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Is Bologna Keto Friendly? [The ULTIMATE Deli Meat Guide for KETO!]


written by

Husein Gradasevic

is bologna keto?

People either LOVE bologna or they simply hate it! That’s just how it is! But since you are here, I know which side you are on. So is bologna keto?

Bologna is keto-friendly in moderation. Each slice of bologna contains 0-2 grams of net carbs depending on the variety. It is easy to accommodate a few slices without going over your daily carb limit.

In this article, we will find out whether you can have bologna on keto. We will also look at other deli meats suitable for the low carb diet!

is bologna keto?

Is Bologna Keto Approved?

The keto diet restricts your daily carb consumption to just 25 grams of carbs. So you need to be really careful about the foods you snack on!

A single slice of bologna has 0-2g net carbs and hence you can occasionally enjoy it on the keto diet.

There’s one ingredient present in most cold cuts that gives every keto-er chills down their spine: Corn Syrup

Made using corn starch, corn syrup is much cheaper and sweeter than sugar. It is used in most deli items for three particular reasons:

  • First, it compensates for the salty flavor and adds a bit of sweetness to the meat.
  • It retains moisture in the meat and prevents the cuts from drying up.
  • Unfortunately, manufacturers often use corn syrups as a “filler” since it’s much cheaper than real meat!

Its also the major source of carbs in baloney!

If you do your homework right, you can easily find varieties having negligible carbs! Always scan the nutrition label and watch out for questionable ingredients.

Oscar Meyer’s bologna, for example, has ZERO carbs!

Oscar Meyer's Beef has zero carbs

I prefer to buy my bologna from a Deli counter since it’s way more delicious than the prepackaged ones! And you can even get much thinner slices there.

Keep in mind that most cold cuts are heavily processed in factories. Remember how elders say we should only eat natural foods to stay healthy? That saying is indeed true when it comes to bologna!

These slices include a lot of food additives such as sodium nitrite and modified starch, which aren’t “natural” in any way.

Having said that, an occasional indulgence can break the monotony of a diet and ward off those insane cravings!

Look for grass-fed beef bologna free from nitrates, MSG, additives, preservatives, soy, and gluten. The lesser the additives, the healthier it gets!

The TRUTH Behind Bologna

Isn’t bologna just hot dog pancakes?

You wouldn’t be wrong if you thought so!

Bologna or baloney is a smooth blend of pork and beef (sometimes chicken) trimmings that are turned into a fine paste, and then packed into a sausage casing.

Here’s the sad truth: You don’t really know what kind of meat goes into your baloney! Manufacturers are profit-oriented and they will leave no stone unturned to minimize their costs!

Buying fresh meat and buying cold cuts like bologna are two completely different things!

When you order fresh meat, the vendor tries to give you the best quality both in terms of taste and appearance. Because that’s how they will “win” you as a loyal customer!

But when it comes to bologna, all of them look exactly the same! There’s literally no way to find out what quality of meat was really used in this product.

Only a few brands use the premium cuts of meat. Our markets are majorly flooded with baloney made from ground-up organs, trimmings, and don’t-know-what!

What Deli Meats Can You Eat on Keto?

Deli meats (aka cold cuts) are precooked or cured meats that are sliced and served in a sandwich. They are broadly known as “convenient” meat since there is no cooking required.

Deli meat and cheese wrapped in a lettuce makes an excellent keto-friendly sandwich!

Most of the cold cuts are keto-friendly since each serving contains 0-2g of net carbs. With little effort, you can easily find the zero carbs ones.

Most premium brands have zero carbs because they don’t use sugar as a filler.

All of the luncheon meats share a similar nutrition profile. Each slice has 9g of fats, 3.5g of protein and 0-2g of carbs.

You can mix and match from the following:

  • Chorizo
  • Pancetta
  • Prosciutto
  • Ham off the bone
  • Pepperoni
  • Mortadella
  • Chicken Roll
  • Salami
  • Chicken Breast Supreme
  • Beef Pastrami
  • Turkey Breast
  • Roast Beef

Since deli meats are highly processed and devoid of nutrition, consider adding fresh veggies in your meals. Don’t forget to throw in some cheese to amp up the fat content (after all, it’s keto!)

Pick from the following low-carb fillings for your keto cold cut sandwiches:

  • Hard cheeses
  • Lettuce
  • Kimchi, thinly sliced
  • Olives
  • Roasted garlic
  • Mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • Low Carb Sauces: Ranch or low carb salsa, etc.

Here’s a health hack: When buying cold cuts, go for sliced to order meats instead of pre-sliced ones. The logic is pretty simple! Pre-sliced cuts have a larger surface area and hence they need much more preservatives to last longer!

Can You Have Lunch Meats on Keto?

Premium quality lunch meats fit really well in the keto diet macros! They don’t use sugar to inflate quantity and hence they contain almost zero carbs.

But since they are highly processed, making them your go-to lunch isn’t very healthy!

There are a few more reasons to watch out your intake of deli meats on keto.

Bologna contains very high amounts of salt that act as a preservative and a flavor enhancer. As a result, a single slice contains more than 20% of your daily recommended intake of sodium.

Having too much salt in your diet is troublesome! Excessive sodium intake can lead to blood pressure problems and an increased risk for heart disease.

Another cause of concern is sodium nitrite found in bologna and hotdogs. It is what gives that tempting pink shade to your meat slices!

But that’s just a byproduct. The real reason is to lower the risk of a serious disease!

Adding sodium nitrite to your salami prevents the growth of botulism-causing bacteria in processed meats.

Sadly, nothing in this world comes without side effects! There are always two sides to a coin.

Some studies have found that sodium nitrite could increase your risk of certain kinds of cancer and other health complications. It may form toxic compounds in your stomach, which can pose these risks.

While lunch meats are super convenient, don’t make them an everyday habit!


So is bologna keto-friendly?

The answer is yes!

A single slice of bologna has 0-2g of net carbs. You can easily accommodate it in a daily carb allowance of 20 grams! Good quality cuts (such as Oscar Meyer’s) will have almost zero carbs per serving.

Don’t go overboard with the cold cuts! Luncheon meats are highly processed and devoid of nutrients. Consider adding veggies to improve the overall nutrition of your meal. Don’t forget to throw in some cheese to amp up the fat content!

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