Is Turkey Bacon Good for Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux can be a miserable condition with symptoms like heartburn regurgitation, and chest pain making it difficult to enjoy meals. If you love the smoky, salty flavor of bacon but deal with acid reflux, you may wonder if turning to turkey bacon is the solution. Here’s a comprehensive look at whether turkey bacon is a good choice for acid reflux.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. This is caused by a malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that normally closes to prevent food and acid from coming back up

When the LES relaxes inappropriately, acidic stomach contents can rise into the esophagus. This exposes delicate esophageal tissue to corrosive acid, leading to painful symptoms.

Frequent acid reflux is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It can cause complications like esophageal scarring ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus. Diet and lifestyle changes are often recommended to manage acid reflux.

Is Turkey Bacon Less Acidic Than Pork Bacon?

Turkey bacon is sometimes perceived as a better choice for acid reflux because turkey itself has a pH close to neutral. Fresh turkey meat is only slightly acidic.

On the other hand, fresh pork is more acidic, with a lower pH. So in theory, turkey bacon should be less acidic than regular pork bacon.

However, the curing process changes the pH. Both pork and turkey bacon end up highly processed. So while turkey bacon starts off less acidic, once cured and smoked it may not retain that advantage.

Overall, the impact of going from pork to turkey bacon on acidity levels is likely minor. The real issues are the fat content and saltiness, discussed next.

Is Turkey Bacon Lower in Fat Than Pork Bacon?

The main reason doctors recommend limiting bacon for acid reflux has to do with its high fat content. Dietary fat causes the LES to relax, allowing more reflux. Fat also delays gastric emptying, increasing acidity in the stomach.

Turkey bacon contains less fat than pork bacon. A slice of microwaved turkey bacon has 2.1 grams of fat, versus pork’s 3 grams.

So turkey bacon is lower in fat, which could make it somewhat less likely to cause reflux than regular bacon. However, turkey bacon still contains a good amount of fat for its small serving size. The lower fat content doesn’t mean it’s fat-free.

Does Turkey Bacon Have Less Sodium Than Pork Bacon?

Most bacon is very high in sodium, which can aggravate acid reflux by relaxing the LES.

Turkey bacon contains 164mg of sodium per slice, while regular pork bacon has about 162mg. So there is no advantage sodium-wise in choosing turkey bacon.

High sodium intake also increases risk of bloating and water retention. So whether you opt for pork or turkey bacon, moderation is key if you have acid reflux.

Is Turkey Bacon Always Pork-Free?

One perceived benefit of turkey bacon is that it contains no pork, making it suitable for those avoiding pork for religious, cultural or personal reasons.

However, some turkey bacons actually contain a mix of turkey and other meats like pork. It’s important to read the ingredients list to verify that it’s made from 100% turkey meat. Don’t assume turkey bacon is automatically pork-free.

Other Considerations for Acid Reflux

Aside from fat and sodium content, here are some other factors to weigh when choosing bacon with acid reflux:

  • Serving size – While turkey bacon is a bit better nutritionally, large servings can still trigger reflux. Stick to 1-2 slices.

  • Cooking method – Frying adds more fat, while baking, grilling or microwaving are better options.

  • Additives – Some turkey bacons contain onions, garlic or sweeteners that may worsen reflux. Check the ingredients.

  • Nitrates – These preservatives may increase cancer risk when eaten in excess. Limit processed meats.

  • Alternatives – Consider occasional plant-based bacon options which are lower in fat.

Tips for Eating Turkey Bacon with Acid Reflux

If you decide to include turkey bacon in an acid reflux diet, here are some tips:

  • Choose low-sodium, additive-free turkey bacon

  • Eat only 1-2 slices at a time

  • Bake or pan-fry, don’t microwave

  • Pair with low acid foods like melons, oatmeal, greens

  • Avoid spicy foods, caffeine, citrus, alcohol

  • Take antacids if needed for symptoms

  • Wait 3-4 hours before lying down after eating

  • Maintain a healthy weight

The Bottom Line

Turkey bacon is lower in total fat and calories compared to regular pork bacon. This may make it marginally less likely to cause acid reflux.

However, turkey bacon is still fairly high in fat for its serving size. It also contains similar amounts of sodium as pork bacon. And the curing process means it is not necessarily less acidic overall.

While turkey bacon may be a slightly smarter choice, both pork and turkey bacon should only be eaten in moderation by those with acid reflux. And bacon should be avoided altogether by those with severe reflux.

For occasional use, 1-2 slices of turkey bacon paired with low acid foods may be tolerable for some reflux sufferers. But neither turkey or pork bacon make good regular staples in an anti-reflux diet.

Turkey bacon: How healthy is it really?


Is turkey good for acid reflux?

Oatmeal – this is a great source of fibre, meaning that it can absorb acid in the stomach and reduce reflux symptoms. Other fibre options include wholegrain rice and breads. Lean meats – chicken and turkey are low-fat and can reduce symptoms of acid reflux.

What meats can I eat with acid reflux?

Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood, are low in fat and less likely to cause symptoms of acid reflux than fatty meats. Try them grilled, broiled, baked, or poached.

Is deli turkey good for acid reflux?

FILLERS: try to stick to meats lower in fat, such as chicken, turkey, ham or roast beef. Buy meats that haven’t gone through a lot of processing. For example, avoid smoked or cured meats, as these can often trigger heartburn; the meat is often spiced or glazed with honey or sugar.

Can I eat turkey bacon with gastritis?

Other foods to avoid: Highly seasoned, high-fat meats, such as sausage, salami, bacon, ham, and cold cuts. Hot chiles and peppers. Tomato products, such as tomato paste, tomato sauce, or tomato juice.

Can you eat turkey if you have reflux?

However, they may be able to eat lean meats, such as turkey and chicken, as part of their diet. Research in 2009 indicated that alcoholic beverages relax the lower esophageal sphincter and stimulate gastric acid secretion. In the study, beer, red wine, and white wine all caused reflux.

What are natural remedies for acid reflux?

You may be able to prevent or reduce acid reflux symptoms with a few lifestyle changes, including eating dinner earlier, avoiding large meal, eating small, frequent meals, avoiding alcohol and smoking, adjusting your sleeping position like sleeping on your sides, head elevation during rest and avoiding certain acidic foods and drinks, maintaining lower weight, etc.

Is turkey bacon a healthy alternative?

But, according to dietitian Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD, this substitute is still high in saturated fat and sodium and doesn’t carry as many health benefits as many believe. In fact, opting for turkey bacon as the “healthier” choice can have a negative impact on your health. “Believing it’s the better option, you may eat too much,” Jeffers says.

Should you eat turkey bacon?

As with traditional pork bacon, eat it sparingly Some calorie- and fat-conscious eaters choose turkey bacon as a healthy alternative to the pork variety that traditionally graces breakfast tables. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission.

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