Is Americans’ love affair with this food costing them?

Is Americans’ love affair with this food costing them?

Whether it’s on a cheeseburger, with morning eggs or part of a savory dessert, the U.S. loves its bacon. But Americans’ love affair with bacon could be costing them when it comes to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

A new study looked at 10 dietary factors and their relationship with mortality due to heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. They found that the largest number of estimated diet-related deaths were connected to overeating or not eating enough of nutrients studied. Particularly, deaths were connected to high sodium intake, low nut/seed intake and high intake of processed meats.

The other factors studied by Renata Micha, RD, PhD and her team were fruits, vegetables, whole grains, unprocessed read meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, polyunsaturated fats, and seafood omega-3 fats.

Bacon and other processed meats often have high sodium content, and too much sodium can cause extra burden on the heart and blood vessels, according to the American Heart Association.

Conversely, the positive effects of healthy fats found in nuts can provide a number of health benefits.

Dr. Dory Jarzabkowski, cardiologist with Advocate Heart Institute at BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., advocates including certain nuts and seeds in your diet, as they are considered superfoods. “Walnuts [contain] omega-3, fiber, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, plant sterols and more. Also included in this group are almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts…there are lots and lots of options.”

According to Dr. Jarzabkowski, nuts can help reduce coronary artery disease, the vitamin E in them can protect against Alzheimer’s and they can also help protect your body from adult-onset diabetes.

So remember, think twice about adding bacon to your meal or snack and instead, reach for the nuts.

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About the Author

Lynn Hutley
Lynn Hutley

Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.