eating bacon to live longer

bacon - sea of baconI just heard about a 105-year-old woman in Texas who says her secret is that she eats bacon every day.  I don’t know if that will stand up to medical scrutiny, but it’s worth something.

The article reveals her bacon “secret”, which should be enough for the whole article.  But then it talks about her birthday party, which featured over 200 guests, which is okay, I guess.  But then it goes into explaining why bacon has gotten a bad rap lately.  It’s somewhat ironic, given the subject of the article.  Apparently some research study linked processed meat to a premature death.  But check out their results — they claim that eating less than 20g per day (which is 0.7 ounces) could prevent an estimated 3% of premature deaths each year.  So if you eat only a bite or two of meat per day, you have a 3% chance of living longer.  For people who follow that advice, I wonder what the odds are on premature death due to not enjoying life as much…  (To each their own, but that advice wouldn’t work for me.)

The article then references another study saying that even a single serving of processed red meat increased the risk of participants dying by 20%.  I may not be a statistician, but I figure the risk of dying is 100%.  🙂  You can eat all the plants you want, but it is appointed for everyone to meet their Maker at some point.

Obviously bacon is somewhat unhealthy — not completely, but in some ways.  However, if a single serving of bacon (or any red meat) increases your risk of dying by 20%, and this woman has eaten bacon every day for 105 years so far (which could be up to 38,000 times), what would her risk of dying be?  I’d like to see one of those researchers calculate it and go tell her.  Maybe she’s like one of those cartoon characters who is invulnerable to the laws of physics because they don’t understand it.  🙂  Either way, whatever she’s doing has worked for her.

This breakfast platter from Tony's I-75 restaurant in Birch Run, MI, has 1 pound of bacon.
This breakfast platter from Tony’s I-75 restaurant in Birch Run, MI, has 1 pound of bacon.

I’m not claiming that all this research is bogus, but I think there’s a LOT more to it than just saying eating meat will kill you early.  I’ve known quite a few people — including my grandparents — who ate big country meals all the time (which included lots of butter, gravy, and fried foods), yet lived to be 90+ and still had above-average health.  I know that’s a small sample, but when you consider how Americans used to eat versus what we now “know” about nutrition, it’s amazing any of them lived past 25.  I’m not saying fattening foods are healthy, but I do wonder if natural / organic fattening foods might be healthier than much of the modern stuff with preservatives and additives and chemicals.  I can’t prove it, and I’m not convinced either way yet, but I do think there’s a lot more to nutrition and healthiness than we currently know.

Regardless of whether bacon is good for me or not, I’m now hungry for bacon…

Is it fun to be fat?

Apparently some people really enjoy being fat.  There are a number of bloggers who call themselves “gainers” and document their quest to get fatter.  One blogger named Peter is 5’8″ and 250 pounds, and he is trying to gain more weight.  He has said:

“I love how my weight feels when I run, falling and shaking my body shortly after each step… The only thing I love more than being fat, is getting fatter.”

Uhh… He has also explained that “it feels natural to be fat”.  I don’t know about that, but I have experienced weight gain myself, and it was all natural.  I didn’t have to take any supplements or follow any special non-workout routines.  It just happened.

Peter has also said:

“I talk with many men who are much larger than I am, about their bodies and why they grew so large. They talk about the satisfaction of being full like some people talk about how good they feel after a hard workout or something. Being fat is just what makes them happy.”

Here’s where I think he’s confused (among other things) — I can understand the satisfaction of being full.  When I demolish a pizza buffet and then sit around talking with my friends, it feels good.  That feeling does make you happy.  But being fat doesn’t make me happy.  That’s the difference.  I’m slightly overweight because I love to eat, but I don’t like being fat.  I enjoy playing sports, and hiking, and being able to go places that require walking, without being out of breath all the time.

It’s possible to eat a lot and not be fat, if you maintain a high metabolism.  Then you get to enjoy eating AND enjoy physical activities.  I realize some people may not care about physical activities, so being in good health may not matter so much to them.   But when people get to the point that they get out of breath from tying their shoes, I don’t see how that’s enjoyable.  And then there’s the added health issues of being obese, which aren’t fun at all.

So my conclusion (not that you asked, but you’re still reading), is that it’s not fun to be fat.   But it is very enjoyable to eat, as evidenced by the numerous food conversations we have had here on this blog, particularly our Buffet o’ Bacon series.

being fat burns calories

In our recent post on how exercising may not make you thin, the (self-proclaimed) “Important Doctor” mentioned that muscles burn calories even while you’re not working out, including while you sleep.  And that’s true.  But there’s a lesser known fact that goes along with this — fat also burns calories while resting.  I’m not making this up!  Check it out:

The muscle-fat relationship is often misunderstood. According to calculations published in the journal Obesity Research by a Columbia University team in 2001, a pound of muscle burns approximately six calories a day in a resting body, compared with the two calories that a pound of fat burns.

So while muscles will burn more calories than fat, at least fat does burn some calories, even while resting.  So if you apply some basic arithmetic principles, you can deduce that the more fat you have, the more calories you are burning while resting.   You heard it here first!

easy cure for gas

Someone forwarded me an e-mail from “Everyday Health”, talking about Digestive Health.   This particular e-mail was called “Easy Cure for Gas”.  (I don’t know why this was sent to me…)   It was written by Dr. Eugene Filiburton of the Massachusetts Institute of Gastrointestinal Disorders and Research Center, Inc.

Troubled by gas pain and bloating?  Try this simple exercise that can be discretely done in your home or office space – even your cube.

Simply lie on your back, knees bent, and press in on your abdomen while exhaling.  For particularly stubborn gas bubbles, it can be helpful to lift your hips with your legs – with your knees still bent – and bounce up and down on your buttocks.   Alternate this bouncing with rolling on your side – first one side, then the other, until you expel significant amounts of gas.

It is important not to clinch your buttocks while doing this exercise as it can precipitate bowel leakage of fluids and fecal matter and, or be very noisy.

If you’re doing this in your cubicle at work, you’d better hope co-workers don’t walk by while you’re lying in the floor and bouncing your butt around.  That doesn’t seem discrete to me.   I reckon you could say you’re doing push-ups or crunches, but they may not believe that.  Plus there’s the issue of potential odor.  You probably don’t want repugnant odors emanating from your cubicle.

If you’re at home, you can just let it rip, instead of doing some exercise to pass gas.

It seems odd to me that clinching your buttocks while doing that bouncing around could lead to leakage.  It seems like clinching would help prevent leakage.   But I don’t know, because I haven’t researched this, nor do I plan to.  If anyone wants to try it and let me know how it works out for them, please leave a comment.

Anyway, now you know how to easily and discretely pass gas, and knowing is half the battle.