It may be the nation’s favourite food, but thanks to its sodium content, if you’ve already had a bacon buttie for breakfast this morning, you may want to think twice about having anything at all salty again today.
The levels of salt in bacon have caused campaign group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) to suggest the food should come with a health warning.
Research by the group revealed that just two rashers of bacon can contain half your recommended daily allowance of 6g (just over a teaspoon) of salt. It found that bacon is now the second biggest contributor of salt to Brits’ diets, after bread.
[Related article: The best bacon recipes]
CASH also found that there were huge differences in the amount of salt in bacon from different supermarkets and between individual ranges.
Tesco’s Everyday Value unsmoked rind-on middle bacon was found to contain one of the highest levels of salt - 5.3g of salt per two grilled rashers. And Sainsbury’s had double the amount of salt in its Taste the Difference unsmoked Wiltshire outdoor bred bacon (5.58g per 100g) compared to its reduced salt bacon (2.95g per 100g).
Now CASH is calling on the government to put pressure on bacon manufacturers.
"As bacon is now such a big contributor of salt to our diet it is vital that the Department of Health ensures that manufacturers reduce the salt in these incredibly salty bacon products immediately,” said Graham MacGregor, CASH chairman and professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute.
[Related article: Watch your salt intake]
It also found that there was no standard labelling on bacon, with some supermarkets opting for traffic light style labels, with others having no information at all.
If companies provided portion information on packaging, customers would know how much bacon (and salt) they were consuming - which it says could save lives.
"For every one gram reduction in salt intake we can prevent 12,000 heart attacks, strokes and heart failure, half of which would have been fatal,” said Mr MacGregor.
[Related article: Supermarket ‘luxury’ ranges contain twice as much fat, salt and sugar]
Suddenly we’re thinking twice about cooking that chicken and bacon pasta bake for dinner tonight…
Will you be cutting down on your bacon intake?