Bacon is one of America’s most loved foods. According to the department of agriculture, pork meat consumption will surplus red meat consumption soon. These crunchy, tasty snacks are mostly consumed with eggs as breakfast or used in low carb recipes.
Bacon has a good balance of proteins and fats while being low in carbs, Keto recommends high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs making the bacon keto. That’s why I compiled a list of the best bacon brands you can enjoy while on the ketogenic diet.
Pederson’s farms manufacture bacon makes the top of this list due to their commitment to animal care. They raise their animals on a 100% vegetarian and antibiotic diet. This premium care is shown up in their bacon varieties which are Nitrate, MSG, and gluten-free.
If you are concerned about the widespread misuse of pesticides on vegetation, you can get Pederson’s organic varieties. Some Pederson’s varieties are better than others. i recommend the Uncured Hickory Smoked Beef Bacon as the best option for keto diet. It contains 6 grams of proteins, 250 milligrams of sodium, and less than 1g of carbs per serving.
You shouldn’t however confuse the Uncured Hickory Smoked Beef Bacon with Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon, which is made from pork instead of beef. Hickory smoked uncured bacon contains only 2 grams of protein per serving.
2. Applegate Naturals – Sugar-free Bacon
This bacon is very popular in the keto community. It’s easy to see why, Applegate natural bacon as the name suggests has no added sugar, and is uncured bacon. It contains about 6 grams of protein and 310mg of sodium per serving making them keto-approved.
This bacon is sourced from pork raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. The pigs are also fed a 100% vegan diet. All Applegate pork products contain no preservatives or artificial ingredients and are phosphate and nitrate free.
Alla Applegate products are sugar-free, However not all Applegate bacon is keto-friendly. The Turkey bacon variety, for instance, has only 5 grams of protein and 150mg of sodium per serving, making the sodium to protein ratio unbalanced for clean keto.
3. Wellshire Farms Uncured Beef Bacon
This brand of bacon has about 8 grams of protein and 280mg of sodium in every single serving. This is one of the best options for keto, I ranked it in this position as it uses a small number of natural sweeteners on its bacon, sugarcane sugar, and molasses.
As per the product packaging, the bacon contains 0g of sugar which technically means below 0.5grams of sugar per serving. This meager amount won’t kick you out of ketosis.
Wellshite farms have many varieties of bacon available all of which they claim to be keto-friendly. It’s vital to read the nutrition label as each variety has different macros split.
The best next varieties from Wellshite are the organic sugar-free turkey bacon and the uncured Canadian bacon. The former contains 11 grams of protein and 500mg of sodium while the latter has 6 grams of protein and 200mg of sodium per serving.
Wellshite farms treat their animals humanely, are raised with plenty of outdoor and indoor space. They are also fed with a 100% vegetarian diet that is hormones and antibiotics free producing a high quality product.
Another delicious Pork product you can enjoy on the keto diet is pork rinds, read 11 Best Pork Rinds For Keto to get delicious keto friendly pork rinds you can add to your shopping list.
4. Grassland Sliced Fresh Side Pork Bacon
This bacon from Grassland beef LLC is unique in its offering. Their bacon isn’t salted or cured, this is commonly referred to as ‘naked bacon’. Grassland bacon is not dried rather it’s chilled for about 5 days.
While it tends to go bad quickly and needs to be eaten faster the low sodium amounts more than make up for that fact.
You can season these bacon slices with salt and spices to your taste. it’s actually one of the best tasting bacon according to some reviews online. The company has its own cattle farms in Illinois and Missouri they also partner with other farms.
All grassland products are GMO-free, their animal is grass-fed and raised without hormones or antibiotics.
5. Hormel Natural Choice Cherrywood Smoked Uncured Bacon
Even thou the parent company of this brand is a global conglomerate, The Hormel brand product line is designed for health-conscious individuals. Its nitrate-free, gluten-free, and has no preservatives or artificial additives.
Turbinado sugar. Is used as a sweetener in this bacon, of course, we recommend going with options with completely no sugar. However, this type of sugar has lower amounts of carbs compared to other popular sugar alternatives such as honey, agave syrup, and molasses
Each serving of this bacon delivers 6 grams of proteins and about 280mg of sodium. Keep in mind Hormel produces many different kinds of bacon but this is the only one recommended for keto.
6. Jones Dairy Farm- No Sugar Hickory Smoked Bacon Slices
These bacon slices are a popular bacon brand and can be found in most stores across the united states. The company has recently introduced a line of meat products that are antibiotics certified, this bacon isn’t. However, the bacon is free of sugar, gluten, and added nitrates.
Because of its popularity, it’s one of the easier hickory flavor bacon you can find that is keto-friendly. It contains 0 grams of net carbs, 3 grams of protein, 4grams of fat, and 120mg of sodium per slice. The fat content is higher than proteins making jones a good fit for keto dieters.
