Which is the Healthiest Bacon? A Guide to Choosing Better Bacon

Crispy, salty, smoky – bacon is one of the most beloved breakfast foods. But with concerns over its high fat and sodium content, many want to find a healthier bacon option. The good news is that not all bacon is created equal. By following a few simple buying tips, you can still enjoy this tasty treat while promoting better health.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the key factors that make some types of bacon healthier than others Whether you’re looking to reduce fat, sodium, nitrates or sugar, we’ve got you covered on how to pick the best bacon to fit your needs Let’s dive in!

Why is Bacon Generally Unhealthy?

To understand which bacon is healthiest, it helps to first look at why regular bacon is considered unhealthy:

  • High in fat – Most bacon is 50% fat since it comes from fatty pork belly. This raises calorie and saturated fat intake.

  • Loaded with sodium – During curing and smoking, bacon soaks up a lot of sodium, often over 20% of your daily value per slice.

  • Contains nitrates – Curing typically uses sodium nitrate to preserve color and extend shelf life. This may increase cancer risk when cooked.

  • Added sugars – Maple flavored and honey bacons have extra sugar for flavor and caramelization.

  • Pro-inflammatory – Can contain inflammatory omega-6 fats if pigs eat grains versus natural omega-3 rich diets

Now let’s explore healthier bacon options that help mitigate these downsides.

Buying Guidelines for Healthier Bacon

When shopping for better bacon, watch out for:

  • No added nitrates/nitrites – Seek bacon cured with natural sources like celery powder instead.

  • Minimal ingredients – Choose bacons with short ingredient lists and no artificial additives.

  • Lower sodium options – Compare nutrition labels and opt for at least 20% less sodium than regular.

  • Less saturated fat – Pick thinner sliced or center-cut bacons which have less fatty edges.

  • Quality sourcing – Look for humanely raised pigs fed natural omega-3 rich diets when possible.

  • Minimally processed – Opt for bacon simply smoked rather than pumped with brines that add water weight.

The Healthiest Bacon Choices

Now let’s look at some of the best bacon options using our healthier buying criteria:

Turkey Bacon

With roughly half the calories, fat, and sodium of pork bacon, turkey bacon is one of the leanest choices. Be sure to compare brands for lower sodium and nitrates.

Center-Cut Bacon

Since center-cut bacon contains the leaner pork belly meat, it has 25% less fat than regular sliced bacon. The meaty flavor still satisfies.

Uncured Bacon

Uncured bacon has no added sodium nitrate or nitrite and uses natural curing alternatives like celery juice instead. This reduces the risk of nitrosamine formation.

Back Bacon

Also known as Irish or Canadian bacon, back bacon comes from pork loin which is leaner than belly. It provides meatier flavor with less marbling.


Dry-cured Italian prosciutto is made from the hind leg which has very little fat. Watch portion size though since the saltiness can encourage overeating.

Tips for Cooking Healthier Bacon

To maximize the health benefits of better bacon, use these cooking methods:

  • Bake bacon in the oven on a wire rack to allow fat to drip off.

  • Cook in a non-stick pan to reduce need for added oils or butter.

  • Microwave to cook without oils, but won’t get as crispy.

  • Add crumbled bacon as a flavoring to salads and recipes rather than eating strips.

  • Freeze cooked bacon to crumble over meals later for easy portion control.

  • Save rendered bacon fat for cooking other foods like eggs or vegetables.

The Bottom Line

While no bacon will ever be considered a true health food, some varieties offer clear nutritional advantages. By choosing wisely and cooking in healthier ways, you can still enjoy the smoky, savory flavor while doing your body a favor. Just be mindful of portion size and incorporate bacon as part of an overall balanced diet.

Frequency of entities:

  • Bacon: 22
  • Fat: 10
  • Sodium: 5
  • Nitrates: 3
  • Nitrites: 2
  • Sugar: 2
  • Turkey bacon: 3
  • Center-cut bacon: 2
  • Uncured bacon: 2
  • Back bacon: 2
  • Prosciutto: 2
  • Pork: 3
  • Belly: 2
  • Loin: 2
  • Leg: 1
  • Calories: 1
  • Saturated fat: 1
  • Celery: 1
  • Nitrosamine: 1
  • Omega-3: 1

Real Bacon or Turkey Bacon for Long Term Health


Is there any bacon that is healthy?

Turkey bacon has fewer calories, with 30 calories per thin slice, compared to pork bacon, which has about 43 calories per slice. It’s lower in fat, too, – 2.1 grams per slice, compared to pork bacon’s 3.1 grams per slice.

Which cut of bacon is healthiest?

Short cut bacon This type of bacon comes from the back of the pig. It’s a much leaner, round piece of bacon which usually doesn’t have a rind attached. It is the leanest type of bacon, with only a thin layer of fat which can be removed.

Which is healthier, cured or uncured bacon?

Uncured bacon really isn’t a better alternative. It’s still bacon. Little practical difference exists between cured and uncured bacon in terms of health. Both are cured in the true sense of the word, meaning they are preserved.

What bacon is not processed?

Uncured bacon is bacon that hasn’t been cured with sodium nitrites. Usually, it’s cured with a form of celery, which contains natural nitrites, along with plain old sea salt and other flavorings like parsley and beet extracts. Since 2020, the FDA requires that uncured bacon has to be labeled “Uncured bacon.

Is Bacon healthy?

Healthiest bacons have less fat, sodium, and nitrites. Uncured, center-cut, turkey, low sodium, organic, and plant-based bacon offer healthier options. Using healthy and bacon in the same sentence can be considered a white lie. Taking it in smaller amounts helps you benefit more from the vitamins and minerals.

Can one eat bacon with diverticulosis?

You can eat bacon with diverticulosis, but it is not the most recommended. In a person with diverticulosis, it is recommended to consume foods with soluble fiber such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.

Is plant-based Bacon healthy?

The nutrition stats of plant-based bacon show it is higher in protein and fiber. However, their fat and cholesterol content is close to none. It’s slightly more beneficial than regular bacon because of the fat and sodium content, but nutritionists deem it to have a high-calorie content like pork bacon.

What’s a good brand of bacon?

Portion control a lot easier when you have a “larger investment” in your bacon. Two of my favorite brands to look out for are Nueske’s and Niman Ranch. 4. Buy center cut bacon

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