Salami, ham and other sausages regularly end up on the plate of many of us. After all, a sandwich is quick to prepare and great to take with you on the go.

Unfortunately, there is a catch: several large-scale studies have already shown that processed meat – including sausage – can cause cancer and promote cardiovascular disease. Find out how much cold cuts you should eat each day and which types of sausage are best here.

Is too much sausage unhealthy?

People who eat a lot of processed meat die earlier. That was the hard-hitting finding of a study of the University of Harvard from the year 2012. “Processed meat” is any meat product that has been altered by processes such as salting, smoking or the like, such as Vienna sausage or salami.

The study analyzed the diets of 37.000 men and 83.000 women. The shocking result: eating 50 grams of red meat or sausage products a day increases the risk of death by up to 20 percent.

More studies have established a link between sausage products and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. And stomach and colon cancer are also promoted by the consumption of overly processed meat. That’s why the World Health Organization (WHO) has banned sausages & co. also classified in the same danger category as smoking or drinking alcohol – namely as “carcinogenic in humans”.

Reduce sausage consumption and choose leaner varieties

Due to the clear study situation everyone should reconsider his sausage consumption once. The choice in the supermarket is huge, but processed meat basically does not provide your body with any added value. The opposite is true. In addition to a lot of pickling salt, from which the organism can form harmful nitrosamines, sausages also contain a lot of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids.

Ask yourself therefore more often the question: Must it be really always a salami bread, or does it not also a slice cheese as lining?

10 low-fat sausage varieties in check

For health reasons, you should not eat more than one slice of cold cuts a day. Choose low-fat sausages, preferably made from poultry meat. That is of alone meat kinds namely most harmless.

Rank 10: Beer ham (11 grams of fat)

Beer ham consists of cured pork, water, bacon and spices. In addition, there is an insert made of pieces of pork or ham. Beer is – although one could assume it – not an ingredient of the sausage classic. However, the beer ham owes its name to the fact that the spicy cold cuts are often eaten with a glass of beer.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: 160 kcal, 19 grams protein, 0 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams fat

Rank 9: Poultry Mortadella (10 grams of fat)

The Mortadella is a sausage specialty from Italy. The designation “Mortadella di Bologna” is an EU-wide protected term, because only the original Mortadella from very specific regions of Italy may call itself in such a way and must fulfill certain quality criteria.

The sausage in our supermarket usually does not meet these requirements, but may still call itself “Mortadella”. This is usually a meat mix of beef and pork. Unfortunately, the calories are quite high. The slimmer choice: low-fat poultry mortadella.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: 174 kcal, 21 grams protein, 0 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fat

Rank 8: Smoked and air-dried ham (8 to 10 grams of fat)

Whether Katenschinken, Nussschinken or Schwarzwälder Schinken: Smoked ham is a popular topping for bread. Smoking is one of the oldest preservation methods, whereby meat is hung in the smoke of aromatic woods.

As an alternative to smoking, the meat can also be air-dried, as in the case of Serrano ham, for example. In the countries around the Mediterranean, the climatic conditions are ideal for this purpose.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: Vary depending on variety

7th place: Kasseler cold cuts (8 grams of fat)

Kasseler is basically nothing more than cured and smoked pork. You can either make the cold cuts yourself by cutting a Kasseler roast thinly or simply buy it at the meat counter in the supermarket.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: 151 kcal, 21 grams protein, 0 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fat

Rank 6: Roast cold cuts (about 6 grams of fat)

“Cold roast” or “roast cold cuts” is actually a generic term for different types of roast that can be eaten cold as cold cuts. This can be beef roast, such as roast beef, roast pork or the like.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: Varies depending on variety

5th place: Corned beef (6 grams of fat)

Corned beef is cured beef that is cooked in its own juices. The cooking process causes the meat to gelatinize, making it firm to the bite. Corned beef is usually sold in cans, but this specialty originally from Ireland is also available in Germany as cold cuts.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: 141 kcal, 22 grams protein, 0 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat

Rank 4: Salmon ham (4.4 grams of fat)

You have always wondered what salmon ham and salmon have in common? Nothing at all. And it gets even better: salmon ham is not even a “real” ham, because the meat does not come from the leg of the pig. But where does the name come from then?

The low-fat fake ham is cut from the muscular rib or cutlet strand – the so-called “salmon” – not to be confused with the fillet. The meat was then cured and smoked, which gives it its typical flavor.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: 116 kcal, 18 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 4.4 grams of fat

Rank 3: Cooked ham (3.7 grams of fat)

Cooked ham is a lean and very popular type of sausage that many people eat on their sandwiches. Unfortunately, nowadays the supermarket ham no longer consists of a single piece of ham, but has been mechanically assembled from pieces of meat. That is why you can often find the description “cooked ham – assembled from ham parts” on the package.

Is this then formed meat? No, it would have to be labeled “Shaped ham, made from pieces of meat”.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: 125 kcal, 23 grams protein, 0 grams carbohydrates, 3.7 grams fat

2nd place: aspic sausage (3 grams of fat)

For many, aspic is not a real sausage – and visually alone it is not to everyone’s taste – but it is a spicy and at the same time low-fat alternative to salami and liver sausage. Brawn consists of different types of meat and vegetables, which are preserved in meat jelly or low-fat broth and gelatin.

If the word “meat jelly” has already made you lose your appetite, you might be convinced by the top nutritional values, because no other sausage has so few calories.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: 110 kcal, 20 grams protein, 0 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fat

Rank 1: Chicken and turkey breast cold cuts (1 gram of fat)

Poultry cold cuts are definitely the number 1 low-fat sausage. Plus, the low-calorie topping scores with plenty of high-quality protein. Since turkey and chicken meat are quite mild in taste, you can combine the cold cuts well with all kinds of ingredients.

Nutritional values per 100 grams: 113 kcal, 26 grams protein, 0 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fat

Is vegetarian sausage a good alternative?

In the meantime, there are numerous vegetarian sausages in the supermarket, which are considerably lower in calories and fat compared to normal sausage. Whether this can also taste? In the end, of course, everyone decides for himself, but just this much: you will be surprised how similar the sausage substitute is in taste and consistency to meat. Still skeptical? Try it out and buy your favorite vegetarian cold cuts, for example salami or mortadella style.

In addition, there are also already vegetarian tea and liver sausage for spreading, as well as meat salad without meat. The basis is egg, pea protein or soy, depending on the manufacturer and product.

Eat less sausage, eat more consciously

It will definitely benefit your health if you reduce your consumption of processed meat a little. Avoid cheap meat from the supermarket or discount store, because it comes from factory farming. Better: organic cold cuts from the market stall or butcher you trust.

About the Author

Andrew Scott

ANDREW SCOTT, Founder Mountaineer Country Tours About me In my spare time I test toys and that's why I created this site. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I'll be happy to reply to you by email or in comments.

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