The Channel 4 series Food Unwrapped aims to explore the secrets behind some of our favourite foods.

During last nights episode (Tuesday, April 16th) Dr Helen Lawal took an in-depth look at bacon and explored the concerns surrounding one of nation’s favourite meats.

But what did Dr Lawal discover about bacon? And how much of a risk can it be to human health? Here’s everything you need to know.

Dr Helen Lawal
Dr Helen Lawal

What did Dr Helen Lawal discover about bacon?

During the episode, Dr Lawal looked into previous reports which suggested that bacon can be extremely unhealthy.

These reports claim that the vast majority of bacon contain cancer-causing chemicals.

And some studies appear to specifically link bacon to breast cancer.

Food Unwrapped
Food Unwrapped

How is bacon harmful to our health?

Dr Lawal travelled to the Institue of Global Food Security in Belfast to meet with Professor Chris Elliot.

Dr Elliot is an expert when it comes to the risks of bacon, and claims that harmful chemicals found in most bacon can lead to diseases such as cancer.

He hopes to ban the use of chemicals known as nitrates being used within processed meats.

Dr Chris Elliot
Dr Chris Elliot

What are Nitrates?

Nitrates are a chemical used within bacon to ensure bacteria doesn’t grow and to make sure that bacon keeps a pink colour instead of turning brown.

Nitrates can convert to another chemical called nitrosamines, which are directly linked to cancer.

Cooking bacon can cause nitrates to convert into nitrosamines, as can the acid in our stomach. The nitrosamine can then combine to our DNA  and cause some forms of cancer.

Food Unwrapped
Food Unwrapped

Is bacon safe?

Dr Chris Elliot believes that in order for bacon to be safe, the harmful chemicals must be removed from the processed meat.

However, the European Food Safety Authority recently reassessed levels in processed meat.

They found that the risk of bacon containing these chemicals was a low concern for human health.

Food Unwraped
Food Unwrapped

How can I watch Food Unwrapped?

Food Unwrapped currently airs on Tuesdays at 8 pm on Channel 4.

The series is hosted by Kate Quilton, Matt Tebbutt, Jimmy Doherty, and Dr Helen Lawal.

You can catch up with the series on All 4.


Related Topics

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know