Guide to AIP/Paleo & Whole30 Bacon +17 Awesome Products

Guide to AIP/Paleo & Whole30 Bacon +17 Awesome Products

Quite a few recipes on the AIP/Paleo and Whole30 diets include bacon. This is great if you know which brands are compliant. However, a lot of questions come to mind when it comes to bacon. Questions like "Cured vs uncured- what's the difference?" or "Can it contain sugar?" or "What ingredients should I look for?"

Below, I’ll answer common bacon questions. Additionally, I'll list several AIP/Paleo, and Whole30 compliant bacon brands and products. I will also provide links to sites and store locators so you can find them!

How is Bacon Made?

Let's start with the basics. Bacon is usually made by curing pork belly by soaking it in a mixture of salt, sugar, and various spices. Then, preservatives like sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate are often added to prevent bacterial growth. Once the curing is complete, the meat is smoked. 

**Just a quick heads up- this post contains affiliate links which means if you click on them and buy something,  I will earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) to help continue maintaining this site. 

Cured vs Uncured Bacon

So, what is the difference between cured and uncured bacon?

Cured bacon contains salt and nitrites to preserve flavor, prevent bacterial growth, and give it its pink color.

bacon aip paleo Image by sipa from Pixabay

Methods of curing include pumping and dry curing.

Dry Curing is a more traditional form of curing.  This process only uses dry ingredients like salt, seasonings, nitrates, and sugar. These are rubbed on the meat and then left to cure for a week or two. 

Wet Curing is a faster method of curing and for this reason, many commercial brands use it. This process involves making a brine out of salt, sugar, seasonings, sodium nitrate, and other chemicals. The brine is then either used to soak or inject the meat. The injection method, also called pumping, is the fastest way to cure bacon. 

Uncured bacon is not cured with synthetically sourced nitrates or nitrites but it is still technically cured. The difference is that it contains naturally occurring nitrites/nitrates from vegetables. 

Uncured bacon is required to be labeled “Uncured bacon. No nitrates or nitrites added.” However, keep in mind that this label doesn’t include naturally occurring nitrates/nitrites.

Is Uncured Bacon Healthier?

is uncured bacon healthier Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

There's no definite evidence that uncured bacon is healthier. However, since uncured bacon is made with naturally occurring nitrites, it is believed to be a less risky choice. This is because vitamin C contained in vegetables helps to prevent nitrites from being converted into harmful nitrosamines. This is discussed more below. 

Can You Eat Bacon on a Paleo/AIP Diet?

Yes. That's the point of this post! Bacon is allowed on the Paleo and AIP diets but there are some ingredients to look out for.

Non-Compliant Ingredients to Watch Out For  

Below are some common bacon ingredients that are not Paleo/AIP or Whole30 compliant.

  • Preservatives

Sodium Phosphates (stabilizer), Sodium Erythorbate (for color enhancement), Sodium Nitrite (a pink salt that also provides pink color), sodium diacetate, BHT, potassium nitrate

  • Stabilizers

Gum Arabic, modified food starch

  • Other Additives

Sodium ascorbate is a form of vitamin C used to help maintain color and flavor in meats. It’s added to bacon to prevent nitrates or nitrites from being converted to harmful nitrosamines.

  • Natural Flavorings

This can be a dicey ingredient item. It encompasses a lot of ingredients, many of which are not Paleo/AIP or Whole30 compliant. The FDA’s Code of Regulations defines natural flavors from substances extracted from plant or animal sources including: 

  • Spices
  • Fruit or fruit juice
  • Vegetables or vegetable juice
  • Edible yeast, herbs, bark, buds, root leaves or plant material
  • Dairy products, including fermented products
  • Meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Eggs

While natural flavors are derived from plant or animal materials, they are usually very processed and contain chemical additives.

  • Other Flavorings

Smoke flavoring, hydrolyzed corn protein (flavor enhancer)

  • Sugar

Bacon often contains brown sugar, turbinado sugar, cane sugar, and other sugars. Unfortunately, sugar is not technically AIP, Paleo, or Whole30 compliant. However, for Paleo/AIP it is generally considered ok because most of it gets cooked off. As a general rule of thumb, if the grams of sugar per serving is less than 1g, it gets a pass. For Whole30, the no sugar rule is especially strict, so it's debatable whether sugar gets a pass in this case. Luckily there are plenty of Whole30 (and Paleo/AIP) friendly bacon products without sugar if you want to be on the safe side. 

