Bacon and ham have been demonized most recently because of the nitrites used to cure them.This has brought about the 'nitrite free'
products you can find at your local health food store. Are they really
healthier? The short answer is no. Nathan S. Bryan, PhD, University of
Texas Houston Biomedical Research Center, pulls no punches when he
states, "This notion of 'nitrite-free' or 'organically cured' meats is a
The truth is these meats
are cured with celery salt and a bacteria starter culture which turns
the nitrates in the celery salt to nitrites.
There is a wide range of how much of the nitrates from the celery salt are converted to nitrites.
But the end result is much more than would be added from a traditional
method of nitrite salt. So even though it's labeled nitrite free it's
loaded with nitrites.
Dr. Bryan says. Yet his biggest concern is
not nitrite content but the possibility of bacterial contamination. "I
think it is probably less healthy than regular cured meats because of
the bacteria load and the unknown efficacy of conversion by the
bacteria," he says.
If you have followed my blog for very
long you know I'm a proponent of bacteria being one of the keys to
enhancing or wrecking your immune system.
In this case you risk wrecking it.
is a prime example of big business taking some highly publicized and
flimsy science at best and then using it to capitalize on a trend.
The following excerpt is from Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, the Naughty Nutritionist™
Bring Home the Bacon
Then why do so many health experts condemn bacon and other cured meats
because of their nitrite content? Well, why do fats and cholesterol
still get a bum rap?
The reason is bad studies and worse publicity, with the latest shoddy
work out of Harvard a prime example. According to Dr. Bryan, the body
of studies show only a "weak association" with evidence that is
"inconclusive." As he and his colleagues wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "This paradigm needs revisiting in the face of undisputed health benefits of nitrite- and nitrate-enriched diets."
So what's the last word on America's favorite meat? Indulge bacon lust
freely, know that the science is catching up, the media lags behind,
and, our ancestors most likely got it right.
My breakfast consists of pasture raised chicken eggs cooked in lard or just four or five raw eggs.
of which have been touted as foods which will give you a heart attack
and raise your cholesterol by many mainstream medical and nutritional
The last time I had blood work done Doc told me my cholesterol was a tiny bit high.
I asked if she was using the numbers that were pushed lower by statin
drug companies just a few weeks before as the "ideal numbers" she
admitted she was using the latest numbers.
If we went by the old numbers my cholesterol was fine.
than go through the entire history of how we have been tricked into
believing that lard, butter, and other animal fats are going to kill you
next week, I would rather point you in the right direction to see what I
have learned over the years and then ask you to consider the factor I
see missing from most research.
How was the animal raised and what was it fed?
I'll get to this in a few but first some links to different articles on lard. Obviously you can Google this on your own but I included a few I found informative or even entertaining.
If you are already convinced lard an other animal fats are good for you, scroll down below the video and resume reading!
Here we go:
Startled by news about the dangers of trans fats, writer Pete Wells happily contemplates the return of good old-fashioned lard.
Lard & schmaltz.
The prime example of fats we all thought were bad for us, lard and
schmaltz (rendered chicken, pork, or goose fat) may have been wrongly
demonized for years. The main fat in lard—oleic acid—is a
monounsaturated fat linked to decreased risk of depression, says Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor of The Happiness Diet
(Rodale, 2010). Those same monounsaturated fats, which make up 45
percent of the fat in lard, are responsible for lowering LDL levels
while leaving HDL ("good") cholesterol levels alone. Lard and schmaltz
also tolerate high cooking temperatures—they're often recommended for
frying—and have long shelf lives.
Dr Mercola - Why I believe over half your diet should be made up of this.
Is there Good and Bad Lard?
think the answer is yes! One glaringly obvious missing piece of data in
all the praise of lard and animal fats is how was the animal raised?
What was it fed?
If you were able to find lard at
your grocery store it is either polluted with preservatives or mixed
with hydrogenated fats...neither of which you want in your lard.
If it passes the test of no additives or mixtures then we must ask the question: What was the animals diet?
has been a good bit of research done on beef to show that cows fed a
strictly grain diet have fats that are less healthy than 100% grass fed
can find no studies on pastured pork v.s. strictly grain fed but it
stands to reason the same would be true. Our hogs are constantly
consuming grass and legumes which should make for better fat.
thing to consider is has the pig been on sub therapeutic antibiotics?
