Turkey Bacon Isn't As Healthy As You Think It Is. Here's Why

If there's one given when it comes to food, it's that everybody loves bacon. It's like the perfect combination of fatty plus salty that appeals to absolutely everybody and their dog. (Especially their dog, so watch your plate!) Even vegans love bacon, although they either have to fight to repress this forbidden desire or else make do with vegetable- or soy-based substitutes (aka "fakon").

There are others who cannot eat pork for religious purposes, but many can still enjoy turkey bacon. This stuff is made from chopped or ground turkey meat and skin (the latter to add that needed fatty component), and it can be fried or nuked or even baked just like pork bacon. While the taste and texture aren't quite the same, still, turkey bacon beats no bacon at all. If you're choosing to eschew pork bacon in favor of the turkey variety for health-related reasons, though, is it really such a good choice? Well, yes and no. According to Healthline, turkey bacon does have some advantages over pork, but it also has a few drawbacks.

How turkey bacon compares to pork

Turkey bacon does have fewer calories and less saturated fat than pork bacon — approximately 25 percent less of the former and 35 percent less of the latter, as Healthline reports. We're still not talking a huge amount, though. If you limit yourself to two strips, a serving of turkey bacon has 60 calories and 1.3 grams of saturated fat, as compared to 82 calories and 2 grams for pork bacon. Turkey bacon, however, has about 20 percent less protein than pork bacon, and is also slightly higher in carbs, although neither type of bacon has over half a gram of carbohydrate per serving.

If you're looking at turkey bacon as being an overall healthier alternative to pork, well, the bad news is, neither one of these is exactly what you might call good for you. Both are processed meat products, and as such, have been linked to higher rates of coronary disease and diabetes (via PubMed). One area of particular concern is the fact that both types of bacon contain preservatives called nitrates or nitrites. Whether these nitrosamines are natural or synthetic, they can be dangerous if consumed in high levels, and are one of the reasons why processed foods have also been linked to certain types of cancer (via the International Agency for Research on Cancer). In short, while turkey bacon is a good option if you can't eat pork, you should avoid overindulging in either kind.