Bologna meat, a type of sausage, is made from finely ground beef and/or pork, and is usually smoked and sliced. While describing the nutrition facts and health benefits of this ready-to-eat sandwich staple, this NutriNeat article explains why you should limit your consumption of precooked sausages.
Did You Know?
As bacteria thrive well in a more alkaline environment (with pH levels above 7), controlling the pH of a food item can help preserve it. The typical pH level of Bologna is between 4.5 and 5 (categorized as acidic).
Bologna, a cooked, smoked sausage (or meat loaf), is usually made of cured beef, cured pork, or a mixture of both. Bologna meat, or the soft, mild sausages, are generally served cold in sandwiches. Some manufacturers include selected cuts, while some include organs, trimmings, end pieces, etc., in this emulsion-type product. Spice plays an important role in the curing and overall performance of the meat. Curing, an age-old process of preserving fresh meat, involves salting, smoking, and air-drying of the meat. Traditionally, people used to hang meats in a dry attic, as it allowed evaporation of moisture. Dehydration helps prevent growth of bacteria in food. These days, people prefer buying cured meats in vacuum packs. One can buy the slices or can have the loaves sliced to order at a deli counter. Cured ground meat is molded and stuffed into Bologna casings. Bologna is also known as ‘boloney’ or ‘baloney.’ Such types of meats are commonly known as lunch meats, luncheon meats, sandwich meats, cooked meats, sliced meats, or cold meats.
What is Bologna?
Apart from salt, sugar, pepper, and spices, a curing mixture which contains sodium nitrite is added to smoked and pasteurized sausages to prevent botulism. The casing can be synthetic or natural, made from the gastrointestinal tracts of cattle, sheep, and hogs.
Bologna Meat Types
✦ All beef Bologna contains only beef, and is more reddish than other varieties.
✦ Kosher or halal Bologna contains only beef. Sometimes, it is made from turkey or lamb.
✦ German Bologna contains garlic, and is also known as garlic Bologna.
✦ The popular Pennsylvania Dutch variety of the sausage, called ‘Lebanon Bologna’, is known for its extreme flavor, smokey taste, and dark, coarse appearance.
✦ Pork-beef Bologna contains both pork and beef. Bologna can also have some chicken in it.
✦ Some low-cost Bologna may contain beef trimmings, beef hearts, tripe, pork stomachs, pork fats, etc.
✦ Soy protein is added to some Bologna. Some may contain wheat flour.
✦ Apart from the curing nitrite salt, Bologna may contain one or more of the following: garlic, red pepper, cardamom, dry corn syrup, sodium glutamate, mace, caraway seeds, sodium ascorbate, coriander, sugar, white pepper, marjoram, paprika, onion, mustard powder, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, etc. There exist different types and flavors of Bologna.
✦ There exist 98% fat-free Bologna (from Oscar mayor), low fat Bologna, low sodium Bologna, etc.
✦ Bologna can be coarse or fine.
✦ The Finnish version is called ‘Lauantaimakkara.’ It is precooked, unsmoked sausage. It comes with a very mild flavor and smooth texture. The color is pale-pinkish, and not red, because it does not contain nitrates. The main ingredients are pork, beef, pork rind, potato flour, and seasonings. Some manufacturers add turkey or chicken. The lean meat content varies between 25 and 39%, depending on the manufacturer.
✦ A low-fat non-GMO soy vegan Bologna is made by the Lightlife Company, MA, U.S.
Bologna Meat Nutrition Facts
As there exist several types, the nutritional value of Bologna may vary according to the ingredients used. It may also vary according to the processing techniques used. Lebanon Bologna, the highly seasoned smoked beef sausage that originated in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, is popular among consumers for over a century.
|Lebanon Bologna, Beef (2 oz. or 57 g)|
|Total fat||5.95 g|
|Total Dietary Fiber||0 g|
|Total Sugars||0.0 g|
|Vitamin A IU||22 IU|
|Vitamin A, RAE||7 µg|
|Vitamin B6||0.223 mg|
|Vitamin B12||1.65 µg|
|Vitamin C||0.5 mg|
|Vitamin D||6 IU|
|Vitamin D2+D3||0.2 µg|
|Vitamin E||0.32 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.2 µg|
|Total Saturated Fat||1.593 g|
|Total Monounsaturated Fat||2.529 g|
|Total Polyunsaturated Fat||0.147 g|
Calories in Bologna Meat
✦ As explained above, 57 g (2 slices) of Lebanon Bologna contain 98 calories.
Total fat content: 5.95 g.
Sodium: 783 mg.
Cholesterol: 31 mg.
✦ 2 slices (56 g) of Oscar Mayer, Bologna (beef) contain 176 calories.
Total fat content: 16.30 g.
Sodium: 660 mg.
Cholesterol: 36 mg.
✦ 2 servings (56 g) of Louis Rich turkey Bologna contain 104 calories.
Total fat content: 7.40 g.
Sodium: 604 mg.
Cholesterol: 38 mg.
You must have noticed that most cold cuts are high in fat and sodium.
Health Benefits and Risks
✦ Beef and pork play an important role in a high protein diet. Doctors often recommend high protein diets for various conditions. Protein helps build muscles. However, those who want to gain muscle need to include lean pieces of meat in their diet, and not the meat that is high in saturated fat.
✦ A high protein low carb diet may force the body to burn fat for fuel. This can promote weight loss. However, a good diet needs to be accompanied by increased physical activity. Then only it helps lose weight. Similarly, leading a stress-free lifestyle is equally important if you are planning to lose weight with the help of diet and exercise. Otherwise, the diet may lead to health complications.
✦ Eating too much of fatty meats can raise your blood cholesterol levels. As you know, high cholesterol can cause heart diseases and strokes.
✦ Bologna provides certain essential vitamins and minerals which can help improve one’s health. But it does not contain fiber, an important nutrient. Fiber helps maintain blood sugar levels and also the overall digestive health. So, along with Bologna, you should consume lots of vegetables, fruits, and berries.
✦ Excessive intake of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, kidney dysfunction, and various other health problems.
✦ Excessive intake of fat can result in obesity, heart diseases, insomnia, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, osteoporosis, etc.
✦ Don’t fall prey to false advertisements that state that the particular Bologna sandwich contains less sugar, less fat, and it’s made with premium beef, no fillers, etc. The advertiser does not mention the saturated fat and sodium content in it.
✦ The sugar in Bologna is nothing but the corn syrup. Health risks associated with the use of corn syrup in foods is again a topic of fierce debate.
✦ Bologna, the processed meat, often contains chemical preservatives. Like all other processed foods, it may do more harm than good.
✦ Various studies show that regular consumption of cured and processed meats can cause colorectal cancer. The reason behind this is not yet known.
To make sandwiches, you can use peanut butter and vegetables instead of Bologna. The butter contains healthy unsaturated fats, and is not as high in sodium and saturated fat as Bologna. Moreover, it is free of cholesterol.