The Bacon Diet

So here I stand at the Collin County Home & Garden show trying to sell vacations to people. Or actually I’m updating my blog and proselytizing my coworkers about my Bacon Diet.  Some of you may know about my recent run-in involving an angry lady who did not appreciate my bacon advice. Yeah, long story. In today’s case, my advice is solicited and welcome by my coworkers who wish to lose weight.

Most of you probably know as well how enthusiastic I am about the Paleo Diet upon which my bacon diet is loosely based. The details matter little. Basically I replaced bread, pasta, rice and potatoes with lettuce and stopped eating so much sugar. I lost between 2 and 4 pounds per week until I dropped from almost 180lbs to my ideal 165. I would probably drop a few more if I stopped drinking beer. But you know.

What is a Bacon Diet?

A bacon-oriented lifestyle is something everyone should consider.  Bacon has been enjoying a renewed popularity lately, being the subject of refrigerator magnets, men’s fashion socks and candle fragrances. The real reason for this is that it is considered ironic to embrace something which is supposed to be so bad for you. What I’ve learned lately is that saturated fat – particularly that found in animal products – is in large part mono-unsaturated. This is the same kind of fat as Olive Oil which is accepted as being “heart-healthy,” a term I’ve come to regard as a buzzword with little or no Nutritional Value. In the case of your oatmeal, “heart-healthy” is a misnomer. How is a big bowl of carbohydrate good for your heart?

Why am I attacking oatmeal?

We are constantly told that “heart-healthy” whole grains are what we need to raise our good high-density cholesterol and lower the bad kind. We are also told that if we want to lose weight we need to cut back on dietary fat and eat more whole grains. I’m not a scientist, but I’ve personally tried to lose weight and reduce my body fat that way and it has never worked.

The Bacon Diet was something I’ve tried to start before , but it always seemed too daunting to cut out so much of the filler that keeps me fed for cheap.  When Jennifer started having blood-sugar issues early in her pregnancy, the Paleo Diet was recommended to her and we started it together.  At the time I was in the midst of a full-time summer school schedule (That’s about 20 hours per week in the classroom, plus homework.)  I had absolutely no time to work out and did not bother.

In spite of my American-style sedentary lifestyle I began losing weight.  Jennifer of course did not lose weight, but her blood sugar problems disappeared and her pregnancy has been healthy and beautiful.  Thanks, bacon!

Do I sound like a testimonial on a pyramid-scheme website? Probably. But it really has worked for me. And I’ll try to explain why it does.

You become fat because you store fat

Gary Taubes, author of “Why we get fat” explains that the reason we become fat is that we store fat. Which sounds redundant until we consider what causes us to store fat rather than burn it for energy.

The reasoning as I understand it is that our muscles and fat normally use their reserved fat supply for energy. When we a consume carbohydrate it breaks down in our blood as glucose, AKA blood sugar. Our blood understands that sugar exists, but doesn’t care much for it. To cleanse our bloodstream of the glucose, the hormone insulin is secreted from your pancreas to warn your cells and organs to stop what they are doing and suck up the blood sugar. Your fat cells absorb the glucose from your blood and store it as more fat in the form of triglycerides. Once the insulin and glucose have cleared from your blood, it is business as usual and your cells and organs continue burning up your fat stores.

What happens in a “heart-healthy” carbohydrate rich diet is that our insulin is perpetually shutting down our fat-burning activity in favor of fat-storing. If we keep chugging down oatmeal, we will keep secreting insulin and keep storing fat. Over time your pancreas will produce more insulin to compensate for this until your cells and organs become resistant to it. When your pancreas can not supply enough insulin to clear your blood of sugar, it is called ‘diabetes.’ You must then supplement your supply by injecting even more insulin directly into your cells.

I’m getting carried away

I’m no scientist, but this is my understanding of carbohydrate restriction as a means of weight loss. Fat storage is only the beginning of the problems elevated glucose can cause. Check out Gary’s book for more detailed information and enough studies and documented evidence to convince even me.

If the Bacon Diet is something that appeals to you, follow my blog as I am planning some recipes and related posts for the near future.
‘Till next time!

Steven Long
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