Are you a fan of bacon but trying to make healthier choices? You may have heard that turkey bacon is a better option.
However, before you start loading up your plate with this substitute, it’s important to know the truth about its nutritional value.
While it may seem like a healthier alternative, turkey bacon is still high in saturated fat and sodium, which can have negative effects on your health.
In this article, we’ll explore why turkey bacon may not be the best choice for your diet and offer some tips for enjoying it in moderation.
So, let’s dive in and uncover the truth about turkey bacon.
Why Is Turkey Bacon Bad For You?
Turkey bacon has been marketed as a healthier alternative to traditional pork bacon. However, the truth is that it’s not much better for you. In fact, it can have a negative impact on your health.
One of the main reasons why turkey bacon is bad for you is its high saturated fat and sodium content. Just like pork bacon, turkey bacon is high in these two substances, which can increase your risk of developing heart disease when consumed in excess.
Additionally, many people believe that turkey bacon is a healthier option and may end up eating more of it than they would with pork bacon. This can lead to overconsumption and further negative health effects.
While turkey bacon does contain fewer calories and less fat than pork bacon, it’s still a processed meat with added sugar and preservatives that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Therefore, it’s important to consume it in moderation.
What Is Turkey Bacon?
Turkey bacon is a processed meat product that is made from chopped, formed, cured, and smoked turkey. It’s commonly marketed as a low-fat alternative to pork bacon and can also be used as a substitute for bacon in religious dietary laws that forbid the consumption of pork products.
To make turkey bacon, manufacturers chop or grind turkey meat and add seasonings and preservatives. The mixture is then pressed into bacon-like strips. Some brands even use stripes of light and dark meat to mimic the look of traditional pork bacon pieces.
Turkey bacon is typically pan-fried, microwaved, or baked in the oven until golden and crispy, just like traditional bacon. However, it is important to note that despite its lower calorie and fat content compared to pork bacon, turkey bacon is still high in saturated fat and sodium, which can increase your risk of developing heart disease when consumed in excess.
It’s essential to read the ingredients list carefully when purchasing turkey bacon as some brands may contain other meats like pork. Additionally, some brands are sold raw and should be thoroughly cooked to a safe temperature before they’re eaten to avoid food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses.
Nutritional Information Of Turkey Bacon
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, a 82 g serving of cooked turkey bacon contains 302 calories, 21 g of fat, and 24 g of protein. It also contains 3.5 g of carbohydrates, with 3.5 g of sugar and no dietary fiber. The fat content has been reduced from 6 g to 2.5 g per serving, but it still contains 5.7 g of saturated fat and 125 mg of cholesterol per serving.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, turkey bacon provides some vitamin A (15.58 mcg), iron (2.16 mg), calcium (133.66 mg), and potassium (546 mg) per serving. However, it is important to note that these nutrients can also be obtained from other healthier sources.
It’s important to keep in mind that the estimated glycemic load of turkey bacon is high, which means that it can cause a quick spike in blood sugar levels. This can be especially problematic for individuals with diabetes or those at risk for developing the condition.
Comparison Of Turkey Bacon And Traditional Bacon
When comparing turkey bacon and traditional bacon, there are some similarities and differences in their nutritional values. Both types of bacon are high in protein, but pork bacon offers slightly more with 20 grams per serving compared to 17 grams per serving for turkey bacon.
In terms of calories, turkey bacon contains fewer calories than pork bacon, but the difference is small with 218 calories per 2-ounce serving compared to 268 calories per 2-ounce serving for pork bacon. However, the overall fat content in turkey bacon is significantly lower than pork bacon with 14 grams of fat per serving compared to 22 grams of fat per serving for pork bacon. The level of saturated fat is still high in both types of bacon, but turkey bacon contains only half the amount of saturated fat compared to pork bacon with 4 grams per serving versus 8 grams per serving.
When it comes to sodium content, both types of bacon are high in sodium, but turkey bacon contains more sodium than pork bacon with over 1,900 milligrams per 2-ounce serving compared to roughly 1,300 milligrams per 2-ounce serving for pork bacon. High sodium intake can increase the risk of heart disease and kidney stones.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, both types of bacon provide vitamin B complex nutrients and zinc. However, pork bacon offers slightly more selenium, a mineral that activates certain proteins associated with preventing cancer.
Health Risks Associated With Consuming Turkey Bacon
Consuming turkey bacon on a regular basis can lead to various health risks. One of the most concerning risks is an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Studies have found that regularly eating processed meats, including turkey bacon, may increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes by 18% and 27%, respectively. This is due to the high levels of saturated fat and sodium present in turkey bacon.
Another health risk associated with consuming turkey bacon is an increased risk of certain types of cancer. People who consume higher amounts of processed meat products, including turkey bacon, are at greater risk of developing breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, colon cancer, and rectal cancer. The World Cancer Research Fund International suggests eating little to no processed meat to protect against potential cancer risks.
Furthermore, turkey bacon is considered an ultra-processed food due to the way it is packaged and preserved. This, coupled with the fact that it is deceivingly unhealthy, makes it dangerous for your health because it lends to overindulgence. The World Health Organization categorized processed meat like turkey bacon as carcinogenic to humans, meaning it could potentially cause cancer.
Lastly, turkey bacon is lower in protein and often higher in sugar than pork bacon. This makes it an unhealthy option for people looking to maintain a balanced diet.
Tips For Incorporating Turkey Bacon Into A Healthy Diet.
If you enjoy the taste of turkey bacon and want to incorporate it into your healthy diet, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some tips:
1. Choose minimally processed varieties: Look for turkey bacon that is minimally processed and free from added sugars, salt, and preservatives. This will help you avoid consuming unhealthy additives that can have a negative impact on your health.
2. Use it as a flavor enhancer: Instead of relying on turkey bacon as the main protein source in your meals, use it as a flavor enhancer. Add it to salads, soups, or omelets for a boost of flavor without overdoing it on the calories and sodium.
3. Pair it with nutrient-dense foods: To make the most of your turkey bacon, pair it with nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. This will help balance out the saturated fat and sodium content in the turkey bacon and provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
4. Watch your portion sizes: As with any food, portion control is key when it comes to turkey bacon. Stick to one or two slices per serving and avoid overindulging.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the taste of turkey bacon while still maintaining a healthy diet. Remember to always check nutrition labels carefully and opt for minimally processed varieties whenever possible.