I have type 2 diabetes. Can I eat turkey bacon?
Often, carbohydrates get all the attention when it comes to managing diabetes, but it is also important to make good protein choices. High protein foods include meat and meat substitutes. These foods are all high in protein but they vary in the amount of total and saturated fat they contain.
The best meat and meat substitute choices are those that are lower in saturated fat such as fish, lean meats, and poultry without the skin. The following is a more detailed list of the best choices in this food group:
- Vegetarian protein, which includes beans, tofu, veggie burgers, and other soy products
- Eggs, egg whites and egg substitutes
- Low-fat milk, skim milk, light yogurt and non-fat yogurt
- Fish and shellfish
- Poultry such as chicken, turkey, or Cornish hen without the skin (white breast meat is lower in fat than the darker meat in the thigh and leg pieces)
- Lean cuts of beef including round, sirloin, and flank steak; tenderloin; rib, chuck, or rump roast; T-bone, porterhouse, or cubed steak.
- Lean types of pork including ham, Canadian bacon, pork loin, and center loin chops.
When choosing processed meats like bacon, sausage, sliced deli meats, or hot dogs, opt to buy products that have 3 grams of fat or less per ounce. If you cannot find turkey bacon that meets that guideline, look for a brand with less than 7 grams of fat per ounce. In general, look for packages that are marked as lean and/or lower sodium bacon when you can.
The nutrition content of turkey bacon can vary greatly from brand to brand. Some brands will help you save a few calories and most have less saturated fat than regular bacon, but others won’t.
Sodium is another issue with processed meats like bacon and turkey bacon. You will want to pay attention to the sodium in these products – just one strip of turkey bacon could have 170 mg of sodium or more in it. The best you can do is compare labels and make the best choice based on the calories, sodium, and saturated fat.
Most of the time, choose to eat the lean protein foods included on the list of best choices above. You can still enjoy lean turkey bacon once in a while though. After all, it can be a great flavorful addition to salads, eggs, sandwiches, and casseroles. Just remember that a lot can go a long way – most of the time, all you need is a strip or two.
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