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The Great Bacon Debate: Turkey vs. Regular

Posted Apr 06 2009 7:53am 1 Comment
David Zinczenko, the author of Eat This, Not That, has caused a great bacon debate: which is better - turkey bacon or regular bacon? He even appeared on Oprah asking the audience that very question. His answer? Regular bacon, with the explanation that both kinds of bacon have 70 calories and 6 grams of fat per serving, but turkey bacon has more sodium (around a whopping 360 milligrams of salt).

This has now become a source of controversy and debate, so I've decided to put his statement to the test, and compare 3 brands of both turkey and regular bacon. It is important to note that David used Oscar Mayer's turkey bacon and regular bacon to make his comparison, so I have highlighted those in the chart below:

   CALSFatSat
Fat
Chol Sodium CarbFiberProtein
 TURKEY:          
 Oscar Meyer
Turkey Bacon
706g2g30mg 360mg 0g0g4g
 Jennie-O Extra Lean
Turkey Bacon
401g0g20mg 280mg 0g0g6g
 Applegate Farms
Turkey Bacon
351.5g0g25mg 200mg 0g0g6g
 REGULAR:          
 Oscar Meyer
Regular Bacon
706g2g15mg 220mg 0g0g4g
 Applegate Farms
Sunday Bacon
605g2g10mg 290mg 0g0g4g
 Hormel
Low Sodium Bacon
807g3g15mg 230mg 0g0g5g



Looking at this chart, we see that although David was right in his comparison, he didn't take into account the fact that the results vary from brand to brand. Clearly, the Jennie-O and Applegate Farms turkey bacon brands have WAY fewer calories and fat, and NO saturated fat. Jennie-O has a little more sodium than Oscar Mayer regular bacon, but Applegate Farms turkey bacon actually has less. Also, David didn't mention protein. You get 2 more grams of protein with Jennie-O and Applegate Farms turkey bacon. Why isn't that in his analysis? Protein is VERY important!

The question should not be if turkey bacon or regular bacon is better...the question should be which BRANDS of bacon are the best? They vary so much that it is impossible to make a blanket statement and be truly accurate.

For me, I'm sticking with Jennie-O - it tastes great, has no saturated fat, is higher in protein and has only marginally higher sodium. It also has a great price, too, whereas Applegate Farms is pretty expensive. If you need to cut out cholesterol, looks like you better switch to veggie bacon strips!

------------------------------------------------

IMPORTANT NOTE: In this comparison chart, the information for the turkey bacon is for a double serving size. This is because turkey bacon packages list the nutritional information for only one slice, whereas regular bacon packages list the information for 2 slices. Also, if you look at the listed weights for turkey bacon, they are around 14 grams (the same as for regular bacon). However, this is the RAW weight. For regular bacon, the information listed is the cooked weight. When you cook turkey bacon, the weight goes down by 1/2, making it so that you are getting half as much food as the turkey bacon label would lead you to believe. Very DECEPTIVE labeling, but I think that is a topic for another article.

To see all of Calorista's healthier-option, low calorie food comparisons and articles, click here.

Comments (1)
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The difference in calories vs. sacrificing flavors really isn't worth it.  The Jennie O cooked up into a substance much like a rawhide I give my dog.  If fat is a concern, don't eat bacon everyday. Moderation is better than eating garbage disguised as healthy food. Eating should be an enjoyable experience, not torture.
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