7. 365 Everyday Value Uncured Smokehouse Bacon
This is a private label brand by whole foods. Even thou the company had controversies in the past with its private labeled product lines. The 365 everyday uncured smokehouse is still reliable keto bacon.
This bacon has 270mg of sodium and 4 grams of proteins per serving. Unfortunately, it also contains added sweeteners( evaporated cane sugar). but does not contain nitrates, preservatives, or artificial additives.
Naked bacon as the name suggest prides itself on being gluten-free, sugar-free, and nitrates-free. The only ingredients used to produce this bacon include pork, water, spices, and sea salt.
While the company is secretive over its spices mix, they promise us that it contains no nitrates. If you are still concerned over the contents of the spices you can write to the manufacturer asking if a specific compound is contained in their spice mix.
A serving of this bacon contains about 7 grams of protein per serving which is higher than some of the other bacon brands on this list. It also contains about 260mg of sodium.
Naked bacon is made in multiple varieties which include: original, chipotle, and jalapeno flavored. The best part about naked bacon is that you can pick up any of the variety as they all have a consistent amount of sodium and protein content. This is important as I have picked the right brand of bacon only to get home and find it’s the right brand but the wrong variety for keto.
9. Nature’s Rancher No Sugar Added Hickory Smoked Bacon
This bacon from Nature’s ranch is the only bacon from the company with no added sugar. It contains 270 mg of sodium and about 3 grams of protein in a single serving. The company only works with farms that raise their animal’s hormones and are antibiotic-free.
In addition, the company’s products are free from nitrates, preservatives or artificial additives. You can find this bacon on amazon and your local convenience store.
10. Epic Uncured Hickory Bacon Bits
I know this isn’t technically bacon, but bacon lovers like myself understand why bacon bits made the list. Sometimes you just want to enjoy your bacon as bacon bits, maybe even as a salad topping. They can be very helpful when you are in need of a quick, tasty protein-filled snack.
Epic claims most of the bacon bits come from the pig’s tender belly giving them a unique taste almost similar to beef jerky.
The company is one of the largest players in the keto food space with different keto snacks and foods on offer. Epic raises all of its animals humanely, sustainably, and ethically. A serving (9 bacon bits) of epic uncured hickory bacon bits has 0 grams of net carbs, 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 30 calories, and 60mg of sodium.
How to Identify Non-Keto-Friendly Bacon
While I have compiled a list of the bacon brands I recommend for keto. I would like to equip you with the toolset to determine whether any bacon brand is keto-approved. In case you can’t find any of the above recommend bacon brands at your local grocery store or can’t get an online delivery to your location.
Here are a few things to look out for to determine if your choice of bacon is keto-friendly.
Nitrates commonly found in cured bacon have been linked to the risk of stomach cancer. Uncured bacon varieties tend to have a lower amount of nitrates and are better for keto than the former
Low-fat bacon contains added sugar in an attempt to replace the loss in taste as a result of removing the fat. Avoid low-fat bacon alternatives as the fat is actually keto-friendly and a better option than added sugars or artificial sweeteners.
Sugar has many names, especially on nutrition labels. You can find sugar listed as honey, molasses, sugarcane sugar, fructose syrup e.t.c. ‘keto-friendly sweeteners’ don’t really exist, while some sugars are better for keto than others, I recommend going only with zero sugar bacon.
High amounts of sodium have not only been linked to heart problems but also water retention issues, bloating, and stalled weight loss or even weight gain. Keep an eye on the sodium levels per serving and adjust your meals to account for the recommended daily sodium intake limit.
Sodium sorbates and potassium sorbates are used to prevent mold growth in your bacon. These compounds however are bad for your immune system and have been linked to DNA damage.
Sulfates are a chemical preservative used to increase the shelf life of bacon. They give bacon its attractive color. This preservative has been shown to cause serious health issues such as stomach pains, diarrhea, or even low blood pressure.
Is bacon Healthy
While regular bacon is a delicious and rich source of protein, they present other health concerns. Consumption of processed meats such as bacon has been linked to common cancers. To determine whether a bacon brand is healthy or not you need to figure out 3 things; amounts of Sodium, nitrites, and the ingredient list .
High amounts of sodium increase the risks of heart-related complications. The American heart association recommends a daily sodium intake limit of 2600 milligrams. Most bacon brands however contain more than 30% of the daily recommended sodium value.
Excess Nitrates in processed meats such as bacon have been shown to cause nitrosamines, which have been linked to cancers in animals.
Other things to watch out for are the ingredients. Some brands use brown sugar / artificial sweeteners and preservatives which can kick you out of ketosis or impact your health
Finally if you are on keto and want to know more about bacon check out CAN I EAT BACON EVERY DAY ON KETO? for an in-depth look on how often you should eat bacon while on keto.