Low Carb

Can I Eat Bacon on a Low Carb Diet?

Max Carmody, MSc

It is acceptable to eat bacon on a low carb diet, and especially on a keto diet, where eating bacon is even encouraged due to the high fat content.

What are Carbs?

Carbohydrates (Carbs) are a type of macronutrient. Macronutrients are the nutrients that we need in large quantities that provide us with energy. The other types of macronutrients are protein and fat. Carbs are made up of sugars, starches, and fibers. They are in things like grains, fruits, and dairy. Your body turns carbs into glucose to give you the energy to function. The digestive system breaks carbs down into glucose, and then the bloodstream absorbs glucose and uses it as energy. There are different types of carbs. Two of the main ones are simple carbs, and refined carbs. Simple carbs are things found in everything from table sugar to fruit. Complex carbs come from things like whole grains. Simple carbs provide your body with short bursts of energy, and complex carbs take longer for your body to break down, so they are a longer-lasting energy source.

Low Carb Diet

Low carb diets, as the name suggests, are low in carbohydrates. Typically on a low carb diet, you eat less than 130 grams of carbs a day. On some types of low carb diets, such as the keto diet, you actually eat under 50 grams of carbs per day, as low as 20 grams. Because you are eating fewer carbs, you generally start eating either more protein, or more fat, or both. There is no one single type of low carb diet, there are a wide variety out there. If you would like to learn more about the best things to eat on a low carb diet, you can find an article here on the topic that I wrote.

Keto Diet

The keto diet is a very specific type of low carb diet. On the keto diet, as mentioned before, it is extremely low carb, you eat under 50, and as few as 20 grams of carbs a day. You also eat a lot of fat. The keto diet is higher fat than a standard low carb diet. On a pretty standard version of the keto diet, 70% of your nutrition is coming from fat, 20% is coming from protein, and 10% is coming from carbs. Under normal circumstances, your body uses glucose from carbs for energy. Without that glucose, a process called ketosis occurs, hence the name “keto” diet. In this state the body burns fat instead of carbs as the main fuel source. When people don’t eat carbs, the liver starts breaking down fat stores to produce energy. This energy creates something called “ketones”.


Bacon is salt cured meat that comes from a pig’s belly, back, or sides, anywhere with high fat content. I have never been a crazy bacon lover, or somebody who ate a ton of it, but I do really enjoy a few good strips of bacon now and then. Three slices of bacon, a serving, contains 161 calories, 12 grams of fat, 579 mg of sodium, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein. 

Bacon is very high in saturated fat. About 68% of the calories that come from bacon come from fat. Half of those are from saturated fat. Saturated fat is one of the unhealthy fats, along with trans fat. Saturated fats are usually solid at room temperature, unlike the healthier unsaturated fat which is typically a liquid at room temp. Too much saturated fat can cause cholesterol to build up in your arteries. Saturated fat raises your bad LDL cholesterol, and can increase heart attack and stroke risk. Bacon and other processed, smoked, and cured meats are usually treated with nitrates, these are chemicals that preserve shelf life and enhance the color. Diets that are high in processed meat have been linked to many chronic health conditions, such as migraines, asthma, kidney disease, and heart failure.

Can You Eat Bacon on a Low Carb Diet?

The answer to this question is basically yes, it is ok to eat bacon on a low carb diet. They don’t have any carbs. I personally don’t really eat bacon when I’m on a standard low carb diet though. Even though it doesn’t have carbs it still has tons of calories for the portion size. And as I discussed earlier, it has tons of unhealthy saturated fat. So it is technically on with low carb. But I would not recommend a ton of it. If you would like to find out whether you can eat cheese on a low carb diet, you can find an article here that I wrote on the topic.

Can You Eat Bacon on a Keto Diet?

I’m listing keto as a separate category here, because there do seem to be some differences in how acceptable bacon is, from a standard low carb diet. Eating bacon on a keto diet actually seems to be ENCOURAGED. Keto fanatics love their bacon. Keto is all about high fat, and bacon is very high fat.

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