Racing pigs have long been a popular feature at State Fair Park, but human athletes will be the ones oinking in a first-of-its kind Race for the Bacon on Thursday night.
Chris Ponteri created the 5K and 10K races to salute a food regaining favor among those focused on fitness. Forget bananas and orange slices at the finish, the spread will be a bacon bash: BLT sliders, peanut butter and bacon coquettes, jalapeno mac and cheese with crispy bacon, and more.
The salty, meaty pork treats aren’t exactly “health food” Ponteri admits. They also aren’t fattening diet killers to be avoided.
Amber Budahn, the fitness and nutrition expert from Wild Workouts and Wellness, gives the pork a stamp of diet approval.
“As we end an era of fat phobia, it’s great to see a race dedicated to bacon. A food, shunned for many years by “healthy” eaters, bacon can now be eaten with full pleasure and enjoyment.
The low fat diet craze put bacon on the back burner hoping to help people lose weight. But all low fat diets have done is left us hungry and hormonally out of balance. With the emerging popularity of wild, paleo or traditional diets, we are seeing more research coming out on the importance of fat in our diets and the danger of too many carbohydrates, especially grains and legumes.
Fat does not make you fat. It keeps you full. Fat sends a message of satiety to our hypothalamus, where hunger is sensed. When we get this message, we feel full and satisfied and no longer having the urge to keep eating.
Fat keeps our blood sugar levels stable avoiding rising levels of insulin. This is important because we don’t want large fluctuations in insulin levels. When we have high levels of insulin and low levels of glucagon, we become fat-storing machines.
But what about the saturated fat? Don’t worry, fat is not the enemy. The fat in bacon is 50% monounsaturated fat, the same fat in olive oil. To learn more about fats, read Mary G. Enigs book “Know Your Fats”.
Maybe you’re getting a bit excited about bacon. Well, hold your horses. I’m not saying eat a whole plate of bacon. (Well at least not every day.) We need balance in our nutrition between fats, proteins and carbohydrates. But a piece or two of bacon a day won’t hurt you. It actually will help you feel fuller and more energetic until your next meal.
But, you need to consider where your bacon is from. When purchasing bacon, make sure to buy from sources that treat their animals kindly and allow them to be pasture fed. Because we are not just what we eat, we’re what we eat eats.
Race details: If you’re still feeling pangs of pork-fueled guilt, consider that proceeds from the Race for the Bacon will be shared with MSRuntheUS, the running charity that raises money to fund research into Multiple Sclerosis.
Entry fees at $40 for the 5K and $45 for the 10K. Registration opens at 5 p.m. at the start/finish area near the Cousins Sub Amphitheater.