Bacon vs. Sausage: Which Breakfast Meat Is Better for You?
When it comes to building a healthy breakfast, you likely already know it’s best to skip sugary cereal and go for whole grains such as oatmeal. But what about protein? Sure, eggs are an obvious go-to solution, as are protein powders. But you know what also goes well with breakfast? Breakfast meats! What to choose… bacon vs. sausage? Is it just a matter of taste, or is one better for you?
Bacon vs. Sausage: A Showdown
1. Calorie Count
Two slices of bacon fried up in a pan contains about 80 to 90 calories (depending on how thick they are). Sausage comes in higher with around 100 calories per patty or 190 calories per serving of links (2). You can save even more calories by going with turkey bacon, which provides just 60 calories for two slices. Going with turkey sausage links can also drop calories down to around 130.
If you’re counting calories, this point goes to bacon. However, remember to check your favorite brand of bacon or sausage as these numbers can differ quite a bit.
While both bacon and sausage contain both saturated fat and cholesterol, bacon again comes in lower. Those 2 slices provide 6 grams of fat with 2 grams of saturated fat compared to between 9 and 13 grams of fat, with 3 to 4.5 grams of saturated fat, per serving of sausage.
Yes, fat is necessary to the diet, but many nutritionists recommend cutting back on saturated fat, so this point also goes to bacon.
One reason you’re likely adding bacon or sausage to your meal (beyond flavor) is to ensure you are getting enough protein to keep you satiated until lunchtime. Two sausage links (one serving) provides ten grams, while two slices of bacon provide six grams, followed by a sausage patty, which comes in at just five grams.
For protein, the point goes to sausage links.
It likely comes as no surprise that both bacon and sausage are high in sodium due to the curing process. Bacon provides 274 mg of sodium while sausage links are WAY higher at 1,040 for 2 patties or 1,652 mg for 2 links. Again, of course, that depends on the brand, but bacon is clearly the winner of this category.
5. The Sources
How healthy your breakfast meat is isn’t just a matter of what’s on the nutrition facts panel. What goes into the meat food product is even more important. Some sausages are made from mostly meat byproducts and fillers. Some bacon comes from factory-farmed animals who lived pretty miserable lives filled with toxins like fertilizers, medications, and other chemicals that can be damaging to the environment.
Choosing bacon or sausage from a responsible farmer or rancher is a big step toward eating food that’s healthier for you. Look for products that were pasture raised with minimal processing and preservatives, which may have long-term health effects.
If you really want sausage for the win, you may want to make your own by seasoning grass-fed beef, pork, turkey, or even game meat with fennel, paprika, garlic, salt, and pepper.
What about frozen faux meats? Those may seem like healthier options, but many of them are ultra-processed with a bunch of unnecessary, unhealthy ingredients. And surprisingly, many of them also come up short on plants. So, if you do want a meatless option, check the ingredients list carefully first.
Bacon vs Sausage: Which One Wins?
Regardless of which you prefer—bacon vs. sausage—either one can fit into a healthy whole food diet as long as you stick to a single serving from time to time rather than doubling up (or more) daily. That said, bacon does take the lead as the “healthiest” breakfast meat.