It’s 2015 and I still get emails from people telling me about the turkey bacon they’re eating. You know, “for health reasons.” Something about it being lower in calories and saturated fat. 

But calories and fat, especially saturated fat, are not real qualifiers for determining if a food is healthy. The body needs both fat and calories. And when it comes to fat, it especially needs saturated fat. Cholesterol is the building block of hormones.

I much prefer to use different qualifiers. The first being, “how close to real is this food?”

Pork bacon is as close real as it gets, especially if it comes from a pastured animal. They slice it up and cure it.

Turkey bacon is far from real. It’s an imitation bacon made from chopped, mechanically separated, and reformed turkey that often contains a lot of additives and preservatives.

Poultry ingredients (Turkey, Mechanically Separated Turkey), Water, Salt, Sugar, Contains 2% or less of Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavor, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite.

Should bacon ever have canola oil in it?

Canola oil is often added to processed foods. It’s high in PUFAs that aren’t particularly healthy—something we should be trying to limit. While you’re not going to be getting a ton of canola oil in turkey bacon (such as when you cook with it or it’s added to salad dressings), it’s still a ridiculous and destructive added ingredient.

But that’s not the only area where turkey bacon loses out.

  • Turkey bacon has sugar in it (not evil, just unnecessary).
  • Turkey bacon has less protein.
  • Turkey bacon has far more O6 fats.
  • Turkey bacon is devoid of the essential amino acids that pork bacon is loaded with.

The bottom line is that turkey bacon is a poorly manufactured food. If you like bacon, then just eat the real stuff. And stop pretending that imitation foods are healthier than the real thing.

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