If you’ve decided that one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to lose weight, you may be in the midst of a range of lifestyle changes–and at the top of that list is probably your diet. Figuring out what you should and shouldn’t eat when it comes to your health (and not to mention sticking to those guidelines) can be a difficult process, especially if you’re used to eating the same things on a regular basis that may not be the best for your body. For example, maybe you frequently make yourself a sandwich made with deli meat for lunch. While a sandwich complete with meat and veggies may seem like a perfectly fine option, health experts warn that many processed lunch meats can be detrimental to your weight loss goals. In fact, there’s one high-sodium meat many agree you should leave out of your sandwich if you’re trying to stay healthy this year: bologna.
To learn more about why bologna is so unhealthy and how it can contribute to weight gain and other issues, we spoke to nutritionist Lisa Richards, creator of The Candida Diet, and certified weight loss coach Joanna Wen, founder of Spices and Greens. They told us that the sodium and saturated fat are red flags you shouldn’t ignore. Read on to learn more!
There’s no denying that a good old bologna sandwich is a classic, easy lunch–however, Richards and Wen both warn that eating bologna on a regular basis can lead to weight gain, heart issues, and more. “Bologna is a type of processed meat that is made from ground pork, beef, or a combination of the two,” Richards explains. Unfortunately, she points out that “it is typically high in fat and sodium, which can contribute to health problems when consumed in excess.”
Wen seconds this notion. “Among deli meats, bologna stands out as particularly detrimental to health,” she says. “Made from a combination of proteins from various animals, it’s especially high in fat and sodium, making it a definite no-no if you’re trying to slim down.”
Processed meats in general are never a great idea for your health due to the preservatives they typically contain, but Wen says that especially high-sodium options like bologna are among the worst culprits. “While all processed meats can lead to weight gain if consumed in large quantities in place of healthier foods, those with especially high levels of sodium and fat are the worst culprits,” she says, explaining that many processed meats contain high amounts of sodium as a preservative, which “can cause bloating and retain water weight when absorbed into the body.” And that’s definitely not great for weight loss!
In addition to sodium, the saturated fat levels at hand are also a major warning sign for anyone trying to shed a few pounds–but the health risks don’t just stop at weight gain. “Research has shown that consuming high amounts of processed meats, such as bologna, is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and other health problems. Processed meats are also typically high in saturated fat and sodium, which can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of high blood pressure and other health issues,” Richards tells us. Yikes!
Of course, at the end of the day, mostly everything is okay to eat in moderation. However, if you’re looking to make healthier choices and avoid weight gain, it’s best to avoid bologna and opt for leaner, unprocessed meats instead. Wen recommends skinless chicken or turkey breast, or even plant-based options like tofu or tempeh. No matter what you choose, your body will thank you when you make a healthy swap for those processed meats!