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Turkey bacon vs Pork bacon - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan by Ani Harutyunyan | Last updated on December 10, 2021
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Turkey bacon
vs
Pork bacon

SUMMARY

Both pork bacon and turkey bacon are high in protein because they are meat products.

Turkey bacon has nearly twice as few calories as regular bacon.

Pork bacon contains more saturated fats but has a lower cholesterol content. Turkey bacon is higher in minerals, particularly sodium.

Both of these products are high in B complex vitamins. In addition, turkey bacon contains folate, lacking in regular bacon.

INTRODUCTION

Bacon is an inseparable part of American breakfast and one of the most favorite foods of many Americans. It is usually made from pork. However, related products such as turkey bacon are available.

Bacon is processed meat. It is cured, which involves soaking it in a solution of nitrates, salt, and occasionally sugar. After that, bacon is usually smoked (1). These procedures preserve the meat and its red color and contribute to its unique taste.

Many people consider turkey bacon a healthier alternative to traditional pork bacon. Here we will compare these two with the focus on nutrition, health impact, and accessibility.

NUTRITION

Protein and carbohydrates

Bacon can be considered as an animal protein source. Turkey bacon has more of it than pork bacon. A 100g serving of turkey bacon provides 15.9g of protein, whereas the same amount of pork bacon contains 12.6g.

Both of these types of bacon have a low carbohydrate content. Most bacon, whether made from turkey or pork, contains added sugar. However, turkey bacon has less sugar than traditional bacon.

Calories and fats

Turkey bacon has fewer calories and fats than pork bacon since turkey is leaner than pork belly. The calories present in 100g of turkey bacon are 226, while the pork bacon contains 417 calories.

The turkey bacon has 8.776g less saturated fats than the pork bacon. In contrast, pork bacon has a significantly lower cholesterol level. Turkey bacon has 20 mg more cholesterol than regular bacon (2).

Vitamins

Both of these products are high in B complex vitamins. Cobalamin (B12), pantothenic acid (B5), and riboflavin (B2) are all much higher in turkey bacon. It also contains folate, which is missing from pork bacon.

On the other hand, pork bacon contains more vitamin E and B1.

Vitamin A, B3, and B6 are all found in identical amounts in both of them.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin B2 +192.6%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +21.6%
Contains more Folate +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +138%
Contains more Vitamin E +290.9%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +820%
Equal in Vitamin A - 37
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 4.022
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.266
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 3% 3% 0% 0% 8% 55% 76% 41% 57% 8% 149% 0%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 3% 9% 12% 0% 70% 19% 76% 34% 62% 0% 63% 0%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +192.6%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +21.6%
Contains more Folate +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +138%
Contains more Vitamin E +290.9%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +820%
Equal in Vitamin A - 37
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 4.022
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.266

Minerals

In general, turkey bacon is richer in minerals. It has higher Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Magnesium, and Phosphorus levels. Pork contains more selenium, a mineral that has been linked to cancer prevention (3). Furthermore, pork bacon has a lower sodium level: the difference in sodium content between the two types of bacon is 407 mg.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Calcium +1500%
Contains more Iron +241.5%
Contains more Magnesium +33.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +54.2%
Contains more Potassium +76.3%
Contains more Zinc +115.3%
Contains more Copper +61.9%
Contains less Sodium -38.1%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 24% 53% 12% 96% 31% 140% 70% 23%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 2% 16% 9% 62% 18% 87% 33% 14%
Contains more Calcium +1500%
Contains more Iron +241.5%
Contains more Magnesium +33.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +54.2%
Contains more Potassium +76.3%
Contains more Zinc +115.3%
Contains more Copper +61.9%
Contains less Sodium -38.1%

HEALTH IMPACT

Cardiovascular health

Bacon, as a processed meat product, should be consumed in moderation. Eating this type of meat raises the risk of heart disease and stroke by 42% (4).

Turkey bacon has a high salt content, which is harmful. Sodium raises blood pressure, which can cause major heart problems (4). Additionally, pork bacon’s high saturated fat content may increase blood amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is a serious risk factor for cardiovascular disease (5).

Diabetes

For people with diabetes, bacon is a difficult choice. As we all know, it's high in fat and salt, which can raise blood sugar levels. Bacon and other processed-meat products in excess can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes by 19% (6).

Cancer

Curing, smoking, salting, and adding chemical preservatives are all methods for preserving processed meat. These chemicals include nitrites and nitrates, which keep meat fresh, as well as heterocyclic and polycyclic amines, which are formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures.

Sodium nitrate, which is added to practically all forms of bacon, kills microorganisms and improves its flavor. Sodium nitrate can create nitrosamine at high temperatures, which is linked to gastric cancer (7).

The World Health Organization has categorized bacon as a Group 1 carcinogen (8). The more processed meat you eat, such as bacon, the more likely you are to get colorectal, stomach (9), and breast cancer (10). Bacon is also listed as a high sodium-containing product. In several studies, sodium intake in the diet has been linked to lung cancer (11).

