Choose healthier sausage variants – Naturopathy & Naturopathic Treatment Portal

Healthier options for sausages and cuts of meat

Many children and adults like to garnish their bread with sausage or meat products. Ham, salami, sausage spread, mortadella – the choice is immense. But several recent studies have linked the consumption of cuts of meat and sausage to the development of cancer and heart disease. But not all products are equally harmful. In the wide range of cold cuts, some options are less harmful than others. A nutrition expert explains.

Certain types of sausages and cuts of meat are unhealthy than others. (Image: HLPhoto /

Julia Zumpano is a registered nutritionist at the renowned Cleveland Clinic in the United States. In a current clinic article, the expert explains what to look out for when buying sausages and cuts of meat to minimize the associated health risks.

Why many sausage products are harmful to your health

Processed meat (which includes almost all sausage products) has been classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization since 2015. Several studies have shown that consuming processed meat causes colon cancer. According to the WHO, the risk of colon cancer increases by 18% for every 50 gram serving of processed meat consumed daily.

These meats also contain high amounts of saturated fat and nitrates, which are not only linked to the development of cancer, but also to an increased risk of obesity and heart disease.

Less harmful sausage options

If you still don’t want your sausage removed from your bread, you can switch to healthier meat products, as not all products can be sheared with one comb. As Zumpano reports, the first thing to do is look for “delicate or high quality” sausages. This term is legally protected and guarantees that no broken product, processed sausage, or processed sausage meat has been used for the sausage.

In addition, preference should be given to meat products which have been cut from a whole piece of meat. These meats are less processed and generally do not contain as many carcinogenic nitrates. Good options here are turkey, chicken breast, lean ham, or roast beef, according to Zumpano. These cuts of meat also have the highest nutritional value compared to other sausage products.

Sausage without salt nitrite

Over 90 percent of sausages and deli meats contain carcinogenic nitrite curing salt. However, some manufacturers produce sausages without nitrite drying salt and accept a lighter color for the products. These sausages are mostly found in organic supermarkets or organic farm stores. For example, the organic farming associations Demeter, Bioland and Gäa generally work without nitrite salt.

Make cuts of meat yourself

“You can also buy a raw roast, ham or a chicken breast and cook it yourself, then cut it into portions,” Zumpano recommends. With this homemade charcuterie you know for sure which ingredients have been used in the preparation.

Less is more

But even with less harmful meat products, meat shouldn’t be on the menu every day. The German Nutrition Society advises adults not to eat more than 600 grams of meat per week. It is better to move more towards 300 grams per week.

For comparison: the average meat consumption in Germany in 2019 was 59.5 kilograms per capita. This corresponds to an average weekly consumption of over 1,100 grams of meat per week. (v)

Author and source information

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This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Graduate Editor (FH) Volker Blasek


WHO: IARC Monographs Assess Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat (published: October 26, 2015), Cleveland Clinic: How to Choose Healthier Meat for Breakfast? (published: 05.10.2020), health.clevelandclinic.orgDGE: Healthy eating and drinking according to the 10 rules of the DGE (consulted on 06.10.2020), dge.deStatista GmbH: Meat consumption per capita in Germany from 1991 to 2019 ( published April 17, 2020),

Important note:
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.