According to market research, 80 percent of American households have bacon on their weekly grocery list, contributing to the over 1 billion finger-licking servings being dished out each year. Along with the popularity of pork fat comes many misconceptions — let’s set the record straight on some of the most-popular bacon folklore.
Do you reach for turkey bacon as a healthier alternative to conventional bacon? As it turns out, there’s not always a huge difference between the two when it comes to nutrition stats. An average slice of traditional pork bacon (about ½ ounce in weight) contains 35 calories, 1 gram saturated fat and 130 milligrams of sodium. Now find out how the turkey version stacks up.
Some folks love it, others cringe at the very thought. Smoked and cured fatty cuts of meat aren’t typically considered nutritious, but can this pork delicacy be part of a healthy diet?
One slice of regular cut-bacon (about 1-ounce) has 35 calories, 3 grams of total fat (1 gram of saturated fat), and 145 milligrams of sodium, which is about 6 percent of the daily recommendation. No-so-healthy preservatives called nitrates are often added to packaged bacon to prevent growth of bacteria and to maintain color. You may be able to find nitrate free bacon at your local butcher, farmers’ market or high-end grocer.
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):
In this week’s nutrition news: Check out how airline food stacks up, some hot food trends for 2010 and why that caffeine chaser may not sober you up.