Is Canadian bacon good for weight loss?

Canadian bacon, also known as back bacon or peameal bacon, is a form of cured and smoked pork that is sliced thinly and round in shape. It originated in the United Kingdom but is more commonly associated with Canada.

Canadian bacon is leaner than traditional bacon made from pork belly. The fact that it’s lower in fat makes some people wonder if it’s a better choice for weight loss.

This article reviews whether eating Canadian bacon can help you lose weight.

What is Canadian bacon?

Canadian bacon comes from the loin of the pig. This is the back muscle that runs along the spine.

It’s made by curing pork loin with a brine solution and smoking it. The curing process both preserves the meat and gives it its distinctive flavor.

After curing and smoking, the loin is sliced into round medallions about 1/8–1/4 inch (3–6 mm) thick. It has a lean, ham-like texture.

Before serving, Canadian bacon is sometimes rolled in yellow cornmeal, which gives it a crispy coating. That’s why it’s also called peameal bacon.

It’s primarily used as a breakfast meat and served in simple dishes like eggs Benedict. It can also be used in sandwiches, wraps, pizza toppings and more.

Nutrition facts

Canadian bacon is leaner than regular bacon because it comes from the tenderloin of the pig rather than the fatty belly.

However, the exact nutrition varies depending on factors like the brand, cure ingredients, smoking method and animal diet.

Below is the nutrition information for a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of pan-fried Canadian bacon (1):

– Calories: 189
– Protein: 29 grams
– Fat: 8 grams
– Carbs: 0 grams
-Cholesterol: 71 mg (24% DV)
– Sodium: 929 mg (40% DV)

As you can see, a serving of Canadian bacon is high in protein, providing 29 grams.

It’s also lower in fat, with only 8 grams per serving. For comparison, a serving of regular pork bacon contains around 15 grams of fat (2).

Canadian bacon contains no carbs. However, it’s very high in sodium, providing 40% of the recommended daily intake in just one serving.

Overall, Canadian bacon is leaner and lower in calories than regular bacon.

Still, both are considered processed meats. Research links processed meat consumption to a higher risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer (3, 4).

Is it good for weight loss?

Canadian bacon is often claimed to be a better choice for weight loss than regular bacon. But is this true?

There are a few reasons why Canadian bacon may be better for weight loss:

– Fewer calories. Canadian bacon is lower in calories than regular bacon, providing about 40 fewer calories per serving. Over time, this can lead to reduced calorie intake.

– Less fat. Canadian bacon has almost half the amount of fat grams compared to regular bacon. Added fats drive up calorie intake, so choosing lower fat options can aid weight loss.

– Higher protein. Canadian bacon is an excellent source of protein. Protein increases feelings of fullness and boosts metabolism slightly (5).

– Versatile. Canadian bacon can be incorporated into breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, salads and more. Having versatile diet foods makes healthy eating easier.

However, there are also some reasons why Canadian bacon may not be ideal for weight loss:

– Still high in sodium. While lower in fat than regular bacon, Canadian bacon is still very high in sodium. High-salt diets are linked to weight gain over time (6).

– Heavily processed. All cured and smoked meats are heavily processed. Some research shows processed meat is linked to weight gain (7).

– Easy to overeat. Canadian bacon is tasty and easy to overconsume. Portion control is key, even when eating lower calorie foods.

– Nutritionally poor. Canadian bacon is high in salt and not a good source of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Nutrient-dense foods may be more filling.

Overall, incorporating Canadian bacon into a healthy diet can support weight loss due to its lower calorie, fat and protein content.

However, for optimal health and sustainable weight management, Canadian bacon should be enjoyed in moderation along with a diet focused on whole, minimally processed foods.

Healthier ways to eat Canadian bacon

Here are some tips for enjoying Canadian bacon as part of a healthy, weight loss supportive diet:

– Use it as a pizza topping. Replace less healthy meats like pepperoni and sausage with Canadian bacon. Load up the veggies too.

– Add it to omelets and frittatas. Use Canadian bacon instead of regular bacon in egg dishes, paired with veggies.

– Enjoy it at breakfast. Use Canadian bacon as a lower fat alternative in breakfast sandwiches and wraps.

