Question about Turkey Bacon vs. Pork Bacon

  • I have a question regarding the nutritional value of turkey bacon vs. pork bacon (in addition to my question as to who would invent such a thing in the first place, but that can be left unanswered! hehe)

    Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon: 1 slice = 35 calories, 2.5 gm of fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium, 2 gm protein. Calories from fat 64%.

    Hormel Black Label Fully Cooked Bacon: 1 slice = 35 calories, 2.5 gm fat, 20 mg Cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 5 gm protein. Calories from fat 64%.

    Both turkey and pork bacon have 35 calories per slice, both have the same percentage of fat (2.5%) and both have the same percentage of calories (64%) from fat. Neither has vitamins and both contain nitrates, unless you buy nitrate free (and this is available in both varieties). Turkey bacon does have slightly less sodium and cholesterol; but on the flip side, pork bacon has more protein.

    Additionally, pork bacon comes from the “bacon” section of the pig as nature intended. While turkey bacon comes from the dark meat of a turkey which is not exactly the healthiest meat choice to start with; but it is also a bird, an animal that nature has clearly left without a “bacon” section for a reason. All of this also leaves me wondering just what processing this Thanksgiving meat had to do in order to make it look like bacon and thus visually pleasing to the eye.

    While I am not a naturalist by any means, the visual image of a bunch of dark bird meat being processed and smashed together and manipulated so it resembles a piece of bacon is just not very appetizing, and that is before you even taste it. Turkey bacon does not taste like bacon; and it does not cook like bacon. Saying turkey bacon is equal to bacon is akin to saying that just because they are both called steak, “Steak’ums” are pretty much the same as a New York Strip. In my opinion one is a poor substitute for the real thing.

    So with my reasoning explained, and considering the nutritional value of both pretty much equals out (all things being considered), my question is: Why does BFL insist on turkey bacon? Is it that the books haven’t updated to the available healthier products on the market, or is there some other health reason for choosing turkey that I don’t understand?



  • Good point. I think I'll stay away from both, but you do make an intersting point, I admit.

    Isaiah 43:18-19

  • My turkey bacon (Jimmy Dean) has only 25 calories with 2g protein and 2g fat.  I agree that it is not the best choice for protein.  What I do enjoy is that 1 slice in a baked chicken bre ast wrap or sandwich changes the flavor enough to keep me from getting bored with chicken.

    I would think this is a better "maintenance" food in small quantities than a hardcore "clean challenge" food.  I have probably had about 12 slices over the past 12 weeks.

    Whenever I did use it, I calculated the protein and fat into my plan for the day.  This made things a bit more complicated, but didn't stress my brain cells too much.  :)

  • I buy the Welshire Farms Brand (all natural nitrate free) from Whole Foods:

    Calories 35, Fat 1g, carb 0g, protein 6g

    I don't eat too much of this but will sometimes have four slices with some yams for breakfast. Its pretty NOM NOM NOM and I think the nutritional info is good.  9 calories from fat so 25% fat

  • Thanks all for answering - but even these differences in calories/fat are really quite minor within the big picture when compared to the more "natural" pork bacon from a pig. I didn't pick a lowfat pork and turkey bacon for comparison, instead I just picked ones that had the same serving size and were not specialized in any way. Perhaps comparing apples to apples with a lower fat turkey vs lower fat pork would still find that fat and calories were about equal.

    It seems there are so many varieties: low sodium, no nitrates, and lower fat, etc., bacons, that the only real issue is taste preference. And that is where I am wondering if I am confused by what I am reading or if the book has a specific reason for using turkey bacon over pork. In the end there really doesn't seem to be any health benefit to the turkey over pork, and the turkey is so processed and smashed and formed into a strip of "bacon" as to be weird to even consider.

    Am I missing something or is there any legitimate health issue for picking turkey bacon over pork?

  • Body for Life is a low fat high protein way of eating.  The reason that pork bacon is "unauthorized" is that it is high fat.  When turkey bacon is put on the "authorized" list I would assume we are supposed to pick a low fat version of it.  For example the turkey bacon that I buy says on the label 97% fat free. This goes along with the BFL books repeated instructions to choose "lean" cuts of meat.  So choose the leanest cut of turkey bacon available and you will necessarilly be choosing a lower fat meat than pork bacon.