Using healthy and bacon in the same sentence can be considered a white lie. Taking it in smaller amounts helps you benefit more from the vitamins and minerals. However, there are ways you can ensure to get the healthiest bacon in the batch. Being keen on the ingredients and the type of cut will give you more health benefits and tastiness from the bacon.
Nutritionists identify a lot of fat, sodium, and nitrate as some of the unhealthy ingredients in bacon. Sodium and nitrates help in their preservation and taste. But you must limit or eliminate these elements to make your bacon healthy and more enjoyable. Check out these healthy bacon tips and treats.
Processing plants and factories use artificial curing nitrites to preserve the bacon’s flavor, freshness, and appearance. It keeps the bacon pink and prevents foul odors using a combination of nitrites, salt (sodium), and smoke.
The type of curing material used affects the healthiness and risks of consuming bacon. A high amount of artificial nitrites usually has, though not scientifically proven, carcinogenic properties.
Ensure you cook your bacon without too much heat to prevent converting the nitrites to nitrosamines which could be carcinogenic. Cook it at low temperatures for longer to avoid burning and maintain its flavor.
Getting uncured bacon eliminates the sodium and nitrites, shaving off the extra sodium and unwanted nitrites. Experts turned to naturally occurring nitrates like those from celery to cre their bacon and improve their health benefits to the consumer.
Center-cut bacon has less fat, making it healthier than regular long bacon strips. Most people enjoy the rendered fat and flavor of the traditional strips, but the amount of fat isn’t ideal for your health. Center-cut bacon has approximately 25% less fat than regular bacon. Shaving off this extra fat allows you to enjoy the bacon’s beauty and flavor as your guilty pleasure.
Regular bacon has more fat in the ends, which gets rendered when cooking, unlike center-cut bacon, where the fat has been cut off and is leaner. The fat at the center gets cut off about a half inch from the top and bottom. It’s of higher quality and often more expensive than regular-cut bacon.
Smaller portions also mean that you’ll have less sodium in your bacon, improving its healthiness.
Turkey bacon is a healthier and non-pork alternative to pork bacon. Turkey bacon consists of ground turkey meat processed and mixed with seasonings and preservatives to resemble bacon strips. Some processors use dark-colored meats to bring the contrast to regular bacon, making it look the part.
Turkey bacon has fewer calories and fats than regular pork bacon but has more carbs which can be a downside. It’s a good alternative for those who don’t do pork meats but has more sodium, sugars, and preservatives used in processing. It’s easy to prepare as you can bake, pan-fry, or microwave the bacon like regular pork bacon.
Low Sodium Bacon
Bacon is generally unhealthy because of the number of fats, sodium, and nitrites in the sliced meat during processing. The meat gets cured with a lot of salt, which makes it an unhealthy choice, especially for people with high blood pressure with special diets that avoid sodium.
Reducing the sodium content of bacon makes it healthier and better to consume. Sodium in bacon is mostly in trans and saturated fat. Reducing their content minimizes the amount of sodium in your bacon. Taking fewer slices of lower-sodium bacon helps you balance your meals’ nutritional, health, and flavor value.
The bad news is that most bacon types don’t meet the FDA standards of low sodium consumption in their products. But they certainly have a lower sodium content than regular bacon, so bacon with low sodium is labeled lower sodium, not low sodium.
There are various organic bacon types and brands like the Applegate and Niman Ranch. These brands use antibiotic-free meats and better farming and environmental practices for their organic (traditional) bacon. For example, Applegate slowly cooks their bacon meat to create a delicious and juicy one for anyone who consumes it.
Some Applegate bacon types have no sugar and preservatives making them perfect for those going for healthier bacon. Manufacturers don’t use additional chemicals, presenting them naturally, carrying the bacon’s pork, meaty, and fatty flavors.
Plant-based bacon, made from plant-based meats, makes up for a tasty vegan bacon option for vegans. Some types consist of wheat gluten (seitan) or white rice flour with other additives and flavorings that improve the taste and chewiness of the bacon.
The nutrition stats of plant-based bacon show it is higher in protein and fiber. However, their fat and cholesterol content is close to none. It’s slightly more beneficial than regular bacon because of the fat and sodium content, but nutritionists deem it to have a high-calorie content like pork bacon.
What Is the Healthiest Bacon?
There’s no utterly healthy bacon, but there are variants of healthy bacon in the market based on the contents of the ingredients, brand, and type of bacon. Many nutritionists share tips on consuming the most nutritious bacon, like local, uncured, low-sodium bacon, like nitrite-free turkey bacon.
What Is the Least Processed Bacon?
Uncured bacon is the least processed bacon as it doesn’t have additional nitrites and sodium used to preserve the taste and appearance of the bacon.
Is Turkey Bacon Healthier Than Regular Bacon?
Turkey bacon is healthier than regular bacon, with 20% less cholesterol and fewer fats.
Is No Nitrate Bacon Healthier?
Yes. No nitrate bacon is healthier than other types of bacon because experts believe that cooking these minerals in high temperatures could breed carcinogenic elements in your body. Nutritionists deem artificial nitrates riskier than natural nitrites; thus, there is more exploration to using natural nitrates like those from celery.