varied diets with little processed food and an emphasis on green vegetables and whole grains. I'm one myself (though I admit I do it because I like all sorts of food, not for my health, to which I pay only brief and grudging attention). Some of us - like me - are embarrassingly healthy, with numbers (blood pressure, blood sugar, serum cholesterol, BMI4) comfortably in the approved range and no chronic health conditions. Others are overweight, have insulin-resistant diabetes, etc. Same diet (and similar exercise profiles), radically different results.

Singling out diet as a silver bullet to cure all our ills is magical thinking. I strongly suspect that genetic traits (including gene expression) and environmental factors (some of which of course influence gene expression) are, for many if not a majority of the overweight, more of a factor than diet. I could eat a box of doughnuts every day and not gain weight - I've been the same weight within about five pounds for about a quarter-century. That's certainly not true of everyone.

1"I've been disappointed by get-rich-quick schemes before, but this is one scheme that's sure to make me rich! And quickly!" -- Homer Simpson

2Heh.

3As any number of people have pointed out.

4Of course BMI is rubbish, but in any event we're not overweight. I haven't had my body fat percentage measured, but I know it's not high, based on my total weight and muscle mass.

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WTF?

Frightening

Starting the hogs on their preservative-infused journey to a sarnie:

http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2014/06/bacon-preservative-tested-feral-hog-poison

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