The most effective way to reduce the carcinogenic compounds in bacon is the switching of the cooking method. Microwaving the bacon reduces nitrosamine production (12).

WHICH BACON TO EAT

Many different types of bacon can be found in local stores, but it is important to choose the right one because, as you already know, it can be a health hazard.

When selecting bacon for your meals, keep the following things in mind:

  • Choose the one with the least amount of fat.
  • Choose the thinly sliced bacon. More sodium, fat, and calories are found in thick cuts. It should be cooked at high temperatures, which leads to a higher amount of nitrone in thick cuts.
  • Keep an eye on the sodium content.

The best pork bacon list

  • Nature's Rancher Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon
  • Vande Rose Farms Applewood Smoked Artisan Dry Cured Bacon
  • Applegate Naturals Hickory Smoked Uncured Sunday Bacon
  • Market Pantry Hardwood Smoked Classic Cut Bacon
  • Smithfield All Natural Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon

The best turkey bacon list

  • Applegate Uncured Turkey Bacon
  • Oscar Mayer Original Turkey Bacon
  • Trader Joe’s Uncured Turkey Bacon
  • Wellshire Farms Organic Turkey Bacon
  • Butterball Thin and Crispy Turkey Bacon

References

  1. BACON - DO YOU KNOW HOW IT IS MADE?
  2. https://foodstruct.com/compare/turkey-bacon-vs-pork-bacon
  3. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.471.6585&rep=rep1&type=pdf
  4. https://www.heartfoundation.org.nz/wellbeing/managing-risk/managing-high-blood-pressure
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5492032/
  6. Eating processed meats may raise risk of heart disease and diabetes
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26633477/
  8. https://monographs.iarc.who.int/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/mono114.pdf
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30979076/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30183083/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33569292/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26542769/
Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: December 10, 2021

Infographic

Turkey bacon vs Pork bacon infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Turkey bacon Pork bacon
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in glycemic index Equal
Lower in price Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Turkey bacon Pork bacon Opinion
Net carbs 1.89g 1.28g Turkey bacon
Protein 15.94g 12.62g Turkey bacon
Fats 16.93g 39.69g Pork bacon
Carbs 1.89g 1.28g Turkey bacon
Calories 226kcal 417kcal Pork bacon
Starch g g
Fructose g 0g Pork bacon
Sugar g 1g Turkey bacon
Fiber g 0g Pork bacon
Calcium 80mg 5mg Turkey bacon
Iron 1.4mg 0.41mg Turkey bacon
Magnesium 16mg 12mg Turkey bacon
Phosphorus 222mg 144mg Turkey bacon
Potassium 349mg 198mg Turkey bacon
Sodium 1069mg 662mg Pork bacon
Zinc 2.54mg 1.18mg Turkey bacon
Copper 0.068mg 0.042mg Turkey bacon
Vitamin A 34IU 37IU Pork bacon
Vitamin E 0.11mg 0.43mg Pork bacon
Vitamin D IU 16IU Pork bacon
Vitamin D µg 0.4µg Pork bacon
Vitamin C mg 0mg Pork bacon
Vitamin B1 0.03mg 0.276mg Pork bacon
Vitamin B2 0.237mg 0.081mg Turkey bacon
Vitamin B3 4.032mg 4.022mg Turkey bacon
Vitamin B5 0.675mg 0.555mg Turkey bacon
Vitamin B6 0.244mg 0.266mg Pork bacon
Folate 10µg 0µg Turkey bacon
Vitamin B12 1.19µg 0.5µg Turkey bacon
Vitamin K µg 0µg Pork bacon
Tryptophan mg 0.15mg Pork bacon
Threonine mg 0.555mg Pork bacon
Isoleucine mg 0.598mg Pork bacon
Leucine mg 1.039mg Pork bacon
Lysine mg 1.123mg Pork bacon
Methionine mg 0.346mg Pork bacon
Phenylalanine mg 0.524mg Pork bacon
Valine mg 0.638mg Pork bacon
Histidine mg 0.513mg Pork bacon
Cholesterol 86mg 66mg Pork bacon
Trans Fat 0.184g 0.133g Pork bacon
Saturated Fat 4.52g 13.296g Turkey bacon
Monounsaturated Fat 6.223g 17.439g Pork bacon
Polyunsaturated fat 4.699g 6.454g Pork bacon

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Turkey bacon Pork bacon
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
33
Turkey bacon
29
Pork bacon
Mineral Summary Score
56
Turkey bacon
30
Pork bacon

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
96%
Turkey bacon
76%
Pork bacon
Carbohydrates
2%
Turkey bacon
1%
Pork bacon
Fats
78%
Turkey bacon
183%
Pork bacon

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Turkey bacon
Turkey bacon is lower in Sugar (difference - 1g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Turkey bacon
Turkey bacon is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 8.776g)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Turkey bacon
Turkey bacon is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sodium?
Pork bacon
Pork bacon contains less Sodium (difference - 407mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Pork bacon
Pork bacon is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 20mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes ()
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Turkey bacon - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174592/nutrients
  2. Pork bacon - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168277/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.