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International Bacon Day wins for weight loss on Paleo and low carb diets

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Sniff. What's that scrumptious smell? It's bacon, wafting from the homes of millions celebrating National Bacon Day, which occurs the first Saturday before Labor Day, reported Penn Live on Aug. 30. Also known as International Bacon Day, it's a day to rejoice in the latest research, which shows that bacon ranks as a weight loss winner for those on low carb diets.

Contrary to popular belief, National Bacon Day did not originate with Dr. Robert Atkins. Although his high fat low carb diet invites followers to nosh on the crisply fried fantasy, Dr. Atkins merely provided the guidance for using bacon as a weight loss tool. It was a group of graduate students hungry for an excuse to binge on bacon who created the celebration.

But does bacon actually help with weight loss and health? Researchers have found that as we grow older, our bodies need extra protein to maintain muscle mass, reported the Trib Live on Aug. 29.

By maintaining muscle mass as you lose fat, you can boost your weight loss. But researchers at Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University caution that after age 45, your muscle mass starts to decrease. They connect that loss a lack of protein and exercise.

Depending on the brand of bacon that you choose, one strip has just 40 to 50 calories and three to four grams of protein. And for those on Paleo low carb diets: Bacon does qualify as caveman cuisine. Well, sort of.

The keys to eating your bacon for weight loss and health: Look for varieties that are cured without added sugar or nitrates. Examples include Pete's Paleo Bacon and Pederson's Natural Farms.

Bacon also is allowed on the low carb high fat Atkins diet and other ketogenic diets. With those plans, you'll also need to check the label to make sure it does not include sugar, which could interfere with nutritional ketosis.

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