Is Turkey Bacon Good for You? Uncovering the Facts

You may have heard that turkey bacon is a healthier alternative to traditional pork bacon. But is it really? Turkey bacon is often promoted as a better choice for those who are health-conscious or have special dietary needs. In this article, we will explore the health benefits and nutritional value of turkey bacon, looking at whether or not it’s a good choice for you.

One of the main concerns people have about bacon in general is its high saturated fat and sodium content. You might wonder if swapping out pork bacon for turkey makes a significant difference in your diet. We will break down the nutritional profiles of both turkey and pork bacon, as well as the vitamins, minerals, and other benefits they may provide.

Finally, we will dive into how to choose the best turkey bacon, taking into account any concerns you might have about additives or allergenic ingredients. By the end of this article, you will have a clearer understanding of whether or not turkey bacon should be part of your meals when seeking to improve your health.

What is Turkey Bacon?

Is Turkey Bacon Good for You

Turkey bacon is a popular alternative to traditional pork bacon. It is made from turkey and was developed to cater to people looking for a healthier option or those who don’t consume pork for dietary or religious reasons. Similar to pork bacon, turkey bacon can provide you with a high amount of protein and other important nutrients.

To make turkey bacon, manufacturers use both light and dark meat from the turkey. The meat is initially ground and then mixed with seasonings and preservatives. This mixture is formed into a loaf, which is smoked and cooked to give it a bacon-like flavor and texture. After cooking, it is sliced into thin strips, similar to pork bacon.

Market Forms

You can find turkey bacon in various forms at your local grocery store. Some of the most common include:

  • Precooked: Sold in airtight packages and only require reheating to be consumed.
  • Raw: Requires cooking before eating, may take a bit more time to prepare compared to precooked.
  • Low-sodium: For those looking to further reduce their sodium intake, this option provides a healthier alternative.

Ways of Cooking

There’s a variety of ways to cook turkey bacon for your meals, such as:

  1. Pan-frying: Place the strips in a pan, cook over medium heat until crispy, turning occasionally. This method mimics the texture of pork bacon.
  2. Microwave: Placing the strips on a paper towel, cook on high for about 1-2 minutes per slice. This method is quick and convenient, though may not provide the crispy texture that pan-frying does.
  3. Oven-baking: Arrange the strips on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F (190°C) for about 15 minutes until crispy. This method can help reduce the amount of fat during cooking as the excess fat tends to drip off onto the baking sheet.


When evaluating turkey bacon, it’s essential to consider the ingredients that make up its composition. This section will outline some of the key components:

  • Protein sources: Turkey bacon is primarily made from dark meat, which is typically leaner than pork belly used in traditional bacon.
  • Seasonings: Various seasonings are added to turkey bacon to provide flavor, such as salt, sugar, and spices.
  • Vegetables: Some recipes may include vegetable-derived ingredients like celery powder or lettuce, which gives turkey bacon different flavors and textures.
  • Preservatives: Like its pork counterpart, turkey bacon may contain additives and preservatives, such as nitrates and nitrites. These help to extend the product’s shelf life and maintain the desired color.

It’s important to remember that the specific ingredients and nutrition values of turkey bacon may vary depending on the brand and recipe used. To get a better understanding of a particular product’s composition, always consult the packaging and read the ingredient label carefully.

Remember, turkey bacon is not just about the ingredients themselves, but also the way they are combined and processed.

Nutrition Information

When considering turkey bacon as part of your diet, it’s essential to look at its nutritional content. Here are some key nutrients and their values found in a 2-ounce serving of turkey bacon:

  • Calories: 218 calories
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Sodium: High sodium content, added as a natural preservative and flavor.
  • Carbohydrates: Almost no carbohydrates, as turkey bacon is 100% meat
  • Protein: 4.8 grams per 2 slices

Turkey bacon’s lower fat content compared to pork bacon can make it an attractive option for those looking to reduce their overall fat intake. The lower calorie count can also be appealing, although the difference between turkey and pork bacon calorie-wise is not significant.

Keep in mind that despite its lower fat content, turkey bacon typically has a high sodium content. Consuming high amounts of sodium can contribute to potential health issues, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Although turkey bacon lacks significant amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, and sugars, it does provide a decent amount of protein, which is essential for muscle repair and overall health.

While turkey bacon doesn’t have an extensive list of vitamins and minerals, it does offer some nutritional benefits. However, there are healthier options available if you are looking for a protein source that is rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, potassium, B vitamins, phosphorus, and niacin.

Always consider your nutritional needs and goals when choosing turkey bacon or any other food as part of your diet.

Health Benefits of Turkey Bacon

Reduced Sodium Content

Turkey bacon is a good alternative to pork bacon, especially if you are watching your sodium intake. Opt for reduced-sodium turkey bacon to keep your salt consumption within the recommended limit. Consuming less sodium in your diet helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Lower Saturated Fat Content

By choosing turkey bacon, you are consuming 25% fewer calories and 35% less saturated fat than pork bacon. This can be beneficial if you are watching your calorie or fat intake. Reducing saturated fat consumption promotes better heart health and weight management.

