Who doesn’t love bacon? If you’re like us and you think it deserves a spot on all of your spreads, read on. We’ve collated the top 28 ways to serve your bacon needs and turn that protein into muscle.
1. Salt-cured meat such as bacon has benefits beyond its mouth-watering taste. Eaten after a workout, its sodium helps to draw extra fluids into your muscles to add size and aid repair, according to a report in Nutrition Journal.
Few combos are as effective as the 2:1 carbs-to-protein delivery system that is the bacon sanger. First, the cut . . .
A large, lean medallion with a fatty strip on the side. With 10g of protein per rasher, two pieces give you 25 per cent of your RDI of the holy macro.
For the porcine purist. The application of smoke further preserves the meat and gives it a stronger flavour. Concentrations of chemicals linked to cancer are up to three times lower in the liquid smoke used in modern bacon-making facilities. So, for once, going big brand is best for you.
Yes it’s ‘streaked’ with fat, but half of that is monounsaturated, which the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found drops blood pressure for a biceps-bulking fix.
Unsmoked (“green”) bacon has a milder flavour, more akin to ham, so it’s preferable if you’re the sort who stuffs myriad ingredients on top.
The most chewed-over debate in the bread world concerns which loaf is best. Artisan sourdoughs aside, you have two options . . .
If you like your protein ’twixt slices of white, rejoice. The journal Cell Metabolism found “no notable glycaemic variance” between white and wholemeal. Both will dish out enough lasting energy to keep your training sessions mighty.
Where brown wins is in fibre content. Wholemeal bread is one of the best sources of the fibre you need to digest the macro- and micronutrients in your bacon. In any case, Yakult does not a nice sanger make.
On the Sauce
Beyond butter, the condiment spectrum can supply a slathering of additional muscle-building science.
Mayonnaise is the unselfish clubman of the sauce aisle, seeking not to overpower but to enhance by unlocking the fat-soluble vitamins of everything it touches. (International Journal of Nutrition and Food Science). And, let’s not forget, it’s delicious.
UK favourite HP is a potent source of magnesium, the “essential mineral involved in energy metabolism and muscle actions” (Nutrients). Handy.
Training hard? Illness looms. High in vitamin C, tomato sauce also layers vitamin A onto your bacon for a healthier immune system (Annual Review of Food Science and Technology).
Mustard’s good for 21 per cent of your RDA of selenium, an antioxidant that smokes out DOMS-causing free radicals (Journal of the American College of Nutrition).
Wrapped with Love
Bacon is a hardy fellow, so wrapping other foods in a piggy coat protects them, while bringing a dose of salty, umami goodness to the party.
Take some sausages: cocktail, Cumberland, chorizo, any kind. Wrap bacon around them. Bake, hunkered down and peering into the oven, until done – no added fat needed. Eat with your fingers.
13. In genuine bacon emergencies, microwaving is permitted.
Drape your rashers over an upturned bowl and cover them in plenty of kitchen roll, then nuke for 60 seconds per rasher for a short cut to crispiness.
The healthiest surf and turf going. Adorn the salmon fillet with a jacket of two pieces of bacon, then bake for 15-20 minutes. Flaky fish + crispy bacon = smug grin.
Cut a slit into a chicken breast, stuff it with cream cheese and wrap in streaky bacon. Roast for 30 minutes. Apply to face post-gym.
Slice a cross on the top of each fig, pinch, season, fry for one minute, then bake for six. Fry the bacon, then wrap it around the hot, fibre-rich figs.
Oil and season your spears on foil. Slice streaky bacon down the middle, coil around each spear, then grill for five minutes. Serve with poached eggs for a low-carb brekky
Make Yours a Double
Adding other ingredients can multiply a bacon sanger’s impact on your strength goals. This is how to stack up the benefits.
A thick slice of good ol’ lycopene provides plenty of antioxidants to clear away lactic acid, boost your immunity and generally make you a fitter, stronger person.
Another study in Nutrients states that consuming casein (dairy) protein before bed supports strength gains overnight. Bacon and cheese beat a lumpy shake, right?.
It’s rich in folic acid and vitamin B6, both of which support healthy testosterone levels for a higher metabolism and increased muscle growth. Just don’t Instagram it.
In a study published in Nutrients, regular egg consumers had almost double the usual intake of choline, a compound that supports muscular function and growth.
All in the Heating
How you cook it can change the nutritional and flavour profiles of the rashers you’re scoffing. Luckily, there are cheats.
You and George Foreman know that grilling allows excess fat to drain away. This means fewer kilojoules per rasher but just as much coenzyme Q1 – found by Kyoto University to double your metabolism when eaten before a walk.
Fat – and we will repeat this – has flavour. So, a heavy pan is the place to create amazing bacon. If the frying pan fills with water, your rashers will be poached and flaccid. Pour off the liquid, pat both pan and bacon dry, and add oil before reheating it.
24. Bacon makes you happy. Scientifically so. One rasher contains 20 per cent of your RDI of niacin, a compound that, a University of Maryland study says, can soothe depression and anxiety. Joyful news.
The Secret Ingredient
Whether sliced or chopped, bacon upgrades a host of dishes. To finish, allow us to sate your every musclebuilding desire. Eat up.
Best for: Energy. Cutting carbs is so 2016. Instead, contemporary science suggests timing them before or after training to keep muscle glycogen well stocked, and to sidestep soreness. Also, bacon. Try it in: Carbonara; spag bol; any pasta, really.
Best for: Definition. Low in kilojoules but nutrient dense, bacon-filled soup suits the man looking to address his kJ deficit and lose the fat hiding his gains. Try it in: Potato soup; pea soup; any other soup.
Best for: Rest days. Tweaking your macros to keep your protein high but kJs low lets you recover without blowing yesterday’s work. Try it in: Caesar; Niçoise; any salad.