Putting together your weight loss diet can be a challenge with all the options. What about bacon, is it good for weight loss or fattening?
Bacon is the general name for a popular type of salt-cured pork meat. You can also make bacon from other types of meat like turkey but unless specified otherwise the name bacon is used for the pork version.
When talking about the nutritional values of meat you have to keep in mind that different parts of different animals have different values. And not only that, meat from the same area from an animal in the same species can have different nutrition contents because of what they ate and genetic differences (1, 2).
That being said by looking at a nutrition value example of bacon you can get a general view of how good this meat is for weight loss.
While bacon can help you consume more protein, vitamins, and minerals, most people want to choose other types of meat than bacon when trying to lose weight. Nonetheless, you can certainly still lose weight while eating bacon.
If you do decide to eat bacon make sure you check the nutrition label of store-bought bacon. Some brands add ingredients that are not very weight loss friendly.
You also have to keep in mind the high sodium content of bacon. If your diet is already high in sodium it might not be smart to eat more bacon on top of that.
Micronutrients in bacon
The first thing to look at are the micronutrients in bacon.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of pan-fried bacon provides you with approximately (3):
- Sodium: 101% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Selenium: 93% of the DV
- Niacin: 58% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 56% of the DV
- Thiamin: 31% of the DV
- Zinc: 24% of the DV
- Vitamin B12: 22% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 19% of the DV
- Potassium: 17% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 16% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 13% of the DV
- Magnesium: 9% of the DV
- Iron: 8% of the DV
- Copper: 7% of the DV
And a few other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. That is a high amount of vitamins and minerals compared to a lot of whole foods.
Bacon alone will likely not be enough to hit your daily vitamin and mineral goals but it can help you a lot with that.
You do have to keep in mind that overdoing it with certain vitamins and minerals is not good either. In the case of bacon the main mineral to keep in mind is sodium.
Consuming too much sodium may cause negative side effects. If you already get a lot of sodium from your current diet adding bacon on top of that might not be a smart idea.
Protein in bacon for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Pan-fried bacon contains about 38.3 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, salmon contains around 25.4 grams per 100 grams (4).
That is a very high amount of protein per 100 grams compared to many other protein sources.
Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Since muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day this is a big plus for protein and bacon for weight loss.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Will bacon help you lose weight?
To know whether or not you can eat bacon while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in bacon.
Pan-fried bacon contains around 533 calories per 100 grams. As good as all of these calories come from fat and protein.
This makes bacon a good option for low carb diets like the keto diet. Keep in mind that too much protein can also kick you out of ketosis.
The amount of calories in bacon is rather high compared to a lot of other meats and just foods in general.
On the one hand you have these awesome amounts of micronutrients and protein but on the other hand, you have this large amount of calories.
All in all, you should be able to fit bacon into a weight loss diet, there are worse food options. However, there are many better options too, even in the meat category. Most people likely want to stay away from bacon when trying to lose weight.
One thing to remember is that you don’t have to go for the full 100 grams of bacon every day. A few strips of bacon could be enough to provide you with some great nutrients without skyrocketing the number of calories you consume every day.
Depending on your current diet a certain amount of bacon can help you lose weight by helping you feel fuller and helping you consume more protein. This can help you avoid high-calorie foods that may interfere with your weight loss and benefit muscle building and retention.
Even though it is generally filling, it is certainly possible to eat bacon to the point it becomes fattening.
Besides weight loss details bacon has high levels of sodium in it. Consuming too much sodium may cause negative side effects. If you already get a lot of sodium from your current diet adding bacon on top of that might not be a smart idea for your health.
Pork bacon vs turkey bacon
Because pork bacon is generally not very weight loss friendly, many people turn to turkey bacon. Is turkey bacon really that much better than regular bacon and if so, exactly how much?
If you look at the calorie amounts you can see that turkey bacon contains a lot fewer calories. Regular pan-fried pork bacon contains around 533 calories per 100 grams vs the 382 calories per 100 grams of turkey bacon (5).
Regular pork bacon contains around 38.3 grams of protein per 100 grams, turkey bacon 29.6 grams which is a lot less. Regular pork bacon also contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than turkey bacon.
Whether regular pork bacon or turkey bacon is better for weight loss will vary from individual situation to individual situation. If you have no problem consuming enough protein, vitamins, and minerals, turkey bacon is likely the better option when trying to lose weight.