Can You Eat Turkey Bacon Raw?

by Charlie
Turkey Bacon

Turkey bacon is a product that is usually prepared from chopped, smoked, and improved turkey. It is commonly marketed as an alternative to traditional pork bacon that has a low-fat concentration. 

Besides being used in regular bacon in some dishes, you cannot use it in high-fat content recipes. Some religions may have restrictions forbidding pork consumption; thus, turkey bacon is used as an alternative. 

No matter how tempting your turkey bacon may seem, you might have the question of whether you can eat turkey bacon raw. Yes, you can. Since it is smoked just like deli ham, you don’t need to cook it. Turkey bacon is cured, pre-formed turkey that is made to look like real bacon. Since cured, it technically doesn’t need to be cooked, which might be gross but fine to eat. 

Is Eating Turkey Bacon Raw Bad for Me?

Although turkey bacon can be a good option for most people, it may prove disadvantageous to some. While raw turkey bacon may not appeal to your taste buds, it has several potential downsides:

  • It contains more carbohydrates and less protein than pork bacon. As a good source of protein, turkey bacon contains about 20% less protein than traditional pork bacon. 
  • It contains a high content of sugars. Manufacturers usually add more sugar to turkey bacon to improve the taste and texture since it contains less fat than pork bacon. It can add up for people on low-carb diets. However, there are turkey bacon brands that contain no added sugars.
  • Turkey bacon contains high sodium levels. Sodium in turkeybacon is added in high content as a flavor enhancer and a preservative. In large servings, sodium content quickly adds up since two strips of turkey provide 336 mg. If you are watching your sodium intake, you can eat the reduced-sodium turkey bacon as an option.
  • Turkey bacon may contain harmful chemical preservatives. Nitrates and nitrites are chemical preservatives present in turkey bacon products. Such nitrites are synthetic; thus, they are not suitable for your health than the naturally occurring nitrites in fruits and vegetables. Therefore, nitrites can form harmful compounds known as nitrosamines, resulting in an increased risk of stomach and throat cancer.
  • It is a processed meat product. You should eat processed meat products such as turkey bacon in moderation. High consumption of such foods increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

What is the Nutritional Value of Turkey Bacon?

Bacon, coming from anything but pork, might sound impossible to any bacon purist. Due to health risks related to red meat consumption, you should consider turkey bacon, which is lighter bacon. Since it has fewer calories and less saturated fat than pork bacon, turkey bacon is still a processed meat product. Since it contains saturated fat, sodium, and nitrates, you should eat it in moderation.

The following are some of the nutrients found in your 16 g turkey bacon:

  • Calories 60
  • Fat 4.2 g
  • Carbohydrates 0.7 g
  • Sodium 328 mg
  • Protein 4.8 g
  • Sugars 0.7 g
  • Fiber 0 g

Besides added preservatives and flavorings, turkey bacon is mostly meat, thus containing no carbohydrates. However, some brands list 1or 2 grams of carbohydrates that come from sugar used to add sweetness.

The fats found in turkey bacon are broken down into unsaturated and saturated fats. By consuming your turkey bacon, you are adding protein to your daily diet. 

The nutritional value of turkey bacon might vary with the different types from different parts of the bird.

These types include:

  1. Made from ground white and dark meat from several sections of the turkey. It is a mixture that is brined and sliced into stripes
  2. They are made with larger chunks of dark meat from the thighs. They are tossed in a flavoring solution until a mass is formed. It is then sliced and packaged.

What are the Benefits of Turkey Bacon?

If you have dietary needs or on your weight loss journey, the turkey bacon may be a good fit for you. Besides having a downside, turkey bacon can prove beneficial to many. The following are some of the benefits of eating your turkey bacon:

  • It can be a good fit since it contains fewer calories than pork bacon. It has about 25% fewer calories in saturated fat. It may result in being a popular choice for people regulating their fat intake.
  • It is a good option for people who don’t eat pork. Due to some religious restrictions, some people don’t eat pork, thus compensating with turkey bacon. Others may not eat pork due to allergies or intolerance.

Even without having the same taste and texture as pork bacon, turkey bacon has a meaty, salty, and smoky flavor that most people will enjoy.

  • It is easy to cook. Generally, you can cook your turkey bacon in the same way you cook pork bacon. The recommended cooking methods include; pan-frying, baking, and microwaving, which may vary with the length of time to cook pork bacon. 

However, consider turkey bacon not a perfect substitute for pork bacon. The crispiness in pork bacon may not be reflected in turkey bacon since it has a lower fat content. As for the tastiness, it might be worth the try.

Moreover, you can easily incorporate it in other recipes such as broccoli salad with turkey bacon, spinach and quinoa breakfast, and chicken and shrimp gumbo.

Final Thoughts

  • Turkey bacon is made by pressing seasoned turkey mixture into strips to look like traditional pork bacon, which you can prepare in the same way as regular bacon.
  • Turkey bacon tends to be lower in protein and often in sugar compared to pork bacon. It is a result of being processed and rich in sodium and other preservatives.
  • It is a leaner alternative that varies in nutritional value. It also contains added sugar and chemical preservatives.
  • If you are looking for bacon with fewer fats than pork bacon, turkey bacon is it for you. It is lower in fats and calories, and it acts as a substitute for those who don’t eat pork.

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