Healthy Living

Turkey Bacon vs. Pork Bacon: Which Is Healthier?

Bacon is a ubiquitous part of the American diet that people just cannot do without. However, if health and weight concerns arise, alternate options are explored. One such popular substitute is turkey bacon, that is considered to be healthier by the general public.  

But nutritionists believe otherwise as classic bacon has 54 calories and turkey bacon has 30 calories, therefore making little difference. In spite of one slice holding lesser calories, it is still problematic as the meats have other similarities. They say that pork and turkey bacon are all the same and equally bad for overall health, and mortality. Here are the reasons why. 

Both Meats Are High-Fat

The difference is miniscule, though turkey bacon has comparatively lower fat. According to nutritional profiles by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one slice of turkey bacon contains 2.5 g of fat and 0.5 g of saturated fat, whereas one slice of pork bacon contains 4.04 g of fat and 1.376 g of saturated fat. 

Even in terms of cholesterol the difference is too little to be noted, turkey bacon has 10 mg and pork bacon has 11 mg of cholesterol, said the USDA. 

Cancerous Properties

A WHO report has declared bacon as carcinogenic and that consuming bacon on a regular basis increases risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent. The statistic is worrisome because it is the second most common type of cancer that leads to fatalities. 

Some people might assume that turkey bacon is less carcinogenic and eat more thinking it is healthy, but when not consumed in moderation, turkey bacon could also turn carcinogenic, said this article in the Huffington Post. 

Excess Sodium

Classic bacon contains 194 mg of sodium and turkey bacon contains 130 mg of sodium in a single slice, according to USDA. This is a problem because high levels of sodium could lead to increasing risk of high blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis and kidney failure. 

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Kristin Kirkpatrick, lead dietician at Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, said the high level of sodium in turkey bacon could be detrimental to people already at risk for high blood pressure and other chronic health conditions.  

Less Protein in Turkey Bacon

Consuming turkey bacon might be preferred by some individuals for its slightly lower fat composition, since pork bacon is made directly from the belly of the pig unlike turkey bacon that comes from the thigh of the turkey. However, there is a loss of a few grams of protein when this switch is made as turkey has lower protein content. 

In one serving of pork bacon, there is more protein for sure, but not enough to substitute it.  For example, one serving has 20 grams of protein, while a serving of turkey bacon has 17 grams. 

How to Eat Healthy Bacon?

There is no other way other than either to go for meatless bacon or Canadian bacon, since these alternatives do offer lesser calories and fat. Despite these positive factors, Canadian bacon is still carcinogenic with a high level of potassium, so it really does not prevent the health issues. Vegetarian bacons are thus the safest alternative by marinating tempeh or tofu. 

bacon Eating too much processed meat, like bacon, is associated with a majority of deaths from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

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