A couple of weeks ago Oprah did a segment on a new set of books out called Eat this, Not That!. The books are written by David Zinczenko and they attempt to “educate” people on making better food choices.
At first glance the intentions of the author seem genuine, and it seems like he’s trying to help people make better food choices, but after watching the segment I personally think that it’s just another clever marketing gimmick to sell books.
One of the segments in the show, also repeated again on Ellen compares Regular Bacon to Turkey Bacon. David asks Oprah and her audience “Which is better? Regular Bacon or Turkey Bacon?” and of course most of the audience thinks it’s Turkey Bacon. Then he shows that the Turkey Bacon and the Regular Bacon have the same amount of Calories and Fat Grams but the Turkey Bacon has a bit more sodium compared to the Regular Bacon, and the audience is shocked to hear that Regular Bacon is better than Turkey Bacon.
Is Regular Bacon Really Better Than Turkey Bacon?
Although it makes for a really controversial Oprah show and I’ve heard a lot of people talking about it just when I’m out and about, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
In reality, there are MANY different brands of Turkey Bacon out there, and there are MANY different brands of Regular Bacon. There are also MANY different CUTS of Regular Bacon coming from different sources. All the different brands of bacon have different nutritional stats.
The problem is that people watch a show like Oprah and they hear that this particular brand of Turkey Bacon is actually nutritionally not as good as that particular brand of Regular Bacon, and from that point forward they assume that all regular bacon is better than turkey bacon. That is simply not true!
After watching that segment, I went to the supermarket and had a look at all the different types of bacon they sell there. What did I find? I randomly picked up five different brands and types of Regular Bacon and compared to it to Turkey Bacon. All five Regular Bacon packages were nutritionally WORSE than the Turkey Bacon.
Most of the Regular Bacon packages I picked up had way more Calories per strip of bacon, some had more fat, some even had more sodium. So comparing the different types of Regular Bacon at the supermarket I was at to Turkey Bacon showed that Regular Bacon is worse for you nutritionally than Turkey Bacon.
Was David Zinczenko Lying on Oprah?
No, David Zinczenko isn’t a liar. He is a clever marketer. He knows that most people believe that Turkey Bacon is better than Regular Bacon, so he simply went out and found a specific brand and type of Regular Bacon that is actually better than a specific brand and type of Turkey Bacon and then compared those two brands to show that in that specific case the Regular Bacon was actually better than the Turkey Bacon. Controversy gets people to watch the show and to buy books.
However, when you watch the show the sentiment that comes across is not:
“There are certain types of Regular Bacon that are better than Turkey Bacon.”
The sentiment that comes across is:
“Keep eating Regular Bacon, it’s good for you. Forget Turkey Bacon.”
In my opinion that is a very ignorant way of looking at things and it will do more harm than good.
The reality is that people need to learn how to read nutritional labels, and compare products properly, and not generalize that ALL Turkey Bacon is BAD FOR YOU and ALL Regular Bacon is GOOD FOR YOU, because that is not true.
The only way you’ll know which product is better for you is to turn the package over and compare the nutritional information on the back the next time you’re at the supermarket.
The same goes for all the other foods that were compared on the show, like muffins vs. bagels, etc. Some bagels are better than muffins, and some muffins are better than bagels. The only way to know which is better is to specifically compare the two. Don’t generalize.