Ask your local grocer these questions and watch the glazed look come
over their eyes.
If you think about it, many toxins accumulate in fat according to experts. If we purposely feed toxins to our swine where does some of it end up? Think antibiotics, chemical wormers, etc.
the other hand, if we feed our hogs good things it should be present in
the fat. Think grass, minerals, omega 3's. I'm only thinking aloud here
as I'm no expert on this. Draw your own conclusions.
Maybe sometime soon I'll tell you how I make my own lard from the fat trimmings from our pigs.
I have several breakfast selections I rotate through depending on what I feel like eating, how much time I have, etc.
This morning I elected to fry my eggs. The bulk of the pastured eggs
I consume are raw. You hear all kinds of things about eating eggs raw
and in another article I'll discuss why I eat raw eggs, but for today
let's look at using pig lard as a ingredient in your everyday cooking.
Like frying eggs.
I dropped about a
half a tablespoon or more lard from our pastured pork into the skillet
and in a couple minutes I was eating two eggs with real cheese and no
bread. I have practically eliminated bread from my diet. Not completely,
as I love whole wheat bread, but it happens to be one of the things
that adds inches to my waistline so I keep my urge to eat a loaf at a
Lard, like most
animal fats, have gotten a bad wrap for many years now. I still marvel
at the effectiveness of the "low fat" advertising mantra. Today there is
so much confusion about fats and oils that many people are sabotaging
their health while believing they are doing the right thing.
In 1956, an American Heart Association (AHA) fund-raiser aired on
all three major networks. The MC interviewed, among others, Irving Page
and Jeremiah Stamler of the AHA, and researcher Ancel Keys. Panelists
presented the lipid hypothesis as the cause of the heart disease
epidemic and launched the Prudent Diet, one in which corn oil,
margarine, chicken and cold cereal replaced butter, lard, beef and eggs.
But the television campaign was not an unqualified success because one
of the panelists, Dr. Dudley White, disputed his colleagues at the AHA.
Dr. White noted that heart disease in the form of myocardial infarction
was nonexistent in 1900 when egg consumption was three times what it was
in 1956 and when corn oil was unavailable. When pressed to support the
Prudent Diet, Dr. White replied: "See here, I began my practice as a
cardiologist in 1921 and I never saw an MI patent until 1928. Back in
the MI free days before 1920, the fats were butter and lard and I think
that we would all benefit from the kind of diet that we had at a time
when no one had ever heard the word corn oil."
So what type of fat is lard?
According to Mary Enig, author of Know Your Fats,
lard is about 40 percent saturated, 50 percent monounsaturated, and
contains 10 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is also one of our
richest dietary sources of vitamin D.
(Research is showing vitamin D to be one of the foundational vitamins to good health.)
Foods containing trans fat sell because the American public is
afraid of the alternative—saturated fats found in tallow, lard, butter,
palm and coconut oil, fats traditionally used for frying and baking. Yet
the scientific literature delineates a number of vital roles for
dietary saturated fats—they enhance the immune system,are necessary for healthy bones,provide
energy and structural integrity to the cells, protect the liverand
enhance the body's use of essential fatty acids. Stearic acid, found in
beef tallow and butter, has cholesterol lowering properties and is a
preferred food for the heart. As saturated fats are stable, they do not
become rancid easily, do not call upon the body's reserves of
antioxidants, do not initiate cancer, do not irritate the artery walls.
We have always used lard here at Spring Hill Farms.
A growing number of customers are requesting it. At this point the best
we can do is give them the actual fat so they can make lard for
It's a simple process and can be done on the stove in smaller amounts.
you would be interested in purchasing lard from us let me know. If the
demand is large enough perhaps we will add it to our products.
You can buy lard at some grocery stores, but it can have hydrogenated lard it, BHT, Propyl Gallate, and Citric Acid.
You can bet the pig it was made from wasn't on pasture and worse yet
probably fed all kinds of things to practically negate the benefits of
Keep your eye out we may have a lard rendering here at the house this fall so you can try some for yourself.
If you're thinking there is no way you are eating animal fats
because they aren't healthy for you. I urge to do some research and see
for yourself. A good place to start is The Oiling of America.