Is Turkey Bacon Healthy When You Are Trying to Lose Weight?

Turkey bacon is healthier than regular bacon when you're trying to lose weight and reduce your chronic-disease risks. Additionally, turkey bacon provides you with numerous essential nutrients that are beneficial during weight loss. Because turkey bacon is high in sodium, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, however, eat it in moderation and choose reduced-sodium turkey bacon.

Limit bacon intake to reduce chronic disease risks. (Image: MOHAMMED MORADALIZADEH/iStock/Getty Images)

Weight-Loss Basics

Reduce calorie intake through healthy eating. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Regardless of what you eat during weight loss, your total calorie intake is what determines your weight-loss success. Eating 500 to 1,000 fewer calories than you burn off daily helps you shed 1 to 2 pounds weekly -- which is safe, effective and helps you keep lost weight off long-term, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For many adults, eating 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day is often effective, suggests the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Nutrients in Bacon

Turkey bacon is rich in protein. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Turkey bacon is a rich source of dietary protein – which is beneficial during weight loss. Although turkey bacon is lower in calories than regular bacon, turkey bacon is not a low-calorie food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 1/2 cup of cooked turkey bacon contains 157 calories and provides about 12 grams of dietary protein. Protein-rich foods are useful during weight loss because they increase satiety and your daily energy expenditure, according to a study published in 2009 in the "Journal of Nutrition."

Sodium Concerns

Eat turkey bacon in moderation. (Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images)

Because turkey bacon is rich in sodium, choose lower-sodium varieties of bacon to help reduce your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. The USDA reports that 1/2 cup of cooked turkey bacon contains about 937 milligrams of sodium, which is almost half of the 2,300-milligram daily allotment suggested by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. But even reduced-sodium bacon is not a low-sodium food -- so eat turkey bacon in moderation during weight loss.

Healthy Alternatives

Chicken breasts are a healthier alternative. (Image: Liv Friis-Larsen/iStock/Getty Images)

Although it's generally OK to include small portions of turkey bacon in a weight-loss meal plan, other protein-rich options contain just much – if not more -- protein but contain fewer calories than turkey bacon– which is beneficial when you're trying to shed pounds. Examples of healthy, low-calorie, protein-rich alternatives to turkey bacon include skinless grilled chicken breast, shrimp, extra-lean ground beef, lean ground turkey, egg whites and low-fat cottage cheese.

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