Bacon. The star player behind your grandma’s secret mac and cheese recipe and the perfect Sunday brunch. It’s hard to find people who don’t love these salty, fatty strips of deliciousness, and that popularity has made it a source of all sorts of debate in diet circles. Is bacon good for you? What diets is it good on? The list goes on.
The keto diet, in particular, has a special relationship to bacon, and that’s what we’re here to talk about. We’re going to cover:
- If you can eat bacon on keto
- What bacon is
- The nutrition facts behind bacon
- Best practices for eating bacon on keto
- Where alternative bacon fits in
- Some amazing keto bacon recipes
Can you eat bacon on keto?
Absolutely. People on the keto diet love bacon, but that doesn’t give you a pass to eat nothing but bacon. Like most things delicious, practicing moderation and balance is the key to a healthy diet. In other words, you can enjoy bacon and make it a consistent part of your diet, but you probably shouldn’t eat bacon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday-Friday.
How many carbs are in bacon?
Bacon only has 0.2g of carbs per slice, so if you’re following a standard keto diet that recommends 20-50g of carbs a day, then bacon will rarely (if ever) push you over your limit.
What is bacon?
Let’s take a step back and talk bacon. Bacon is cured meat taken from the stomach or back of animals such as pigs or cows. Curing means taking those slices and putting them in a solution of salt and any other flavorings the curer desires, and then these cured slices are often smoked immediately afterward. Side pork bacon is the most common in the US, and these are the familiar fatty slices taken from a pig’s side[*].
At US Wellness Meats, we believe that good bacon is simple: you start with the highest-quality sustainably-raised pork or beef possible and then add salt and hickory smoke it to perfection. No preservatives. No fillers. Just bacon.
Try our sugar-free bacon today.
Bacon nutrition facts
According to the USDA, 3 slices of bacon (about 35 grams) has 161 calories, 12g of fat, 12g of protein, 582mg of sodium, 0.6g carbs, and 0g of fibers.
Bacon is high in protein and low in carbs, but it is also high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium[*]. It’s a delicious way to get protein without tacking on a bunch of extra carbs, but that doesn’t mean you can eat crazy amounts of bacon. Like most meats, eating moderate portions alongside other key food groups is your best path to a healthy diet.
Best practices for eating bacon on keto
Keep an eye on the saturated fats and sodium
Even though bacon is low in carb, you should exercise caution with the sodium and saturated fat bacon contains. Saturated fats are controversial and are argued to contribute to the development of heart disease. There haven’t been any consistent links found, but in general, these fats should only account for 5-6% of your daily calories[*]. Eating too much sodium can increase blood pressure and has been linked to stomach cancer as well[*].
Avoid the maple glazes and sugar additives
Yes, maple-glazed bacon is delicious, but maple syrup contains glucose, which is a carb-containing sugar. We recommend sticking to smoked, sugar-free bacon when on keto.
Sustainable and grass-fed bacon is worth the premium
The best keto bacon starts at the source. What the animals are fed has a direct impact on the quality of the meat, so you can eat better bacon and support ethical meat sources at the same time.
Don’t think that turkey bacon is a free pass
While turkey bacon is generally lower in calories, it still contains high amounts of sodium and cholesterol, which raise concerns when consumed in high amounts over long periods of time.
Enjoy bacon regularly in the context of a balanced diet
There are few things we love more than bacon, but just like anything delicious you have to be smart about how you approach it. Keto is not a free pass to eat unhealthily. If you are eating low-carb but are only consuming bacon, milk, and eggs without any greens, you may lose weight but your overall health will suffer. Using keto as a way to eat rich foods is also a sure ticket to relapsing in and out of keto without seeing the results you want. Instead of going all-in on foods like bacon, eat bacon consistently but alongside healthy greens and fats. Balance is key!
Alternative keto bacon to try
Bacon doesn’t just come from just pigs or cows. Turkey, venison, elk, lamb, and bison are also relatively common. The taste profile changes substantially between these animals, but the nutrition profile and general approach from a keto perspective remain the same. Go natural, go sugar-free, and eat them alongside greens.
Best keto bacon recipes
Now that you know how to approach eating bacon on keto. Let’s talk about doing just that. Here are five amazing ways to use bacon in your keto diet lifestyle:
Who says you need bread to have a BLT? Why not use the delicious butter fruit as your bread instead? These avocado BLTs are quick to make and are a great snack or lunch option. Just add some bacon, lettuce, tomato, lime, and the seasonings of your choice and you’ll be good to go. It’s essentially like making a bacon guac but inside the avocado, and your options for experimentation are limitless. You could add egg, smoked paprika, swap the tomatoes for cucumbers — the list goes on!
Throwing a party or watching a football game? These jalapeno poppers will be a hit either way. What’s not to like about chicken, bacon, and peppers? If you can, remember to salt the chicken a few hours in advance to let the salt diffuse and top with your favorite seasonings. These go great with a low-carb creamy dipping sauce as well.
This is a good option for meal preppers. All you need are some chicken breasts, bacon, and some seasonings, and you’ll be set. You can take this shredded mix and add it on top of salads or eat it alongside sauteed spinach for a quick meal. This recipe is simple, but any additions of freshly ground spices or fresh herbs instead of dried will improve this; you could consider adding in some jalapenos to spice it up as well!
When going on a keto diet, sometimes it’s hard to get over cravings for certain foods. That doesn’t mean you have to ignore those cravings completely, though! Why not make these chicken bacon pancakes and give yourself a delicious alternative to regular pancakes.
These are another great prep option. If you make a batch of these, they’ll last you around a week in the fridge, although we doubt they will last that long! A dollop of sour cream, some fresh chives, hot sauce of your choice, and a little bit of lime juice on top will really push these to the next level as well.
That’s it! This list should give you plenty of options for how to include bacon into your keto diet, and we wish you luck on your keto journey!
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Nathan Phelps is a writer, ethical foodie, and outdoors-aficionado hailing from Nashville, TN. He splits his time between helping sustainable businesses find new customers and managing his ever-increasing list of hobbies, which include playing guitar, baking bread, and creating board games.