Is Turkey Bacon Better Than Normal Bacon?

Bacon is one of those foods that people have strong opinions about. For bacon lovers the savory smoky flavor is irresistible. But over the years, health concerns about bacon have caused some people to view it as more of an indulgence. This has led to an increasing popularity of turkey bacon as an alternative. But is turkey bacon actually healthier and “better” than regular pork bacon? Let’s take a detailed look at how they compare.

What is Turkey Bacon?

While regular bacon is made from pork, turkey bacon is made from ground or chopped turkey meat. Turkey bacon is combined with seasonings and other ingredients, then formed into strips to resemble traditional bacon.

Turkey bacon provides a similar salty, smoky flavor to regular bacon. You can cook it by pan frying baking, or microwaving until it becomes nice and crisp. It can be used as a substitute for regular bacon in any recipe.

Nutritional Profile

First, let’s examine the nutrition facts. Here is a comparison of 2 pan-fried slices of each type of bacon:

  • Turkey bacon – 80 calories, 3g fat, 12g protein
  • Pork bacon – 140 calories, 14g fat, 4g protein

Right away it’s clear that turkey bacon is quite a bit lower in calories and fat than pork bacon. Turkey is a leaner meat, so this makes sense.

However, we also see that turkey bacon is higher in protein than pork bacon. This can be advantageous for those looking to increase their protein intake.

In terms of other nutrients, both turkey bacon and pork bacon are high in sodium, providing around 380mg per slice. They contain minerals like selenium, phosphorus and zinc as well.

Potential Benefits of Turkey Bacon

Given the nutritional stats, here are some of the proposed benefits of choosing turkey bacon over regular pork bacon:

  • Fewer calories – With almost half the calories per slice, turkey bacon can help reduce overall calorie intake. This may aid weight management for some people.

  • Less fat – The lower total fat and saturated fat in turkey bacon may also help limit fat and cholesterol intake.

  • More protein – Turkey bacon packs over 3x more protein than pork bacon per slice, making it a better protein source.

  • No pork – Turkey bacon contains no pork, so it can be consumed by those avoiding pork for religious, cultural or personal reasons.

Potential Downsides of Turkey Bacon

However, turkey bacon also comes with some potential concerns:

  • Highly processed – Like all bacon, turkey bacon is a heavily processed meat product. The grinding, adding of ingredients, and reforming into slices qualifies it as a processed food.

  • Preservatives – Turkey bacon contains preservatives like sodium nitrite to inhibit spoilage and maintain color. There are links between nitrites and increased cancer risk.

  • High sodium – Turkey bacon is very high in sodium, with over 300mg per serving. High sodium intake is associated with high blood pressure.

  • Can contain other meats – Some turkey bacons may contain other meats like pork. Check the ingredients list if avoiding pork.

Is Turkey Bacon Healthier Than Pork Bacon?

Given the nutritional and processing comparisons between turkey bacon and pork bacon, is one decidedly healthier than the other?

Overall, turkey bacon does have some advantages nutritionally thanks to its lower calorie, fat and higher protein contents. Replacing regular bacon with turkey bacon can reduce intakes of total fat, saturated fat and calories, which is beneficial for many people.

However, both types of bacon are high in sodium. They both contain potentially harmful preservatives like sodium nitrite. And they are both heavily processed products.

From a cancer risk perspective, pork bacon may carry slightly higher risks due to its classification as a red meat. Studies link red and processed meat consumption with increased cancer rates.

But turkey bacon is still considered a processed meat, which also comes with cancer risk. So turkey bacon doesn’t offer clear safety advantages here.

Moderation is Key

At the end of the day, neither turkey bacon nor pork bacon are truly “healthy” products, despite the nutritional advantages of turkey bacon.

Like many foods, the health profile really comes down to the amount consumed as part of the overall diet. Eating large quantities of any bacon every day would not be advised.

But enjoying a couple slices of turkey or pork bacon occasionally as part of a balanced diet that emphasizes whole foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains is perfectly reasonable for most people.

When consumed in moderation, turkey bacon can be a better choice than regular bacon for those looking to decrease fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and calorie intake. Prioritizing healthier cooking methods like baking instead of frying can also reduce the formation of harmful compounds.

