Are bacon bits fattening?

Bacon bits are a popular topping for salads, soups, baked potatoes and other foods. They provide a smoky, salty, bacon-like flavor that many people enjoy. However, some people wonder if bacon bits are healthy or if they are highly processed and fattening. This article will examine the nutrition facts, ingredients and health effects of bacon bits to determine if they should be avoided due to high fat and calorie content.

What are bacon bits?

Bacon bits are made from small, crumbled pieces of bacon that have been fried or baked. They are then dried and seasoned with additional ingredients like sugar, smoke flavoring, spices and preservatives. The end result is a crispy, crunchy bacon-flavored topping.

There are a few different types of bacon bits:

– Real bacon bits: These are made from real chopped up bacon. They provide the closest taste and texture to regular bacon.

– Soy bacon bits: These are vegetarian bacon bits made from soy protein, wheat gluten and other ingredients to mimic the flavor of real bacon without using any real meat.

– Turkey bacon bits: These are made from chopped up turkey bacon rather than regular pork bacon.

– Artificial bacon bits: These contain no real bacon at all. They are made from soy protein, wheat gluten, natural and artificial flavorings designed to taste like bacon.

So depending on the type, bacon bits may contain real bacon, turkey bacon, soy protein or no bacon at all. The nutrition facts vary considerably between products.

Nutrition Facts

To determine if bacon bits are fattening, we need to look at their calorie, fat, protein and carbohydrate content. Here is a nutrition comparison of different types of bacon bits (based on a 1 tablespoon or 8 gram serving):

Real bacon bits

– Calories: 43
– Total fat: 3.5g
– Saturated fat: 1g
– Protein: 3g
– Carbohydrates: 0.5g

Soy bacon bits

– Calories: 25
– Total fat: 2g
– Saturated fat: 0.5g
– Protein: 2g
– Carbohydrates: 1g

Turkey bacon bits

– Calories: 15
– Total fat: 0.5g
– Saturated fat: 0g
– Protein: 2g
– Carbohydrates: 1g

Artificial bacon bits

– Calories: 15
– Total fat: 1g
– Saturated fat: 0g
– Protein: 1g
– Carbohydrates: 1g

As you can see, real bacon bits made from pork bacon contain the highest amount of calories, fat and saturated fat per serving compared to other types of bacon bits.

Soy bacon bits are lower in calories, fat and saturated fat compared to real bacon bits, but slightly higher than turkey and artificial bacon bits.

Turkey bacon bits and artificial bacon bits are the lowest calorie and lowest fat options.

So if you are concerned about fat and calorie intake, turkey bacon bits or artificial bacon bits are better choices than real pork bacon bits or soy bacon bits.


To further determine the healthfulness of different bacon bits, we need to look at the ingredients they contain:

Real bacon bits

Made from real cured and smoked pork belly. May also contain additional preservatives, smoke flavoring, sugar and spices.

Soy bacon bits

Ingredients like soy protein concentrate, wheat gluten, canola oil, natural and artificial flavorings, yeast extract, colorings and preservatives.

Turkey bacon bits

Made from cured and smoked turkey meat. May contain sugar, spices, flavorings and preservatives.

Artificial bacon bits

Contains textured soy protein, maltodextrin (starch), coloring, flavorings, yeast extract, caramel color and preservatives. May contain wheat ingredients.

As you can see, real pork bacon bits and turkey bacon bits have the simplest, most natural ingredients lists. Soy bacon bits and artificial bacon bits contain more processed ingredients to recreate the taste, color and texture of real bacon.

So if you are trying to avoid highly processed foods, real pork or turkey bacon bits would be the best options.

Health Effects

Now let’s take a look at the health effects associated with eating different types of bacon bits:

Real bacon bits

– High in saturated fat, which raises LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Can increase risk of heart disease.
– Contains nitrates and nitrites, which may increase risk of certain cancers.
– High sodium content can increase blood pressure.

