Americans have long lived in a culinary mystery. Many of us love the bacon in a disturbing measure. However, many also realize that constantly running down on (delicious) animal fats and salt is not the best health measure. In the early 1990s, food manufacturers proposed a solution to this problem: turkey bacon, which allows health-conscious consumers to quench their thirst for (coarse) bacon flavor, while at the same time taking advantage of the leaner health benefits of lean meat.
But is turkey bacon really healthier than traditional pork belly bacon? Certainly, we are now used to stories that purportedly debunk healthier dietary options and show how selectively their health care profiles are marketed. To find out the truth, we turned to a number of health and nutrition experts and reviewed the information about traditional bacon versus turkey ham. And the truth, as it turns out, is rather complicated ̵
Before we concentrate on the essentials, we first want to find out what bacon and turkey ham actually are . As meat scientist Janeal Yancey, a research associate at the University of Arkansas, explains, bacon is a specific part of the meat from the fat belly of a pig, which is then "cured, smoked and sliced". "The turkeys also have technical bellies, but you can not really get meat from them. "Turkey bacon," adds Yancey, "is made from Turkey's light and dark meat [ground-up]." This meat is flavored to taste and compressed so that it looks just like a sliced pork belly. "It's really more of a sausage with thin slices," argues Yancey, one who happens to be so fond of mimicking pork bacon.
As one might expect from a glimpse of the health profiles of red and white meat, comparing two similar cuts between bacon and turkey bacon shows a better macronutrient profile. Sure, pork bacon contains more protein as well as vitamin B and selenium. (I will not give exact numbers here for reasons that will become clear later.)
But it is also higher in calories, calories from fat, saturated fat and sodium – and high saturated fat intake seems to be at least for many people while sodium is associated with high blood pressure (and related heart problems) and kidney stones.
In the same comparison of similar average slices, turkey bacon (19459003) appears to have a small advantage over cancer risks, although this is certainly difficult to determine.
Of course, in 2015, the World Health Organization stated what earlier research had suggested: regular consumption of processed meat can increase the risk of people getting colorectal cancer. (As noted by Men's Health at this time, the risk referred to in this report is indeed quite low. The report and the risk of cancer have raised concerns for consumers stimulated a few weeks, but does not seem to have any real impact on the processed meat market as a whole.)
Other studies have linked processed meat to asthma, heart failure, kidney stones and migraine. Reports from 2015 have been eager to point out that both bacon and turkey ham are processed meat – like half of all meat consumed in industrialized countries today, given the broad definition of "processed".
The study, However, it has not been established exactly what leads to increased cancer risk with processed meat. The debates on this topic are still big. For example, it may be due to the compounds that arise when smoking, some think. This could also be due to the use of nitrates, substances that occur naturally in many plants and animals, but are added to meat for rapid curing. By interacting with this meat and our digestive system, nitrates can form dangerous compounds that have long been considered likely carcinogens. (The health effects of nitrates are particularly controversial.)
There are few studies comparing the different processed meats for their cancer or other health risks. (In particular, the National Cancer Institute said that they did not know any definitive research on this topic.) Some researchers, such as Yancey, doubt that there is enough difference between bacon and turkey bacon as processed food to distinguish it from cancer risk.
However, taking into account that red meat has a higher cancer risk than white meat, other experts believe that turkey bacon has a slightly lower risk profile. (Yes, clever "other white meat" marketing campaigns aside, pork is still technically a red meat.)
Food scientist Lorraine Kearney warns again, it's worth bearing in mind that flavoring, coloring, and preservatives add to turkey ham It could look, smell and taste like bacon can cause discomfort. Symptoms may include inflammation, gas or nausea when some people are sensitive to them or when they are consumed in a processed, heavily prepared, unbalanced diet.
But the comparison between bacon and turkey ham is rarely so easy. Bacon is available in different cuts. High-quality, mid-cut bacon is typically significantly slimmer than other cuts. It can also be produced without nitrates (although much nitrate-free labeling is misleading in the US), with low sodium content, and from animals that have themselves received healthier diets. "Drugs, hormones, and antibiotics that are given to pigs in some industrial pig farms," says Tamar Samuels, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, "are actually stored in the fat of the animal."
in the meat mix, their origin and the number of fillers and flavorings added, although Kearney notes that it is much easier to find pork bacon with fewer additives than turkey bacon. Different cooking styles can also lead to different health profiles. For example, you can make pork bacon in ways that help reduce its fatness or increase fat-and possibly also the risk of cancer.
Such a comparison between a pure, sliced bacon sliced from the middle of a healthy pig's stomach and cooked low in fat and a cheap fat filled and fried broiler breast in fat may not be favorable in one or more aspects his. However, it is difficult to say in what respect this bacon could overtake this turkey bacon, unless you know exactly which brands and preparations of each bacon type you want to stack on top of each other.
Which bacon is healthier also depends on who asks. As Samuel points out, we all respond to the same foods that differ somewhat in terms of our genetics, hormone levels, microbiome, and our other diets and ways of life. In some people, there is an increased risk of nitrates, saturated fats or sodium than others, she explains. Others, Yancey adds, would not necessarily have to eat a few slices of fatty, salty pork bacon – and they could benefit if their primary health concerns low-carbohydrate proteins effect their diets.
"If you're healthy," argues Samuels, "you have a healthy overall diet and lifestyle, and you're not genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or colorectal cancer. You can consume two slices of bacon a with scoop a few days a week. "The fact that this bacon contains more fat and sodium than turkey bacon makes virtually no difference. Some vegetables suggest that the vegetables in addition to the bacon even limits the effects on the risk of cancer.
However, if you eat four or more pieces of bacon every day and are prone to sodium or are already in a risk of colorectal cancer, you can benefit by swapping the pork belly for a lean and relatively lean body of unadulterated turkey bacon – but only slightly. As Hope Warshaw, nutritionist and author of Eat Out, Eat Well: The Guide to Healthy Eating in a Restaurant points out, that even the turkey bacon does not have as much nutritional value.
"While turkey ham may contain slightly less calories, fat and saturated fats," she says, "the differences are marginal." In this case, one should focus more on shaking up the profile of their meals rather than just a mega-load to change the processed food for a healthier option.
Unfortunately, turkey bacon often encourages people to do the opposite as consumers tend to confuse the concept of a relatively healthy option with the concept of a definitely healthy one . Option. Because they think it's healthy, Kearney says, "people will move to it three or four times a week and get turkey bacon" more often than they bacon themselves – which has a negative impact.
As frustrating as it may be, there is no definitive answer to the big, old question of which bacon is healthier. The answer depends on who asks the questions – what health concerns and goals they have and what the relationship to bacon and the general diet look like. and what specific types and brands of pork or turkey ham they look at.
"Everyone has to find a balance between foods that support their health and foods that they like," says Samuels, "and it looks different for everyone." However, finding the balance is relatively easy As for you and accordingly, which bacon you should buy: Go to a doctor and find out if you have major health concerns.
As it sounds, you should listen to your body and find out if it feels uncomfortable after a meal. Until then, you should not rely solely on heuristics when shopping – such as the word "turkey" or a label like "sodium poverty". Look at the ingredient list and the nutrition label. Avoid the things you need to worry about and privilege the ingredients that benefit you. Sometimes this leads to pork bacon and other times to turkey meat.