The Great Bacon Debate: Turkey vs. Regular

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:

CALS Fat Sat
Chol Sodium Carb Fiber Protein
Oscar Meyer
Turkey Bacon
70 6g 2g 30mg 360mg 0g 0g 4g
Jennie-O Extra Lean
Turkey Bacon
40 1g 0g 20mg 280mg 0g 0g 6g
Applegate Farms
Turkey Bacon
35 1.5g 0g 25mg 200mg 0g 0g 6g
Oscar Meyer
Regular Bacon
70 6g 2g 15mg 220mg 0g 0g 4g
Applegate Farms
Sunday Bacon
60 5g 2g 10mg 290mg 0g 0g 4g
Low Sodium Bacon
80 7g 3g 15mg 230mg 0g 0g 5g

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.

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