Rich in Minerals

Turkey bacon is a good source of essential minerals such as zinc and selenium. Zinc helps maintain a healthy immune system, while selenium acts as an antioxidant to defend your body against oxidative stress.

Vitamin B Complex

Packed with B vitamins, turkey bacon can help you maintain optimal energy levels and support various metabolic processes in your body. Vitamin B12, in particular, is essential for nerve function, red blood cell formation, and maintaining healthy brain function.

Remember, it’s important to consume turkey bacon in moderation, as it still contains sodium and can contribute to your overall fat intake. Enjoy the benefits of turkey bacon by incorporating it into your diet, along with other nutritious food options.

Pros and Cons of Turkey Bacon

When considering turkey bacon as a part of your diet, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to make an informed decision.


  • Turkey bacon contains fewer calories and lower fat content compared to pork bacon. This can be particularly beneficial if you are trying to manage your weight and control your intake of saturated fats.
  • As a low-fat source of protein, turkey bacon can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of developing health issues related to weight gain.
  • Turkey bacon may also be a healthier choice for those looking to reduce their consumption of red meat, which has been associated with certain health complications such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.


  • Despite having a lower fat content, turkey bacon is still high in saturated fat and sodium. Consuming too much saturated fat can raise your cholesterol levels, increasing your risk of heart disease, while high sodium content can contribute to elevated blood pressure.
  • Turkey bacon is a processed meat, and the World Health Organization has classified processed meats as potentially carcinogenic, meaning they may increase your risk of cancer.
  • Some may argue that the taste of turkey bacon is not as rich or satisfying as that of pork bacon, which could be a downside for those seeking a direct substitute for their traditional bacon preference.

It’s important to balance the pros and cons of incorporating turkey bacon into your diet. While it is a lower calorie, lower-fat alternative to pork bacon, it’s still essential to consume it in moderation due to its high sodium content and potential risks associated with processed meats.

Scientific Studies

You might be wondering how turkey bacon fares in scientific research. Let’s look at some key information regarding its impact on your health.

A notable study mentions that consuming a moderate amount of processed meats, including turkey bacon, has been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. However, the risk of developing cancer varies depending on the amount consumed, with a higher risk associated with a larger intake.

In terms of carbohydrates, turkey bacon is relatively low in carbs, making it suitable for those following a low-carb diet. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that turkey bacon is high in sodium and saturated fats, which can negatively affect your health if consumed in excess.

The World Health Organization classifies processed meats as a Group 1 carcinogen, in the same category as tobacco. It’s important to note that this classification does not mean the cancer risk is equivalent to smoking but rather indicates that the evidence of its carcinogenicity is as strong. As with any processed meat, consuming large amounts of turkey bacon can increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Research also showed that an increased intake of processed meats, including turkey bacon, is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer in women. The link between processed meats and breast cancer emphasizes the importance of monitoring your intake of such products.

By being cautious of your turkey bacon intake, you can find a balance between enjoying the taste and maintaining your health.

What Do Health Experts Say About Turkey Bacon?

When considering whether turkey bacon is a healthier alternative to traditional pork bacon, it’s important to weigh in on the opinion of health experts. Turkey bacon, like pork bacon, is high in saturated fat and sodium. Consuming too much of these substances can put you at a greater risk for developing heart disease.

Although turkey bacon might seem like a healthier option due to its lower calorie and fat content compared to pork bacon, it still has its downsides. Turkey bacon is also a processed meat, which means it could have a negative impact on your overall health if consumed in excess.

Here are some nutritional comparisons between turkey and pork bacon:

Type of BaconCaloriesSaturated Fat (g)Sodium (mg)
Turkey Bacon601.5360
Pork Bacon903.5380

Source: USDA

One concern when consuming turkey bacon is its high sodium content, which can contribute to high blood pressure. To minimize the risk, it’s essential that you stay hydrated and monitor your overall sodium intake. Expert also suggests that turkey bacon might be suitable for people with specific dietary needs, as it contains 25% fewer calories and 35% less fat than pork bacon.

If you’re looking for a more nutritious option, consider Canadian bacon, which is leaner and has a lower amount of saturated fat compared to both turkey and pork bacon. In the end, it is important to consume turkey bacon or any type of bacon in moderation, as part of a balanced diet.

Who Should Avoid It?

Certain individuals should be cautious about consuming turkey bacon, as it may not be the healthiest option for everyone. Here are some groups of people who should avoid turkey bacon:

  • People with high blood pressure: Due to its high sodium content, turkey bacon can contribute to increased blood pressure in some individuals. If you have high blood pressure or are trying to lower your sodium intake, it is best to avoid turkey bacon.
  • Individuals with heart disease: Turkey bacon is processed meat, which is high in saturated fat, and consuming excessive processed meat can contribute to heart disease or worsen existing heart conditions. It’s recommended to limit your consumption of processed meats, including turkey bacon.
  • People at risk for cancer: Although turkey bacon is not red meat, it is a processed meat, and consumption should be limited due to its association with cancer. Opt for leaner protein sources like chicken, fish or plant-based options if you are concerned about your cancer risk.
  • Diabetics: While there is no direct association between turkey bacon and diabetes, consuming processed meats can lead to unhealthy dietary habits and an increased risk of related health conditions. A balanced diet is key to managing diabetes, so make sure to prioritize unprocessed protein sources and whole food options.
  • People with allergies: If you have an allergy or sensitivity to turkey or any of its ingredients, it is a good idea to avoid turkey bacon altogether. Always check food labels to ensure you’re not exposing yourself to potential allergens.

