How Much Bacon Can I Eat? (And Other Burning Diet Questions)
If you've ever wondered if a little bacon in your diet is okay, or whether juicing really holds the key to weight loss, you're not alone. The following are nutrition and diet questions I get asked frequently and my answers:
- How much bacon can I eat and still be healthy?
It depends on the source you ask (Adkins Diet versus the American Heart Association for example!), but here's my recommendation: Limit processed fatty meats like bacon (1–2 slices) and sausage (1–2 links or patties) to once or twice per week as long as the rest of your meat intake consists mostly of lean meats.
- Should I eat chia seeds, hemp seeds, or flax seeds?
All of these have a good amount of fiber, protein, and healthy omega-3 fats and are great additions to yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods like pancakes and muffins. But the next question is: what does the rest of your diet look like?
- What type of oil is best for cooking?
It depends on the type of cooking. For higher heat cooking, like barbequing or high-heat roasting in the oven, using an oil with a higher smoke point like grapeseed or coconut oil is best. For lower temperature cooking like pan sautéing or baking, as well as sauces and vinaigrettes, olive oil is great.
- Should I be juicing?
Nope, not unless there's a medical need for it such as a digestive issue requiring low-fiber intake. You're much better off blending the whole fruit and vegetable in order to reap the entire nutritional package rather than just extracting the juice. Juicing holds no magical detoxing or weight loss powers. Sure, you might feel better replacing a morning donut or breakfast pastry with homemade apple, beet, and celery juice, but this still isn't the best option. Go with a whole fruit and vegetable smoothie if you prefer to drink your breakfast.
- Sometimes I eat a late dinner (after 7pm). Could this prevent me from losing weight?
The simple answer: No. The more complex answer requiring further explanation: yes, potentially. If you go a long time between lunch and dinner (6+ hours), you may be so ravenous come dinner time you overeat, putting you over your calorie needs for the day. This sets you up for weigh loss failure. It could also potentially slow down your metabolism, but simply eating your normal dinner later doesn't equate to automatic weight gain. To ensure you don't gorge in the late evening, especially if you eat at noon, have a mid or late-afternoon snack with protein, a little fat, and fiber such as nuts and fruit, beef jerky and carrots, or string cheese and raw veggies.
If you didn't notice the reoccurring theme to many of the answers above, it all depends on what your entire diet and lifestyle are. There are very few simple black and white answers to nutrition and diet questions. Most of my answers to any question I get asked starts with, "It depends." Remember this as you read blog and magazine headlines that oversimplify or glorify nutrition.