Unlike traditional bacon, nitrate free bacon is cured without the use of sodium nitrate or nitrites. The nitrates found in cured meats were first used to preserve uncooked meat so that botulism bacteria could not form, but they have since been linked to various cancers and other health concerns.
Rather than rely on sodium nitrite, nitrate free bacon uses a natural source of nitrates. These include green vegetables like celery and radishes, but you'll also find sea salt on the ingredient list.
There are some benefits to eating these vegetables, including a lower risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Nitrates can also help keep the body's blood pressure under control. In addition, they can reduce cholesterol levels.
However, nitrates can also be harmful, especially if you have an underlying health condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes. This is because nitrates can be converted to nitrosamines in your body, which are carcinogenic. Be sure to learn more today!
In some cases, nitrates can cause stomach ulcers or even lead to the death of small animals when eaten in large amounts. This is why some people who are at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes or cancer choose to avoid nitrate cured meats, including bacon.
Bacon, pork ham and other processed meats are often cured with sodium nitrite or potassium nitrate. These compounds are similar to the nitrites in rat poison, and they also give meats a pink color and flavor that is traditionally associated with these foods. Look for more facts about foods at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhIZWhJtY8w.
Although nitrites can be dangerous, they can be used in small amounts. And, in some cases, nitrites are actually a safe way to prevent the growth of botulism bacteria in meat.
Unfortunately, nitrites can also be harmful when they are consumed in large quantities. A diet that includes a lot of processed meats containing nitrites is also linked to a higher risk of certain cancers, such as colon and pancreatic cancer.
Thankfully, there are many ways to get nitrate-free bacon that has all the same great flavors and cured meats as traditional. You just need to know how to look for them.
One method is to search for a label that says "nitrate-free" or "nitrite-free." You can also ask your butcher about nitrate-free meats and see if they have any recommendations for where to buy them.
Another option is to look for nitrate free bacon that contains a specific curing agent, such as celery powder. This can be a good substitute for sodium nitrite, and it will still have all the same great benefits of botulism prevention, a bright pink color and that naughty cured bacon flavor.
You can find nitrate free bacon in your local grocery store, but some may have misleading labeling. They say that they contain "nitrate-free nitrites" or simply "nitrate free nitrites." These claims are not as accurate, and you should avoid these products. Be sure to learn here!
The FDA requires that all nitrate free bacon must be a "natural" product, but the word "natural" can be confusing. Some uncured bacon uses nitrates from celery powder, which isn't considered a natural source of nitrates.