How Much Does A Slice Of Deli Ham Weigh
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*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may vary based on your caloric needs.
How To Understand The Measurement Of Deli Meat
Note: Any product purchased after clicking our Amazon button will earn us a small bonus. Thanks if you click them! Sandwiches are a lunch staple, and it’s easy to make healthy, high-protein versions of favorites like turkey or steak. However, deli meats are often known for being highly processed (which increases the sodium content). However, “Cold meat is definitely part of a balanced diet, but the frequency depends on the type,” says Keri Gans, author of The Small Change Diet.
Here’s how different cold cuts compare nutritionally, why sodium is important, and how to make a healthy sandwich to help you reach your health goals.
As you can see, turkey, ham, and roast beef are similar in terms of calories, fat, and sodium. Salami is significantly higher in fat (including saturated fat) and sodium.
“The problem with most deli meats is that they’re high in sodium, and for people who are sensitive to salt, that can increase their risk of high blood pressure and heart disease,” Gans says. Even if you don’t care much about salt, consider how you feel after eating a sandwich filled with cold pretzels. “For some people, foods high in sodium can cause bloating, which can lead to gastrointestinal distress,” he adds.
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cold cuts are one of the top 10 sources of sodium in the American diet. Consider the recommendation to limit your sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. According to the CDC, if you eat a sandwich with bread, charcuterie, cheese and mustard, you can get 1,500 mg of sodium per serving, which is before the side like chips and pickles.
Meat cuts often contain nitrates or nitrites, which are added as preservatives to keep the cuts fresh. A report by the American Institute of Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund says there is evidence that daily consumption of processed meat increases the risk of colon cancer. However, it is unclear whether this is due to nitrates or other factors such as lifestyle. “More research is needed, but deli meat is safe in moderation,” Gans said.
If you eat a lot of savory meats, look for meats that don’t have added nitrates or nitrites. Applegate is an example; Gans says major brands have products without these preservatives.
Most people should choose cold cuts that are low in sodium (look for low sodium or reduced sodium on the label). If you have a sandwich, it’s a good idea to cut out salty foods for the rest of the day.
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Choose wisely: “Turkey, ham, or roast beef are better choices than salami, bolognese, or pork because they’re lower in sodium, calories, and fat,” Gans says. “Freshly fried,” he says, another buzzword you’ll find at the can counter. “They contain fewer preservatives and therefore may be lower in sodium.”
Gans recommends a maximum of four slices of deli meat. “Make it bulkier by adding vegetables, not meat,” he says. In addition to the usual lettuce and tomato, you can pile on cucumbers and sliced carrots and use roasted vegetables as a topping. Avocados or hummus can replace mayonnaise or cheese, adding healthy monounsaturated fats.
You can also reduce your sodium intake by eating a slice of bread and keeping your face open. Or try sandwiching a few slices of turkey between two slices of bell pepper as a “bread” or tossing in some flavorful greens like kale and collards.
Jessica Migala Jessica Migala is a health and fitness freelancer based in the Chicago suburbs. She spends her free time with her two young sons and her beagle mix by her side. Jessica also writes for She, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, Real Simple and more. Find it at jessicamigala.com.
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