Soy bacon bits

– Lower in saturated fat than real bacon.
– Contains highly processed ingredients, which may produce negative health effects.
– Large amounts of soy may disrupt hormone levels.

Turkey bacon bits

– Very low in saturated fat.
– Lower sodium content than pork bacon.
– Nitrates/nitrites still present but lower amounts than pork bacon.

Artificial bacon bits

– No fat or cholesterol.
– Processed ingredients like soy protein, caramel coloring, yeast extract.
– Large amounts of artificial flavorings.
– Effects of these chemically processed ingredients are unknown.

As you can see, regular pork bacon bits are the least healthy option due to their high saturated fat and sodium content. Soy bacon bits, turkey bacon bits and artificial bacon bits are lower in fat and chemicals than pork bacon bits.

However, both soy and artificial bacon bits contain highly processed ingredients that may have negative health effects. Turkey bacon bits provide the nutrition of real bacon without as much fat and sodium as regular pork bacon.

Are bacon bits keto-friendly?

The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a very low carb, high fat diet that puts the body into ketosis. It has become a popular diet for weight loss.

To stay in ketosis on keto, you must restrict net carbs (total carbs – fiber) to 20-50 grams per day.

So are bacon bits keto-friendly? It depends on the type:

– Real pork bacon bits – Yes, they contain 0g net carbs
– Soy bacon bits – Fairly keto-friendly at 1g net carbs per serving
– Turkey bacon bits – Also keto-friendly at 1g net carb
– Artificial bacon bits – May contain slightly more carbs from fillers, around 2g net carbs per serving

All types of bacon bits can fit into a keto diet in moderation. Real pork bacon bits or turkey bacon bits are the best options for keto due to lower net carbs. Just be mindful of portion sizes.

Weight Loss

Can adding bacon bits to your diet help with weight loss? Or are they fattening and should be avoided while dieting?

Unfortunately bacon bits are probably not the best choice for weight loss for a few reasons:

– High fat content – Most types of bacon bits get a significant amount of their calories from fat. High fat foods are calorie dense, which can lead to overeating.

– Low protein and fiber – Bacon bits don’t offer much protein or fiber, nutrients that promote fullness and appetite control.

– Highly processed – Heavily processed foods like artificial bacon bits tend to lack nutrients and satiety value.

– Sodium content – Some bacon bits are high in sodium, which can cause water retention and bloating.

– Flavor enhancers – Bacon flavor and saltiness promotes overconsumption of foods bacon bits are added to.

– Portion control difficulties – The small pieces and crispy texture makes bacon bits hard to consume in proper portions. It’s easy to over-sprinkle.

So rather than supporting weight loss, bacon bits tend to add extra calories, fat and sodium to foods without much nutrition or fullness value. Other diet-friendly toppings like avocado, nuts, seeds or lean proteins would be better choices for weight loss.


Bacon bits can range in price depending on the type:

– Real pork bacon bits – $3 to $5 for a 3-4 ounce jar
– Soy bacon bits – $2 to $3.50 for a 3-4 ounce jar
– Turkey bacon bits – $3 to $4 for a 3-4 ounce jar
– Artificial bacon bits – $1.50 to $2.50 for a 3-4 ounce jar

Real bacon bits are the most expensive since they contain actual bacon. Soy, turkey and artificial bacon bits cost a bit less since they contain less meat or no meat at all.

When comparing cost per serving, artificial bacon bits tend to provide the lowest cost option at around 5-10 cents per tablespoon. Soy and turkey bacon bits cost 10-20 cents per serving. Real bacon bits are the most expensive at around 30-50 cents per tablespoon.

So artificial bacon bits tend to provide the cheapest way to add bacon flavor to foods if you are on a tight budget. But real and turkey bacon bits may be worthwhile if you don’t want highly processed ingredients.


There are some differences in taste between types of bacon bits:

Real pork bacon bits – The highest in saltiness, smokiness and pork meat flavor. Highest fat content provides richest mouthfeel.

