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Healthy Breakfast: Bacon vs. Sausage

May 15, 2010

A healthy breakfast doesn't have to always exclude foods that have a reputation for being unhealthy. Eaten in moderation, you can add some classic breakfast accompaniments to your breakfast. Still, when deciding which is healthier, you may want to know whether bacon or sausage is the better choice.

The Worst in Bacon

Bacon is a cured meat, which has several unhealthy disadvantages. Cured meat is high in nitrates, a preservative that may turn into a substance called nitrite in your body, which can increase your risk of developing cancer if you eat it regularly. You may be able to find nitrate-free bacon, but all bacon is cured, either in dry packing or brine.

The curing process involves a high amount of sodium and sodium increases your risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Brine cured bacon is even higher in sodium than bacon that is cured through dry packing. Ingesting a high amount of cured meats have also been linked to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a condition usually associated with chronic smoking in which a person has both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. This makes breathing difficult and the condition worsens over time.

Bacon is also high in saturated fat. If you don't watch your saturated fat intake, you can experience high cholesterol and a greater risk for heart disease and stroke. Bacon isn't the best choice for a healthy breakfast.

The Worst in Sausage

There are sausages that are nearly as bad for you as bacon, which means that just any sausage isn't necessarily part of a healthy breakfast. The worst sausages include cured sausages, which are usually European-style sausages. Sausage can also be high in saturated fat, although because bacon is less filling, you may wind up eating more saturated fat in the bacon you have in one meal than the sausage.

The greatest difference between choosing bacon and sausage for your healthy breakfast is that there's a greater variety of sausages from which to choose.

Sausages: The Better Choice

It's impossible to find bacon that's not cured, but you can find sausage that's not cured. Sausage can also be made from lean, healthy meats like turkey. This meat is low in fat and has added benefits like the amino acid tryptophan, which can help you sleep better and regulate your hunger. Chicken sausages are another healthier alternative than the traditional sausages because they're much lighter in fat content, particularly saturated fat. If you're looking for beef or pork, you should select sausages that are made of 100% of those kinds of meats.

Look for sausages with no added preservatives or other "flavor" additives, such as MSG and nitrates. If you're looking for more flavor, healthier sausages can have powerful flavors made from healthy ingredients, such as vegetables (particularly peppers).

Sausage is the better choice for a healthy breakfast, but remember to eat sausage in moderation because it's still not an ideal healthy food. Nevertheless, you can get more nutritional value from sausage than bacon, particularly if you select low-fat sausage.

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