Although they can be included – in moderation – in healthy meal plans, bacon and eggs can increase your risk for high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and heart disease when eaten in excess. The good news is that if you’re a bacon and egg lover, you can modify your bacon-and-egg breakfast to make it more heart-healthy.
Two large eggs and three slices of reduced-sodium bacon contain about 462 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, and this is a reasonable amount for a breakfast. However, if you increase the portion size of your bacon-and-egg breakfast and overindulge in calories for lunch and dinner as well, you may have a difficult time maintaining a healthy body weight.
Eating bacon and eggs together for breakfast provides you with an excellent high-quality, complete source of dietary protein – and eggs are a good source of vitamin A. The USDA reports that eating two large eggs with three slices of bacon provide about 22 grams of dietary protein. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for protein is 46 grams for women, 56 grams for men and 71 grams daily during pregnancy and breastfeeding, reports that Institute of Medicine.
Consuming eggs and bacon regularly, however, can increase your heart-disease risks. Eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, and bacon is packed with sodium and saturated fat. Even reduced-sodium bacon contains 122 milligrams of sodium per slice, according to the USDA. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends limiting your dietary sodium intake to 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams daily, depending on your age, race and heart-disease risk factors. MedlinePlus suggests limiting eggs to four per week because of their high dietary cholesterol content.
You do have options if you want to eat bacon and eggs on a regular basis. Eliminate the yolk, which is the part of the egg that is rich in dietary cholesterol -- and, unfortunately, also high in vitamin A and dietary iron. Choose reduced-sodium turkey bacon, which is lower in saturated fat and sodium than regular bacon. Or experiment with meatless bacon -- made using plant-based proteins -- that contains just 16 calories per slice, is low in saturated fat and is cholesterol-free, according to the USDA.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Bacon, Pre-Sliced, Reduced/Low Sodium, Unprepared
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients
- MedlinePlus: Protein in Diet
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Bacon, Meatless