Chemical reaction that explains the appeal of the bacon sandwich

A complex chemical interaction in the meat is what produces the winning combination of taste and smell in a bacon buttie, according to an expert.

The reaction between amino acids in the bacon and reducing sugars in the fat is what provides the simple snack with its appeal, according to Elin Roberts, science communications manager at the Centre for Life education centre in Newcastle.

She explained that the chemical changes that take place when the bacon is heated are more important than other variables such as brown sauce distribution or toaster settings.

At the centre of it all is the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar which often requires heat. The acid and sugar react to release a huge amount of smells and flavours.

Ms Roberts said:: “The smell of sizzling bacon in a pan is enough to tempt even the staunchest of vegetarians. There’s something deeper going on inside. It’s not just the idea of a tasty snack. There is some complex chemistry going on.

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