So is turkey bacon “better” than normal bacon? In some ways yes, but with caveats. It should still be treated as an occasional indulgence food rather than a health food. But its nutritional advantages can make it a smarter choice when you’re craving that tasty bacon flavor.

Tips for Buying and Eating Turkey Bacon

Here are some recommendations for selecting and consuming turkey bacon:

  • Look for turkey bacon without added nitrites/nitrates. Some brands offer preservative-free options.

  • Check the ingredient list and nutrition facts. Make sure turkey is the only meat ingredient and look for lower sodium options.

  • Opt for turkey bacon made from antibiotic-free and humanely raised turkeys when possible.

  • Enjoy turkey bacon in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, limiting to 2-3 servings per week.

  • Pair turkey bacon with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other nutritious foods.

  • Bake or pan-fry instead of microwaving to reduce potentially harmful compounds.

  • Blot fried turkey bacon with a paper towel to remove excess grease.

  • Add turkey bacon bits to salads, soups, and grain bowls for a flavor boost.

The Bottom Line

Turkey bacon can offer some advantages over regular pork bacon due to its lower calorie, fat and cholesterol contents. It provides more protein in a serving compared to pork bacon.

However, both turkey and pork bacon are highly processed and high in sodium. From an overall dietary health perspective, both should be eaten in moderation.

When enjoyed in sensible amounts as part of a diet focused on whole, nutrient-dense foods, turkey bacon can be a better choice than regular bacon for some people. But it should still be viewed as a treat food rather than a health food.

At the end of the day, turkey bacon is probably slightly “better” than normal bacon, but not by a landslide. As with most things in nutrition, the dose makes the poison. In moderation, both can have a place in an overall healthy way of eating.

Is turkey bacon healthier than the regular stuff?


Which is healthier, turkey bacon or regular bacon?

Turkey bacon is likely healthier for you than conventional bacon since it’s not red meat. Turkey bacon, however, is still processed meat. Stick to small portions, pair it with nutrient-rich foods, and choose nitrate-free versions if you enjoy turkey bacon and want to keep eating it. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What is the healthiest bacon to buy?

“When choosing bacon, opt for no-sugar and uncured options, ensuring a delicious and healthier choice for your plate,” says Lara Clevenger MSH, RDN, CPT. She recommends Pederson’s Natural Farms Organic Uncured Bacon, as it’s sourced from humanely raised animals and is free from nitrates, nitrites, MSG, gluten, and soy.

What is a healthy substitute for bacon?

It may sound weird to think of mushrooms as a replacement for bacon, but it makes sense. Mushrooms have a meaty quality to them which is why they are a staple in many vegetarian diets. They absorb virtually any flavor that you introduce to them to, making them a great candidate for bacon substitution!

Do Muslims eat turkey bacon?

The turkey is a halal bird, in that you can eat turkey as opposed to the pig which is not halal (haraam). But the turkey has to be Islamically slaughtered or kosher (slaughtered by Jewish rites) before it can be rendered into turkey bacon. Then and only then is the bacon Islamically fit for eating by Muslims.

Is turkey bacon healthier than Classic Bacon?

With turkey bacon, you are assuredly consuming something lower fat than classic bacon — but it also contains less protein than its pork brethren. The solution, then, has to lie somewhere else right? Turkey bacon has less sodium than classic bacon. But it’s still not particularly healthy, experts say. Canadian Bacon

What are the health benefits of ground turkey?

Ground turkey has multiple benefits. It is a good source of minerals, and B vitamins, rich in proteins, low in fat and it is lower in calories than common turkey.

Does turkey bacon taste like bacon?

In terms of taste, it’s more an opinion of preference. Turkey bacon is salted more to get it to taste like regular bacon, hence the higher sodium content. It’s also pounded into strips to resemble bacon, and can have a different texture due to this.

Is turkey bacon a good substitute for traditional Bacon?

Turkey bacon is found in many “better for you” recipes and is touted as a healthy swap for traditional bacon. But before you hop on the turkey bacon train, there are a few factors that you should consider.

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