Pancetta is a type of bacon native to Italy made from pork belly, prepared with powerful spices and salt-cured. It is similar to American strip bacon. Pancetta is sold in slabs or rolls to slice thinly for adding a strong pork flavor to recipes. Several types exist, but pancetta nutrition is similar in each because it is prepared with the same cut of pork.
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To determine the nutrition of pancetta as accurately as possible, you must weigh your serving sizes. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database, one serving of pancetta is 1 ounce of meat. Use a kitchen scale to weigh your pancetta before consuming it, as meat density and curing style make judging by size inaccurate.
One serving of pancetta contains 212 calories on average. Based on a daily recommended intake, or DRI, of 2,000 calories, that is about 10.5 percent of an average total. If you are watching your weight, eating pancetta is an unhealthy way to spend your daily calories.
Although pancetta is meat, which is known for having high protein, one serving contains just 1.5 grams of protein. An average DRI of protein is around 50 grams. If you're interested in increasing protein intake, pancetta is not a good choice for doing so; it should be replaced with a healthier meat, such as chicken, for more nutritional benefit.
Pork belly is not a lean cut of meat. One serving of pancetta contains about 22.5 grams of fat. Of those, 8 grams are saturated, 10.5 grams are monounsaturated and 2.5 grams are polyunsaturated. Based on averages, that is more than 51 percent of your DRI for fat. Eating just two servings of pancetta quickly takes you over an average DRI for fat. If you wish to enjoy pancetta, eat it in moderation to prevent overloading your body with fat.
Carbohydrates, Fiber and Sugars
One serving of pancetta does not contain carbohydrates, fiber or sugars. In comparison to other foods, such as nuts, whole grains and lean meats, the lack of these nutrients lessens pancetta’s benefit to your body.
The exact nutritional information of each type of pancetta varies. Check the information on the package, or ask the supplier, for accurate nutrition information about your pancetta. While pancetta creates a powerful flavor in soups, pizzas, pastas and many other dishes, it is a fatty, processed meat. Chicken, beef and other cuts of pork typically add more protein, less fat and less calories to your meals. While consuming pancetta on rare occasions is okay as a treat, avoid it in your regular diet. Processed meats increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to The New York Times. For recipes that call for pancetta, try substituting with bacon- or pork-flavored tofu, minced beef, jerky or marinated chicken breast. You can also use thinly sliced ham in lieu of pancetta for a healthier cut of pork in your dish.