How Much Sugar is Actually in Bacon?

Bacon is one of those foods that seems like it should be simple – just pork, salt, smoke, and sizzle. But is there more hiding in that crispy, salty, smoky flavor than meets the eye? In particular, many wonder: how much sugar is there really in bacon?

The short answer is it depends. Traditional bacon made purely from cured pork belly contains no inherent sugars. However many mass-produced commercial bacons add sugar during processing and curing. Let’s explore why sugar gets added how much typically gets used, and what it means for your health.

Why Do Some Bacon Brands Contain Sugar?

Sugar isn’t an essential part of traditional bacon curing. But many modern industrial bacon producers add it for a few reasons:

  • Flavoring – Sugar enhances and balances the salty, smoky bacon taste.

  • Texture – Sugar helps bacon caramelize and achieve crispy bits.

  • Moisture – Sugar retains moisture so the bacon doesn’t dry out.

  • Color – Sugar aids browning and gives bacon a nice reddish-pink tint.

  • Curing – Sugar can help preserve and cure the meat.

So while not mandatory, sugar provides some desirable qualities in mass-produced bacon sold commercially.

How Much Sugar Gets Added to Bacon?

The exact amount of sugar in bacon varies by brand. But according to industry sources, a typical brine-curing solution contains around 10% sugar.

Some bacon can contain 2-3 grams of sugars per serving. For example, Oscar Mayer Thick Cut Original contains 2g sugars per 2 slices. So in a 3-slice serving, that’s 3g of added sugars.

Other brands add no sugar at all and rely just on natural pork flavors. For instance, no sugar gets added to Pederson’s bacon products during minimal processing.

Why Limiting Sugar in Bacon Matters

Eating bacon with added sugars may matter more for some people than others depending on dietary needs and goals:

  • Keto/low carb diets – Any added sugar increases the carb count.

  • Diabetes – Added sugars can spike blood glucose levels.

  • Weight loss – Sugars boost calories and may increase cravings.

  • Dental health – Sugar feeds bacteria that cause cavities and decay.

  • Gut health – Added sugars can disrupt healthy gut flora.

For optimal health, the recommended daily limit for added sugars is:

  • Men: 36 grams or 9 tsp
  • Women: 25 grams or 6 tsp

Just a few slices of sugar-laden bacon could use up a big chunk of your allotment if you’re monitoring added sugars.

Identifying Sugar-Free Bacon

If limiting added sugars is your goal, read ingredient lists carefully when buying bacon. Here are signs sugar has been added:

✔️ Contains words like sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, dextrose, honey, maple syrup

✔️ Nutrition facts list 1g+ per serving

✔️ Has a sweeter taste when cooked

Some bacon brands that are typically sugar-free:

  • Pederson’s Farms
  • Applegate Sunday Bacon
  • Wellshire Farms Sugar Free
  • Niman Ranch
  • Pete and Gerry’s Organic

Of course, always verify by checking the label, as ingredients can change. When in doubt, opt for bacons cured naturally with basic ingredients like water, sea salt, spices, and wood smoke.

Health Impacts of Eating Bacon

While sugar content is one consideration for buying bacon, there are other nutritional pros and cons to keep in mind:

Potential Benefits

  • High in protein – 12g per 3-slice serving
  • Provides B vitamins for energy
  • Source of zinc, iron, potassium
  • Good fats (in moderation)

Potential Concerns

  • High in sodium – over 500mg per serving
  • High in saturated fat
  • Nitrates/nitrites used in curing
  • Can be processed, smoked, or cured

Overall, enjoying bacon in moderation as part of a healthy diet is fine for most people. Just be mindful of any added sugars as well as your total sodium and saturated fat intake.

Cooking and Serving Bacon With Less Sugar

When shopping for low-sugar or no-sugar bacon, look for minimal added ingredients like celery juice powder instead of nitrates. Then, prepare it simply – a quick pan-fry, oven bake, or microwave is all you need.