Soy bacon bits – Saltiness on par with real bacon bits. Smokiness and savory flavor fairly close to real bacon but lacks pork meat flavor. Has a crispy, crunchy texture.

Turkey bacon bits – Lightly salty with moderate smoke flavor. Least amount of pork bacon flavor but still meaty. Lower fat content makes them less rich.

Artificial bacon bits – High saltiness and smoke flavoring, but typically lacks depth of pork meatiness. Oily, crispy texture but can have a chemical aftertaste.

So real pork bacon bits tend to provide the closest pork bacon flavor, while artificial bacon bits tend to taste the most artificial. Soy and turkey bacon bits land somewhere in between.

Most non-pork bacon bits provide enough smoky, salty, savory bacon flavor to satisfy in cooking, but side-by-side real pork bacon bits taste the most like real bacon. So taste preference will come down to your priorities.

Common Uses

Bacon bits are used in both sweet and savory dishes to add a pop of smoky, salty flavor and crispy crunchy texture:

Savory uses:

– Salads or cobb salad topping
– Baked potatoes, soups or chili
– Pizza, burgers, sandwiches and wraps
– Bacon bit mac and cheese
– Green beans or brussels sprouts
– Loaded nachos or fries

Sweet uses:

– Ice cream sundaes
– Cupcakes or cookies
– Pancakes or waffles
– Sweet potato casserole
– Chocolate covered pretzels or strawberries

Bacon bits pair well with cheeses, eggs, chicken, potatoes, green vegetables, ranch flavor and creamy dishes. They provide a nice crunch topping for otherwise soft foods. The saltiness and sweet flavors also balance each other nicely.

Just keep portion size in mind, as the small pieces make it is easy to overdo it on bacon bits. Around 1-2 tablespoons provides plenty of flavor without going overboard on fat, sodium and calories.


Unopened packages of bacon bits stay fresh at room temperature for up to 1-2 years. Once opened, they should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer:

– Fridge storage – Keep bacon bits in a sealed container for 1-2 months. Keeps them tasting fresh.

– Freezer storage – For maximum shelf life, store opened bacon bits in the freezer for 6-8 months.

Make sure to seal or close packages tightly between uses. This prevents them from absorbing moisture, odors and going stale.

Properly stored bacon bits maintain their signature crispy texture and flavor. Freeze any extras you won’t use quickly for longest lasting freshness.


Here are some popular ways to use bacon bits at home:

BLT Salad


– 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
– 2 tomatoes, sliced or diced
– 3 strips cooked, chopped bacon
– 2 Tbsp bacon bits
– 1-2 Tbsp ranch dressing

Top lettuce with tomatoes, bacon pieces and bacon bits. Drizzle with ranch dressing.

Loaded Baked Potato


– 1 large baked potato
– 2 Tbsp bacon bits
– 2 Tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
– 2 Tbsp sour cream
– 2 Tbsp chopped green onion

Split potato open and top with bacon bits, cheese, sour cream and green onion.

Bacon Bit Cheese Ball


– 8 oz cream cheese, softened
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– 3 Tbsp real bacon bits
– 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Mix first 5 ingredients. Shape into a ball and roll in chopped pecans. Chill 1 hour before serving.


Bacon bits can make great additions to salads, baked potatoes, cheese balls and other dishes when used properly. While they can add flavor, texture and fun to foods, they aren’t the healthiest toppings. Real bacon bits made from pork contain high amounts of fat and sodium.

Soy bacon bits, turkey bacon bits or artificial bacon bits are lower in fat and calories than real pork bacon bits. But these products contain highly processed ingredients and extra sodium.

In moderation, bacon bits are fine for most people. But they shouldn’t be overused, especially by those at risk for heart disease or high blood pressure. Other diet-friendly garnishes like avocado, nuts, seeds or lean proteins can provide healthier alternatives to bacon bits.

Overall, bacon bits add a nice pop of flavor when used occasionally and in small amounts. Just be mindful of which types you choose and practice portion control to prevent overdoing it on fat, sodium and calories.

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