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Turkey bacon is dark turkey with light meat flavored like bacon and pressed into the shape of bacon. It is a meat that is widely sold as a low-fat alternative to pork bacon. They are made from sliced, shaped, cured, and smoked turkey. It can also be used as a replacement for bacon where the eating of pork is forbidden by religious prohibitions.

Bacon
Cooked Bacon placed in a plate

You can cook it by pan-frying or deep-frying it. Cured turkey bacon derived from dark meat can be free of 90 percent fat. It can be used in the same way as bacon (such as in a BLT sandwich). However, its low-fat content means that it does not shrink when cooked and tends to stick to the pan. This makes deep-frying a quicker and more practical alternative.

Alternative to Pork Bacon

Turkey bacon is lower in fat and calories than pork bacon, but its lower fat content makes it unsuitable for grilling. It became popular in America in the early 1990s as a lower-fat alternative.

It is also an option for people who, for religious or dietary reasons, do not consume pork. To Muslims, pork is haram (not halal), and treyf (not kosher) to Jews. When Beautiful Brands International opened in Saudi Arabia, they had to replace pork bacon with halal turkey bacon in their recipes. It is because the Islamic customs ban the consumption of pork and non-halal meat.

As a healthier alternative to the pork variety that usually graces breakfast tables, some calorie and fat-conscious eaters prefer turkey bacon.

Nutritional Content of Turkey Bacon

Turkey BaconPork Bacon
Calories6082
Carbs0.5 grams0.2 grams
Protein4.7 grams6 grams
Total fat4.5 grams6.2 grams
Saturated fat1.3 grams2 grams
Sodium366 mg376 mg
Selenium6% of the DV14% of the DV
Phosphorus7% of the DV8% of the DV
Zinc3% of the DV4% of the DV
Niacin3% of the DV8% of the DV
Thiamine1% of the DV4% of the DV
Vitamin B63% of the DV4% of the DV
Vitamin B121% of the DV4% of the DV

It contains fewer calories and less fat than pork bacon. Since, turkey is leaner than pork belly.

Both products come from animal proteins. So, B vitamins and minerals such as zinc, selenium, and phosphorus are relatively more.

Since, bacon is typically consumed in small serving sizes. So, none of the vitamins and minerals present in two slices of turkey bacon exceed 10% of DV.

In addition, most bacon, whether made of turkey or pork, has added sugar unless it is labeled as no added sugar.

Bacon
Salad made with vegetables and bacon slices

Many, but not all, turkey and pork bacon products often contain synthetic preservatives. This slows spoilage, enhances the meat’s pink color, and contributes to taste, especially nitrates or nitrites.

Natural or organic products are unable to use artificial preservatives. But, instead, they frequently use celery powder as a preservative. It is a natural source of nitrates.

Health Benefits of Turkey Bacon

There are plenty of health benefits of this variety of bacon. You must still consume it in moderation to avoid high amount of saturated fats in it.

Fewer Calories than Pork Bacon

It has about 25% fewer calories and 35% less saturated fat than pork bacon. This makes it a common alternative for individuals who track their consumption of calories or fat. However, with 30 calories per slice, more than half of which comes from fat, it’s still a relatively high-calorie snack.

You should also eat it in moderation, though it might be lower in calories than pork bacon.

A Good Option for Those Who Don’t Eat Pork

Some persons, like those with pork allergies or intolerances and those who prohibit it for religious or health purposes, do not eat pork.

It can be a decent alternative if you avoid pork. Turkey bacon does not have the same taste and texture as pork bacon. It still has a smoky, salty, meaty flavor that many enjoy.

Varieties of Turkey Bacon

Two kinds of turkey bacon are available, and they come from different parts of the bird.

The first is derived from white and dark ground meats from different parts of the turkey. It is brined and cut into strips with this mixture.

The second version of turkey bacon is created from turkey thighs with larger chunks of dark meat. They are tumbled into a flavoring solution until they cohere into a mass. It is then sliced and packaged with this mass.

Storage and Food Safety

Bacon from Turkey must be kept in the refrigerator. It should be cooked at a higher temperature than pork because it is poultry. When it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, poultry is considered healthy to eat. However, pork only needs to be cooked to 145 degrees. Check for safe handling directions on the packaging label; these are allowed by the US law.

How to Prepare

In general, the same way you can cook pork bacon, you can cook turkey bacon. Pan-frying, baking, and microwaving are all recommended. However, the amount of time needed to cook turkey bacon to doneness can vary from pork. So, be sure to obey the package directions.

Bacon
Crispy bacon on a salad of cauliflower and tomato.

If you have only ever used the traditional variety of pork bacon, cooking with turkey bacon may require a bit of a learning curve. In several recipes, although it can easily stand-in for pork bacon, don’t expect it to be a perfect replacement. It does not become as crispy as pork due to its lower fat content, and may not crumble as easily.

Nevertheless, for a salty, meaty taste with fewer calories and fat, it’s a choice worth exploring.

Allergies

For most people, it is doubtful that it would cause any allergenic reactions. You will enjoy turkey bacon if you can eat both turkey meat and pork bacon without a problem. For those with food sensitivities, however, some additives can pose problems.

Don’t eat turkey bacon if you know that you need to stop synthetic nitrates. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider when in doubt.

Adverse Effects

Its nitrate content is a common concern many people have with standard bacon. They are converted to compounds called nitrates. They have been connected to cancer, as these preservatives enter the body.

All kinds of bacon, including turkey, are treated with nitrates, whether synthetic or “natural” forms, such as celery juice. The body does not discriminate between synthetic nitrates and naturally occurring nitrates. So, it doesn’t matter what form you consume. However, on the plus side, scientists are still determining precisely whether nitrates are the real underlying link between processed meats.

Some claim that it’s the heme iron and high cooking temperatures that make bacon carcinogenic, rather than nitrates. The lower content of heme iron in Turkish bacon may mean it is less carcinogenic than pork.

Choose the Best Turkey Bacon

Follow these tips for the healthiest result if you want turkey bacon:

  • Pick types of reduced-sodium.
  • During the cooking process, don’t add salt.
  • Use an indoor grill (do not pan-fry) that allows fat to drip off.
  • During cooking, do not add oil or butter.
  • To absorb excess fat, drain cooked bacon on a paper towel.

Conclusion

It has significantly fewer calories and fat than pork bacon. Hence, it can be a better choice for individuals who can’t eat pork or on special diets.

bacon
Freshly cut slices of Bacon

However, it is processed meat with less protein and more sugar added than standard bacon. It contains preservatives that have been associated with an increased risk of cancer. While more natural alternatives can be found, it’s still best to enjoy turkey bacon in moderation.

Common Questions

Is turkey bacon better for cholesterol?

Turkey bacon may seem like a healthier option and it has become a bit more popular.

What is the healthiest bacon?

Fear not, though, lovers of bacon, there are a few healthy alternatives out there that still taste fantastic. Uncured, reduced-sodium center cut bacon is your best bacon choice.

Is Turkey Bacon a carcinogen?

The World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a carcinogen. It cites “convincing evidence” that it causes cancer, a category that covers all forms of bacon.

Why is Turkey bad for you?

Products from processed turkey can be high in sodium and detrimental to health. Many types of meat that are processed are smoked or made with sodium nitrites.

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