Battle of the Bacons: Pork vs. Turkey
Healthy eating is all about making choices that are good for your heart, your waistline, and your taste buds. Sometimes that means finding a satisfying substitution for a dish that’s high in fat, sodium, and calories, which contribute to heart disease, hypertension, kidney stones and diabetes.
For instance, “Everybody loves bacon. It makes everything taste better because it’s salty and fatty,” admitted Dr. Anthony Musto, of the University of Miami Health System. “But for those very same reasons, we shouldn’t double down with a side of bacon at every meal.”
So, is turkey bacon a healthy alternative to pork? Enter the battle of the bacons.
The Reigning Champion: Pork Bacon
In this corner, weighing in at 268 calories per two-ounce serving, we have traditional pork bacon. This breakfast classic is cured and/or smoked meat that comes from the belly of a pig.
In every two-ounce serving of pork bacon, you’ll find:
- Overall Fat: 19 grams
- Saturated Fat: 6.5 grams
- Sodium: 1000 milligrams
- Protein: 22 grams
- Vitamins: More B complex nutrients and selenium (a cancer-preventing mineral) than turkey bacon
The Contender: Turkey Bacon
In this corner, we have lean, 218-calorie, turkey bacon. This product is made of dark and white turkey meat that’s been seasoned, ground and pressed into strip form.
In every two-ounce serving of turkey bacon, you’ll find:
- Overall Fat: 14.5 grams
- Saturated Fat: 4 grams
- Sodium: 1100 + milligrams (higher than the same serving size of pork bacon)
- Protein: 16.5 grams
- Vitamins: Fewer B complex nutrients and less selenium than pork bacon
“I don’t consider turkey bacon ‘real bacon.’ It’s turkey that’s shaped like bacon,” said Dr. Musto. “But, given that it tends to be lower in fat, some would consider it a healthier option.”
The Final Round
While turkey bacon is lower than pork bacon in overall fat, it’s still high in saturated fat and contains more sodium than pork bacon. You should limit both of these products in your diet to two-ounce portion sizes less than one time per week.
Written by a staff writer at UHealth.