– Crumble it on salads. Sprinkle crumbled Canadian bacon over salads for added protein.

– Include it in avocado toast. Top toasted whole grain bread with avocado and Canadian bacon for a nutritious light meal.

– Bake healthy “pigs” in a blanket. Wrap Canadian bacon around pieces of asparagus or zucchini and bake.

– Make smart sandwiches. Use Canadian bacon on sandwiches instead of other deli meats that are higher in fat and salt.

– Choose wisely when dining out. At restaurants that serve breakfast, opt for Canadian bacon over regular bacon or sausage.

The key is to enjoy Canadian bacon in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet focused on whole foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, nuts and seeds.

Portion control is also important, even with lower calorie foods. Limit Canadian bacon to 2–3 times weekly and 1–2 slices per serving.

Other tips for weight loss

While Canadian bacon can be included as part of a weight loss diet, many other factors come into play for successful, long-term weight management.

Here are some other evidence-based tips for losing weight sustainably:

– Eat more vegetables and fruits. They are low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients. Make them a staple at meals.

– Choose whole grains over refined grains. Swap white bread, pasta and rice for whole grain varieties.

– Increase fiber intake. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. Fiber enhances feelings of fullness.

– Don’t skip protein. Getting enough protein, from both plant and animal sources, helps preserve muscle during weight loss.

– Stay hydrated. Drink water instead of high calorie beverages like juice and soda. Proper hydration also aids fullness.

– Limit liquid calories. Beverages like alcohol, specialty coffee drinks, fruit juice and soda add a surprising number of calories.

– Increase cardio exercise. Moderate physical activity like brisk walking for 30+ minutes daily supports weight control.

– Lift weights. Resistance training builds metabolism-boosting muscle. Aim for at least two sessions per week.

– Get enough sleep. Those who get less sleep tend to weigh more. Aim for 7–9 hours per night.

– Manage stress levels. Chronic stress leads to elevated cortisol, which can drive weight gain. Try yoga, meditation or just taking breaks.

The bottom line

Canadian bacon can be included as part of a healthy weight loss diet, in moderation.

Compared to regular bacon, it’s lower in calories, fat and higher in protein. These factors can help reduce calorie intake and improve satiety.

However, Canadian bacon is still a processed meat and high in sodium. For the best diet quality and health, it shouldn’t be consumed in high amounts or very often.

Additionally, many other factors beyond just food choices play an important role in long-term weight management. Getting regular exercise, adequate sleep, managing stress and focusing on whole foods are also key strategies for losing weight sustainably.

At the end of the day, Canadian bacon can be an occasional part of a balanced weight loss diet when portion sizes are kept in check. But it shouldn’t be relied on as a main strategy for shedding pounds.

The takeaway

– Canadian bacon is lower in calories and fat compared to regular bacon. For this reason, it may be a slightly better choice if you’re watching your weight.
– However, Canadian bacon is still high in sodium. It’s considered a processed meat that may increase disease risk in high amounts.
– Enjoy Canadian bacon in moderation along with a diet focused on whole, minimally processed foods for optimal health and sustainable weight management.


1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Canadian bacon, unprepared. FDC ID: 784831.

2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Pork bacon, cooked, pan-fried. FDC ID: 170929.

3. Wolk A. Potential health hazards of eating red meat. J Intern Med. 2017;281(2):106-122. doi:10.1111/joim.12543

4. Bouvard V, Loomis D, Guyton KZ, et al. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. Lancet Oncol. 2015;16(16):1599-1600. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00444-1

5. Pesta DH, Samuel VT. A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2014;11:53. Published 2014 Nov 19. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-53

6. Yi SS, Firestone MJ, Beasley JM. High Sodium Intake Increases Weight Gain and Adiposity Independent of Energy Intake in Mice Fed a Western-Style Diet. Front Nutr. 2020;7:595723. Published 2020 Oct 20. doi:10.3389/fnut.2020.595723

7. Vergnaud AC, Norat T, Romaguera D, et al. Meat consumption and prospective weight change in participants of the EPIC-PANACEA study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;92(2):398-407. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28713

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