Remember, moderation is crucial when it comes to consuming any processed food, including turkey bacon. It is essential to be aware of your health needs and consult with a healthcare professional to make the best dietary choices for you.

Alternatives to Turkey Bacon

While turkey bacon can be a healthier alternative to regular bacon, there are other options you can consider as well. To get the different nutrients and flavors you may be looking for, here are some alternatives you can try:

  • Poultry: Using chicken or turkey slices–ideally from naturally raised sources–can be a great choice for a healthier alternative to both turkey and pork bacon. These options tend to be lower in sodium and saturated fat.
  • Fish: Fish like salmon and tuna can be excellent sources of healthy fats, protein, and minerals. These alternatives are not only great for overall health but also add unique flavors to your meals.
  • Plant-based bacon: Nowadays, there’s a range of plant-based bacon alternatives on the market, offering a vegetarian or vegan option for those looking to enjoy the smoky, savory taste of bacon without the meat.

Some other ingredients to consider when looking for healthier options:

  • Avocado: Avocado can be a great source of healthy fats and can also be used in place of mayonnaise. It is rich in nutrients and can be added to sandwiches, salads, or even used as a spread.
  • Mayo alternatives: Try using yogurt or mustard instead of mayonnaise, which can help reduce saturated fat and cholesterol in your meals.

Remember that variety is essential for a balanced diet. Exploring these turkey bacon alternatives allows you to enjoy diverse flavors and nutrients, making your meals healthier and more enjoyable.


In summary, turkey bacon can be a somewhat healthier alternative to traditional pork bacon. It contains fewer calories and less saturated fat compared to its pork counterpart.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that it still contains a substantial amount of saturated fat and sodium, which could be detrimental to your health if consumed in excess.

When incorporating turkey bacon into your diet, consider the following tips:

  • Consume it in moderation: Though slightly better than pork bacon, turkey bacon is still not a health food. Don’t assume that it’s okay to eat more significant amounts just because it’s a bit healthier.
  • Opt for low-sodium options: To lower the sodium intake from turkey bacon, look for brands with reduced sodium content.
  • Monitor your overall saturated fat intake: Remember that both types of bacon contribute to your daily saturated fat intake, so keep an eye on the total amount you’re consuming from all food sources.
  • Incorporate healthier protein sources: While turkey bacon can be an occasional part of your meal plan, don’t forget to include other, healthier protein sources like lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, and nuts.

By keeping these points in mind, you can make more informed choices when deciding whether or not to include turkey bacon in your diet. Remember that balance and moderation are key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


Is turkey bacon healthier than pork bacon?

Yes, turkey bacon is generally considered healthier than pork bacon. This is because it contains fewer calories and less fat than pork bacon. For example, a 2-ounce serving of turkey bacon has 218 calories and 14 grams of fat, while the same serving of pork bacon has 268 calories and 22 grams of fat.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that turkey bacon is still a processed meat, and moderation is key.

Does turkey bacon have a high sodium content?

Turkey bacon does have a significant amount of sodium, which varies depending on how it’s preserved and processed. It can contain up to about 328 milligrams of sodium per serving, which is 14% of the recommended daily amount (RDA). If you’re watching your sodium intake or have dietary restrictions, it’s essential to choose lower-sodium options when available.

What are the nutritional benefits of turkey bacon?

Turkey bacon offers a decent amount of protein, with 4.8 grams per serving. Protein is key for muscle growth, tissue repair, and overall health. However, it’s crucial to balance your protein intake with other essential nutrients, as turkey bacon isn’t the most nutrient-dense option available.

Is it okay to include turkey bacon in my diet?

Yes, it is okay to include turkey bacon in your diet, but it’s crucial to do so in moderation. Turkey bacon can be a good fit for those with special dietary needs, as it offers fewer calories and fat than pork bacon.

However, since it is still a processed meat, it should not be relied upon as a primary protein source. Opt for more natural, unprocessed sources of protein whenever possible, and enjoy turkey bacon as an occasional treat.

Remember, every individual’s dietary needs and preferences are different. Be sure to consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to determine the best dietary plan for your specific needs.


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  • Marixie Manarang, MT, undergrad MD

    Marixie Manarang is licensed Medical Laboratory Scientist and an undergraduate of Doctor of Medicine (MD). For one year, she completed her internship training in a government hospital, primarily catering to retired veterans and their dependents. Through her preceptorships in medical school, she gained exposure to patients from various medical departments. Marixie’s passion for writing stems from her excellent medical background, being a mother, and a strong desire to assist the elderly and others in need. Education: Our Lady of Fatima University Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Medicine (2012-2015), Angeles University Foundation Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Medicine (2009-2011), Angeles University Foundation Bachelors, Medical Technology (2004-2009)






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