Robin’s Healthy Take: Which Bacon is Best?

by in Robin's Healthy Take, December 27, 2011

bacon

There are so many bacon varieties at the market, I’m compelled to write about it. Flavors vary –hickory-smoked, applewood-smoked and some others – but MEAT also varies and that interests me. I was curious about the nutritional differences (as well as the taste and textural differences) between pork, turkey and veggie options so I did some research and testing. I was surprised that, in my opinion, pork bacon won overall. Why? The leaner, center cut bacon has calorie, fat and sodium numbers similar to the veggie bacon, but it’s got more than 3 times the protein. It’s also got more than double the protein of turkey bacon. Texture-wise, I prefer bacon with chewiness and crunch, something you don’t find in veggie bacon, probably because it’s made from mostly egg whites (it’s either chewy or crunchy, depending on how long you cook it).  I also thought the turkey bacon was a little chewy and lacked that wonderful merging of fat and meat you get from traditional bacon (you know… where crisp pork meets chewy fat).

I did my research, now tell me YOUR thoughts!

The following numbers are for skillet-cooked bacon (note the serving sizes too):

Thick Cut Pork Bacon:

1 slice (12 g)

60 calories

5 g fat

1.5 g sat fat

4 g protein

250 mg sodium

 

Center Cut Pork Bacon:

3 slices (15 g)

70 calories

4.5 g fat

1.5 g sat fat

7 g protein

270 mg sodium

 

Turkey Bacon:

1 slice (15g)

35 calories

3 g fat

1 g sat fat

3 g protein

150 mg sodium

 

Veggie Bacon:

2 slices (16 g)

60 calories

4.5 g fat

0.5 g sat fat

2 g protein

230 mg sodium

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Takes 5” and “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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Comments (12)

  1. Caroline says:

    Turkey is definitely the best of both worlds

  2. BelleAmie says:

    I honestly tried switching to turkey bacon, but missed the taste of traditional pork bacon. There is nothing that tastes as good. I stay away from those that have preservatives in them, like nitrates. It's usually lower in sodium also.

  3. denise says:

    pork bacon rules!

  4. Jim says:

    We tried turkey for awhile,But it sure wasn't the same as pork. No nitrates is the way to go. You would think more companies would not have the nitrates with all the talk of healthy foods these days. Just keep looking, they're out there. Pork bacon is better.

  5. Sarah says:

    Center Cut Pork Bacon at 23 calories per slice sounds good, but it messes up with high sodium content. So, Turkey is the winner.

  6. John says:

    Pork Bacon is the Best,moderation is the Key . Do we really know what is in that Turkey bacon ? Look at it You Just Don't Know, as for The Pork Bacon it's safe to say it has PORK in It ! Moderation !!!

  7. Dave says:

    Nitrate free bacon is great, but the celery salt and seasonings they use pretty much cause nitrite formation naturally. “Earlier this year, Cook’s Illustrated tested different types of bacon and found that two brands of “nitrate-free” bacon had significantly more nitrites than their conventional counterpart.”- http://m.good.is/post/your-nitrite-free-meats-are

  8. Judith says:

    BLT – with mayonnaise and avocado. The ultimate "feel good" treat.

  9. Jennifer says:

    regular bacon is the best food on the planet!!

    • Cora says:

      Nitrite-free bacon is readily available at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. And in my humble opinion, the thinner the slices, the better — thick slices are too chewy. Baking them is a great idea…they're not swimming in the fat and come out super crisp! Why go with turkey bacon? The flavor just isn't there.

  10. Really appreciate you sharing this article.Much thanks again.

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