Are you addicted to bacon?

Did you hear that fast-food giant Burger King is jumping on the bacon bandwagon, offering taste testers in Nashville a bacon sundae? Yes, you heard that right. A picture of the dessert surfaced on GrubGrabe showing what appears to be vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate, caramel sauce and bacon bits garnished with an entire strip of bacon. This sundae will join the ranks of other bacon-related products including bacon salt, baconnaise, the bacon shake and chocolate covered bacon, to name just a few.

This news may have excited all the bacon lovers out there, but my first reaction was What are they thinking?! Which got ME thinking: What is it about bacon that seems to have gotten so many people hooked? I grew up thinking bacon was just a side dish at breakfast time, now it’s almost a lifestyle choice. I mean, you can actually buy a bacon coffin equipped with a bacon-scented air freshener inside!

So here’s the deal. There are some facts you need to know about this tasty treat before you sink your teeth into another slice.

1. Bacon is food crack 

We crave bacon because it’s salty and fatty, says Sharecare expert Dr. Mehmet Oz . High-salt, high-fat foods flood your brain with dopamine, which is tied to pleasure, he says. That’s why bacon can “make parts of the brain that recognize rewards light up like a pinball machine,” says Dr. Michael Roizen.  So the secret to bacon’s lure boils down to the salt and fat that taste good on your tongue and make your brain happy.

2. This cure is bad for you

Bacon is preserved (cured) with a chemical called sodium nitrate or with smoke. The bad news, says Dr. Oz: “Nitrates have been linked to stomach cancer and other degenerative diseases.” And bacon preserved with smoke increases exposure to potentially carcinogenic chemicals, says the American Cancer Society.

Bacon is also high in saturated fat, which means eating a lot of it could raise your levels of LDL cholesterol —a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Add the pork product’s high levels of sodium to the mix and you’re also at risk of boosting your blood pressure.

The upshot: If you can’t wait to try that bacon sundae, go ahead and give it a taste. But unless you want to speed your way to that bacon-scented coffin, a little pork-product moderation may be a wise move.

Would you eat a bacon sundae? Let us know. And if you want to shake your bacon cravings and eat healthier, check out our Top 10 Online Nutrition Influencers.

Join the largest health conversation in 140 characters or less! Tweet what you want to talk about to @SharecareNow and let’s start chatting!

File under: In the News


Rachael Anderson

Rachael Anderson is a Content Producer at Sharecare. Before joining the team Rachael spent 5 years at CNN where she produced and edited video and blog content for CNN.com. Favorite exercises: yoga, rock climbing and hiking

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