“No nitrate or nitrite added,” says the Wellshire All Natural Uncured Classic Sliced Turkey Bacon label.
The catch: the teeny—and we mean teeny—type with the words “except that occurring naturally in sea salt and celery powder.”
So they’re still adding nitrates or nitrites, they’re just part of another ingredient.
Nitrates and nitrites can form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds in your gut. Those compounds are partly why last October the International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that processed meats (like bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and cold cuts) are “carcinogenic to humans”—like cigarettes and asbestos, though not as potent. For every daily 2 oz. serving of processed meat, your risk of colorectal cancer climbs by about 18 percent, said the cancer experts.
The USDA has to approve all meat and poultry labels before they hit the market. Wellshire and other producers of “uncured” bacon—like Oscar Mayer Selects and Applegate Naturals—must have a friend in the label-approvals department to let the companies imply their bacon doesn’t have nitrates or nitrites.
Bottom line: Turkey bacon has less saturated fat than pork bacon, but no bacon is nitrate- or nitrite-free.
“Better than Mayo,” says the Vegenaise label. “Follow your heart.”
“Free from eggs, dairy, soy, preservatives,” says Earth Balance MindfulMayo. And Just Mayo is free of cholesterol, soy, egg, gluten, dairy, and lactose.
If you’re vegan (that is, if you avoid meat, dairy, and eggs), you’re in luck. Slap some faux mayo in your sandwich, and you’re good to go. (Just Mayo was our fave.)
But if you’re not vegan, there’s really no reason to abandon your Hellmann’s.
Both regular and vegan mayo are mostly oil, water, and vinegar. The main difference? The vegans use pea or soy protein to keep the oil and vinegar from separating. The regulars use egg, though not very much. A tablespoon of mayo has just 5 milligrams of cholesterol; a large egg has 185 mg.
Bottom line: Vegan mayos are no healthier than regulars. Light mayos—regular or vegan— do trim the 90 calories in each tablespoon of the full-fat versions down to about 35.
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