  • Coloring

Sodium nitrate is the main ingredient that typically adds color to bacon. Bacon sometimes contains liquid smoke and red dyes as well

  • “Spices”

whole 30 bacon Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

You'll often see a bacon product that appears to be AIP compliant but then it says “spices.” This is kind of annoying because you have to know roughly what spices are in it. To be on the safe side, you should contact the company and ask. In particular, ask if there are any seed or nightshade-based spices in the product. If you’re doing Paleo or Whole30, “spices” is probably ok as most spices are fine on these diets.

AIP Compliant Brands

Applegate

Pederson's Farms

Hempler's

US Wellness Meats

Paleo on the Go (Pederson's brand)

Can You Eat Bacon on the Whole30 Diet?

Absolutely. Similar to the Paleo/AIP diets, you want to read labels and go with products that don’t contain a bunch of additives and sugar. Unlike the AIP diet, nightshade and seed-based spices are allowed.

Whole30 Compliant Bacon Brands 

I’ll talk more about specific products below. 

Nitrates vs. Nitrites

These two compounds come up a lot when it comes to bacon. This is because they have been shown to be potentially harmful to humans. 

The issue with nitrates and nitrites is that they can be converted into nitrosamines. These have been shown to be carcinogenic. Check out this article for more info how nitrates and nitrates affect the body. 

It’s not fully known if nitrites from vegetables are less harmful than other forms of nitrites. However, nitrites from vegetables are considered less risky. This is because studies have shown that the vitamin C prevents nitrites from being converted to nitrosamines. This lower nitrosamine level seems to be associated with lower cancer risk.

Some products actually add vitamin C and other antioxidants into their products to reduce the amount of nitrosamines in them.  

The label "no chemical nitrites and nitrates added" means that the compounds in the product are derived from vegetables.

What Brand of Bacon Has No Sugar?

Here are a few no sugar bacon brands:

Is there an Uncured Bacon That Does Not Contain Celery Powder?

Yes! Check out Pederson's Natural Farms products (see below).

Pederson's Farms has started replacing the celery powder in some products. They've done this by adding pomegranate, rosemary, and citrus in place of the celery powder. These don't contribute any sodium nitrite, so it’s actually a sodium nitrite-free (synthetic or naturally occurring) product.

Where to Buy AIP Bacon (and Paleo and Whole30 Bacon)

Below is a list of products that are compliant with these three diets. Note that some of them are not compliant with all three diets. Thus, you'll notice checkmarks and x marks indicating which diets each product is compliant with.

Also, you'll find links to store locators and online stores where you can find them. A few of these are affiliate links which means I would get a small commission if you buy anything but most of them are regular old links.

Nature's Rancher Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon, (Whole Foods–exclusive brand)

aip paleo bacon

Ingredients: pork, water, salt, vinegar, cultured celery powder

☑ Paleo (see notes below)
☑ Whole30 compliant
AIP

*It is not AIP compliant due to white distilled vinegar (organic non-GMO) used. It is Whole 30 compliant and Paleo (though some choose to avoid white vinegar on Paleo).

Store Locator

Applegate Organics® No Sugar Bacon 

whole 30 aip bacon

Ingredients: Organic Pork, Water, Sea Salt. Less than 2% of: Celery Powder.

☑ AIP/Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

Store Locator

Applegate Organics® Turkey Bacon

whole 30 bacon

Ingredients: Organic Turkey, Water. Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Sea Salt, Celery Powder, Organic Onion Powder.

☑ AIP/Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

Store Locator

Applegate Naturals No Sugar Bacon

aip bacon

 

Ingredients: Pork, Water, Sea Salt. Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Celery Powder.