Get creative in how you serve that tasty bacon beyond just breakfast:

  • Chopped on salads
  • Crumbled on baked potatoes
  • In club sandwiches or BLTs
  • Wrapped around roasted asparagus
  • On top of mac and cheese
  • In carbonara or clam chowder
  • On burgers or pizza

The possibilities are endless for enjoying the savory, salty flavor of bacon without all the added sugars.

Common Questions about Sugar in Bacon

If you’re still wondering about the sugars found in everyday bacon, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Does uncured bacon have sugar?

Not inherently, but read the ingredients list. Some brands add sugars to “uncured” bacon for flavor.

Is turkey bacon lower in sugar than pork bacon?

Maybe – compare nutrition labels. Some turkey bacons also add sugars during processing.

Is the sugar in bacon natural?

No, it gets added. Cured pork belly alone doesn’t contain sugars unless flavors like maple or honey are used.

Why does bacon say 0g sugar on the label if it has sugar added?

If under 0.5g per serving, companies can list 0g while listing sugar in the ingredients.

Is bacon on keto or paleo diets okay if it has sugar?

Most would avoid bacon with added sugars, honey, etc. to keep total carbs low. Check labels.

What about for diabetics – is added sugar in bacon a concern?

Yes, it could spike blood glucose levels. Opt for no-sugar bacon to be safe if diabetic.

The bottom line is added sugars in bacon won’t matter for everyone but can make a difference if you’re monitoring carbs, blood sugar, or total sugars. Read labels and know how to spot it to decide if it fits your dietary needs.

Make Informed Choices About Bacon

Now that you know all about the potential sugars added to bacon during processing, you can make educated choices when you shop. While an occasional slice of sugary bacon likely won’t do harm, too much could derail your health goals.

Check those nutrition labels and ingredient lists – you might be surprised to find bacon brands without any added sugars at all. That way, you can feel good cooking up deliciously savory bacon dishes at home knowing exactly what’s going into them. Here’s to sugar-free sizzling!

Will SUGAR CURED bacon screw up my Keto or Carnivore Diet?


Does bacon raise blood sugar?

Is Bacon Low Glycemic? No, bacon is not low glycemic. It has a glycemic index of 0, which means it does not affect blood sugar levels. However, it is high in saturated fat and sodium, which can increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems.

Can you eat bacon on no sugar diet?

Is There Sugar in Bacon? The short answer is no: pork bellies, the piece of meat that bacon strips are cut from, do not on their own contain sugar.

How unhealthy is bacon?

Bacon has lots of sodium, cholesterol, and fat, all of which can increase your risk of heart disease. But bacon does have other nutrients, like protein, vitamins, and minerals. Just keep in mind that if you eat bacon, it’s best to do so occasionally and in small amounts.

What bacon does not have sugar?

Wellshire Farms Sugar-Free Paleo Dry Rubbed Bacon.

Does Bacon have sugar?

While bacon itself doesn’t contain sugar, some manufacturers add it during the curing process to enhance flavor and act as a preservative. According to nutrition facts, bacon contains 0.6 grams of carbs per serving. However, if the bacon is labeled as brown sugar or maple, it likely has added sugar which increases the sugar content.

How many calories are in a slice of bacon?

Selenium is vital for thyroid gland function, reproduction, and protection from cell damage from free radicals. Phosphorous is essential for bone health, making energy, and chemical processes. Three slices of bacon, or 34.5 grams, contain 161 calories. That one serving has 108 calories from fat, 2.4 from carbs, and 48 from protein.

How much protein is in bacon?

Bacon is high in protein with 12 grams per serving. Approximately 10% to 35% of your total daily calories should come from protein. That’s 46 to 56 grams of protein a day. Your potassium intake should be 2,600 milligrams and 3,400, and one serving of bacon provides 172 milligrams.

How many carbs are in a smoky bacon?

The U.S. Wellness bacon contains zero carbs because it hasn’t been doused in sugar during the curing process, but the smoky maple bacon has close to 5 grams of total carbs per serving (two slices).

Leave a Comment