Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Health-Wise Wednesdays

Topic: Nutrition facts

There was no change for me this week. I weighed exactly the same as I did last Wednesday, which means...I didn't gain any weight!! That's always a positive. Besides, I'm eating healthier and feeling better, and that's what's really important.

I love bacon. Crispy bacon. Pork bacon. I know, many of you are cringing. Too much fat, not good for the arteries, bad food choice. But I just LOVE bacon. Bacon in my morning breakfast sandwich. Bacon on my burger on top of melted cheddar cheese. Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. The list goes on and on.

What is the option? Turkey bacon. Ugh. Let's be honest, turkey bacon is NOT pork bacon. It doesn't look like pork bacon, doesn't curl up like pork bacon, doesn't smell like pork bacon, and doesn't taste like pork bacon. No it doesn't. But it's the healthier alternative everyone turns to. Or is it?

My daughter and I were at Costco this past weekend and went to pick up some bacon. The turkey bacon was right next to the pork bacon, so I decided to look at the nutrition facts. You know what those are, right? That little box on every food item sold that tells us what's in the food we're looking to ingest. Most of the time, we look at what is important to us at the moment. If we're trying to lose weight, we look at the calories or fat content. If we're trying to lower cholesterol, that's what we're checking out. Diabetics want to see the sugar content. I wanted to see the difference between naturally hardwood smoked pork bacon and the turkey stuff.

Calorie-wise, it seemed an easy choice. Pork bacon contains 70 calories, while turkey bacon only has 35. Half the calories sounds a whole lot better. Then I chanced to look at the serving size: 2 skillet cooked slices of pork bacon verses one slice of turkey bacon. Hold on there! That means if I eat only one slice of pork bacon (which is what I put on my morning breakfast sandwich), I'm getting the same calorie count as a slice of turkey bacon. Hmm. No, I said to my daughter, the fat and everything else must be higher on the pork bacon. So we stood there and compared.

Fat content pork bacon: 6 grams for 2 slices. Fat content turkey bacon: 3 grams for 1 slice. No difference there.

Saturated fat pork bacon: 2 grams for 2 slices. Saturated fat turkey bacon: 1 gram for 1 slice. Again, no difference.

Cholesterol pork bacon: 15 mg. for 2 slices. Cholesterol turkey bacon: 15 mg. 1 slice. Think about that a minute. Yeah, turkey bacon was higher in cholesterol. Go figure.

Sodium pork bacon: 290 mg for 2 slices. Sodium for turkey bacon: 180 mg for 1 slice.

Protein pork bacon: 4 grams for 2 slices. Protein turkey bacon: 2 grams for 1 slice.

My daughter and I looked at the two packages, then at each other. The turkey bacon went back to the freezer, and the pork bacon came home with us.

Let's get something straight here: I'm not telling everyone to run to the store, return their turkey bacon and get the "real deal" (though if that makes you happy, go right ahead). What I'm saying here is, don't go by what people tell you is healthier or better for you. The nutritional facts are there; take a few minutes and compare. There may be 2 different brands of the same item, but compared side by side they're totally different nutritionally. The information is right there. Wanna get healthy? Get informed. Being healthy doesn't mean depriving yourself of the foods you love and enjoy. It means looking at the nutritional value, and using the information to make wise choices.

1 comment:

Kristi Lea said...

Good for you!

You're right, turkey bacon isn't pork bacon! I love bacon too. But most of the time, I do turn to turkey bacon. Not for fat or calorie content, but because of the difference in the animals. There are dangerous toxins in pig fat that take a long time to leave the body, so that's why I opt for turkey. I don't get upset when I get to treat myself to the real deal though! Enjoy your bacon!