Bacon is one food that is surprisingly and obscurely healthy.
American breakfast staple—bacon and eggs.
It’s also part of a diet of the world’s oldest person, Susannah Mushatt Jones 116 years of age, who eats bacon and eggs every day.
Susannah is healthy enough that she only needs a doctor’s visit just 3 times a year, and she is not bed-bound like many elderlies her age.
I too have been eating bacon and eggs for as long I can remember and have the perfect cholesterol score. I’m at my healthiest.
Hopefully, this will kill the myth that bacon and eggs breakfast increases cholesterol levels.
Bacon is incredibly nutritious and provides many high-quality nutrients like protein, especially when it’s cooked in the oven.
It’s not only a great protein food but also a rich source of selenium, an essential nutrient that plays a key role in our metabolism and thyroid.
In fact, bacon nutrition facts have it that every 100 grams of cooked bacon has:
- 37 grams of protein
- 19-22% of the RDA for vitamin B-6 and B-12
- 7% of the RDA for iron
- 89% of the RDA for Selenium
But the sad truth is, most people don’t get to enjoy these nutritional benefits.
When they eat bacon, they are not just eating bacon. They are most likely consuming something that’s much closer to a trans fat infused calorie bomb.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
The good news is, there is a better way—a healthier (and easier) way to cook bacon, so you can enjoy all bacon has to offer, guilt-free.
With baked bacon, you not only get to enjoy bacon’s nutritional benefits but also minimize the health hazards bacon is most known and feared for.
Before we get to the juice of how bacon preparation makes a night and day difference in its nutrition, let’s get to the meat of this post: How to cook bacon in Oven— the healthier way of making crispy delicious bacon.
It’s done in 3 simple steps.
How to Cook Bacon in Oven
Here’s what you need.
- Aluminum foil
- Baking sheet(s)
- Baking rack(s)
- Paper towels
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Place alumni foil over a baking sheet and set a metal rack on top of it.
Step 2: Arrange the raw bacon over the rack in a single layer. The bacon can be next to each other, but don’t let them overlap.
Step 3: Bake the bacon in the oven until it is crispy and golden-brown. The baking time can depend on the thickness of your bacon, but generally, it’s about 15-20 minutes. To prevent burning, start checking your bacon after 10 minutes in 2-minute increments. When it’s done, transfer the bacon to a kitchen paper-lined plate to drain the unnecessary bacon grease and serve.
Enjoy with ease!
This incredibly simple way of cooking bacon not only saves you time and effort but also saves you from unwanted health complications associated with the consumption of conventional unhealthy fried bacon.
Most fried bacon (pan-fried or fryer-fried) can be dangerously unhealthy.
And it’s not because of the saturated fat and cholesterol you find in a bacon, but it is because of how bacon is prepared.
The chances are, much of the bacon you eat is fried.
This is because frying is the most convenient way of cooking bacon.
And most likely, a majority of restaurants and fast-food chains cook bacon this way.
And worse, they use trans fat, the fat Harvard calls the worst fat for the heart, blood vessels, and rest of the body to cook that bacon.
If you think cholesterol in bacon is bad, I assure you, this is far worse.
This mostly man-made fat made of vegetable oil (often disguised as a healthy oil) is basically a cheap oil many fast-food chains and food makers love to use, but our bodies hate to process.
This fat is an artificial oil, made to be more solid by adding hydrogen to make it easier to transport, last longer and less expensive to produce.
For food vendors, it’s even more attractive that they can reuse the oils multiple times in commercial fryers.
Not only that, they are known to give foods a more desirable taste and texture, making them more pleasing to people’s taste palettes.
With these undeniable gains and benefits of using trans fat for food makers, it’s certainly no surprise many are using this worst kind of fat generously in their food manufacturing process.
Sadly enough bacon is no exception.
So how unhealthy are trans fats, you may ask
Well, it’s bad enough that California, NYC, Baltimore, and Montogomery County MD would restrict its use, according to the American Heart Association.
Just to highlight how dangerous and unhealthy trans fats really are, here are some of the health damages they are known to cause:
- Raise (“bad”) LDL cholesterol in the blood. This LDL blood cholesterol elevation has shown a significant increase in cardiovascular disease risks, according to FDA.gov.
- Increase the risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Claude Bouchard, Ph.D. explains “a high intake of saturated fats and trans fats promote insulin resistance”, a pre-diabetic condition.
- Heightens the risk of coronary heart diseases.
- Leads to weight gain, even on the same total calories, states Wakes Forest Baptist Medical Center citing animal studies.
- Expands waistline and increases belly fat. According to Lawrence L. Rudel, Ph.D., “Diets rich in trans fat cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen even when the total dietary calories are controlled.”
For breastfeeding mothers, it’s also alarming that trans harm can pass to infants in breast milk, according to some studies.
By cutting trans fats from the food supply, The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Willett and his colleagues estimate we can prevent 72,000 to 228,000 heart attacks each year.
If you are trying to lose weight, eating bacon fried in oil is not something that’s going to help the needle move either.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, caloric differences between baked foods and its fried counterparts can be as great as 77-109%.
When you can cook delicious, crispy bacon without the extra 77% of calories, why would you cook it any other way? That’s right. You wouldn’t.
Baked bacon is a far superior way of cooking bacon.
It is not only free of trans fats, but it also works to reduce the amount of bacon fat by greasing off.
Before ending this post, I’d like to also touch on the cholesterol in bacon, since it’s also a hot, debatable topic.
It is true that bacon contains saturated fats and cholesterol.
And everyone from WebMD to Huffington Post once raised a red on saturated fat and cholesterol-containing foods such as bacon.
But apparently, they are not as harmful as we are lead to believe.
Here is why.
Saturated fat and cholesterol as you know were most often called dietary villains, responsible for raising the cholesterol levels, potentially causing cancer, and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
For bacon containing 50% monounsaturated fat and 40% saturated fat with a good amount of cholesterol, it was sure sign bacon was unhealthy.
But this old dietary belief was apparently due to some bad science, or what Harvard called ‘guesswork’.
According to Harvard Medical School, in the past, medical and health professionals saw associations between dietary cholesterol and artery-clogging plaques that are made mostly from cholesterol.
They sort of connected those dots between the high levels of cholesterol in the blood and dietary cholesterol, but there was never any data showed people who ate more eggs (high cholesterol food) had a higher risk of heart attacks.”, explains Willett, Fredrick John State Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard.
This new perspective on dietary cholesterol is also evidence in the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
In their report, Dr. Nissen states, “High cholesterol is a metabolic condition that can only be moderately influenced by diet.”
In fact, dietary cholesterol only accounts for 15 to 20 percent of the blood cholesterol, since most is produced by the liver.
This changing view is also reflected in the new government-issued dietary guideline of 2015 and assures the public that there is no actual relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum (blood) cholesterol.
This surely is a huge relief for all bacon lovers.
But does this mean, you can eat baked bacon all you want?
Probably not. Although small, still there is a link between dietary and blood cholesterol.
That’s why it’s best to cook bacon in a way that minimizes saturated fat and cholesterol.
Cooking bacon in the oven is a start, but you can also take it one step further by putting bacon slices on a rack, so grease can drop. When done, cool them on top of a kitchen towel, so that it takes the excess fat off the bacon.
These little steps in the preparation of bacon can ensure the bacon you eat is as healthy as can be.
Let’s also not forget that cooking bacon in the oven is mess-free and splatter-free. An awesome win for people like me who like the lazy approach to cooking!
I hope next time you have breakfast, you can truly enjoy your bacon, the backed bacon, guilt-free.