☑ AIP/Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

Store Locator

No Sugar Added Steakhouse Smoked Uncured Bacon

whole30 bacon

Ingredients: Pork, Water, Less Than 2% of: Salt, Vinegar, Citrus Extracts, Pomegranate Extract, Rosemary Extract

-The salt in this product is not iodized salt, and there is no dextrose in it.

-The vinegar is a GMO-free white vinegar from a cane source. Cane vinegar is made from sugar cane but has no residual sugar so it's AIP compliant.

☑ AIP/Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

Store Locator

Organic No Sugar Added Uncured Smoked Bacon

aip friendly bacon

Ingredients: Organic Pork, Water, Vinegar (Made With Organic Ingredients), Salt, Celery Powder.

☑ AIP/Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

-The salt in this product is not iodized salt, and there is no dextrose in it.

-The vinegar is a GMO-free white vinegar from a cane source. Cane vinegar is made from sugar cane but has no residual sugar so it's AIP compliant.

Store Locator

The Original No Sugar Added Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon

 uncured paleo bacon

Ingredients: Pork, Water, Less Than 2% of: Salt, Vinegar, Citrus Extracts, Pomegranate Extract, Rosemary Extract.

☑ AIP/Paleo
☑ Whole30 Compliant

-The salt in this product is not iodized salt, and there is no dextrose in it.

-The vinegar is a GMO-free white vinegar from a cane source. Cane vinegar is made from sugar cane but has no residual sugar so it's AIP compliant.

Store Locator

No Sugar Added Uncured Bacon

uncured bacon

Ingredients: Pork, Water, Less Than 2% of: Salt, Vinegar, Citrus Extracts, Pomegranate Extract, Rosemary Extract.

☑ AIP/Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

Store Locator

Uncured No Sugar Buckin’ Bacon

aip uncured bacon

Ingredients: Pork, Water, Less Than 2% of: Salt, Vinegar, Celery Powder.

-The salt in this product is not iodized salt, and there is no dextrose in it.

-The vinegar is a GMO-free white vinegar from a cane source. Cane vinegar is made from sugar cane but has no residual sugar so it's AIP compliant.

☑ AIP/Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

Store Locator

No Sugar Hickory Smoked Turkey Bacon

paleo bacon

Ingredients: Turkey, Water, Less Than 2% of: Salt, Vinegar, Celery Powder.

-The salt in this product is not iodized salt, and there is no dextrose in it.

-The vinegar is a GMO-free white vinegar from a cane source. Cane vinegar is made from sugar cane but has no residual sugar so it's AIP compliant.

Hempler’s Uncured No Sugar Bacon

aip paleo bacon

Ingredients: Pork, Water, Sea Salt, Celery Powder.

☑ AIP/Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

Store Locator

Garrett Valley Farms Organic Sugar-Free Turkey Bacon

 

paleo whole 30 bacon

Ingredients: Turkey, water, sea salt, cultured powder, paprika (for flavor), white pepper, onion powder.

☑ Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

AIP

Store Locator

Garrett Valley Farms Sugar-Free Dry Rubbed Bacon

paleo whole 30 bacon

IngredientsPork, sea salt, spices (black pepper, fenugreek, nutmeg, white pepper, mace, allspice).

☑ Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

AIP

Store Locator

Naked Bacon No Sugar Added Bacon

uncured paleo bacon from naked bacon

Ingredients: Pork, Water, Sea Salt, Spices

☑ Paleo
☑ Whole30 compliant

*May or may not be AIP compliant depending on actual spices. I have contacted the company asking about this.

Store Locator

They also have Whole30 bacon variety bundles with flavors like Chipotle and Jalapeno, plus sausage links.

They offer this Whole30 Sugar-Free Sausage as well.

Additional AIP/Paleo and Whole 30 Compliant Bacon Products

US Wellness Meats Beef Sugar-Free Bacon

US Wellness Meats Sugar-Free Pork Bacon

Sugar Free Bacon from Paleo on the Go (Pederson’s Natural Farms brand)

Conclusion:

I hope you found this post useful. Do you know of a great bacon product that I left out? Leave me a comment below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @foodcourage for the latest AIP/Paleo recipes, autoimmune nutrition info, and Food Courage happenings!

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Bacon Guide AIP Paleo Whole30 brands



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