How Many Calories Are in a Serving of Sliced Ham and Is It Healthy for Weight Loss

How Many Calories Are in a Serving of Sliced Ham and Is It Healthy for Weight Loss

Sliced ham, a popular sandwich meat and mealtime dish, often raises questions about its calorie content and suitability for weight loss. This article explores the caloric value, production process, various types, nutritional composition, benefits, and risks of ham.

Ham is derived from pork meat cut from the back leg of a pig. Ham producers then prepare the meat by removing excess fat and skin. The ham is either cured with salt or smoked. Fresh ham, which is uncured, is also available, with the option of bone-in or boneless varieties.

There are three methods of ham production:

1. Traditional cured or smoked ham with the bone: Producers trim the fat and skin from the hind leg pork meat. They then pump brine into the meat using a syringe and wrap it in a net, creating a rectangular pattern. The ham is heated to more than 144 degrees Fahrenheit, chilled, wrapped, and boxed.

2. Boneless, premium ham: Producers remove the fat and skin completely from the pork meat and pump brine into it. The meat is then massaged and tumbled, with a net or ham mold used to maintain its shape. After processing, the ham is chilled, cut, and packaged.

3. Boneless, sectioned, or chopped and formed: Similar to boneless premium ham, the bicep, leg, and knuckle muscles of the pig are cut into smaller pieces and then massaged and tumbled to form a larger piece.

Ham is categorized into three types based on processing:

1. Fresh ham: This type is not processed and can be found plastic-wrapped or vacuum-packed in the market. It can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.

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2. Smoked ham: Producers smoke ham using either moist sawdust or hardwood, or liquid smoke for flavor. Smoking gives the ham a distinctive color and helps eliminate bacteria.

3. Cured ham: Available in the market or made at home, cured ham requires a curing period of 30 to 40 days at temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt, sugar, and other ingredients such as black pepper or ground cloves may be added for enhanced flavor, color, and aroma. Some producers use saltpeter or potassium nitrate for extended preservation.

Ham contains varying calorie counts, depending on whether it is cooked or raw. A 100-gram portion of cured, roasted ham contains 139 calories. Nutritional content may also differ based on the specific ingredients and method of curing or cooking.

A 145-gram serving of sliced ham provides the following nutrients:

– Calories: 202

– Protein: 32.2 grams

– Fat: 7.4 grams

– Carbohydrates: 1.54 grams

– Calcium: 5.8 milligrams

– Iron: 1.2 milligrams

– Magnesium: 31.9 milligrams

– Phosphorus: 447 milligrams

– Potassium: 500 milligrams

– Sodium: 1420 milligrams

– Zinc: 2.61 milligrams

Ham also contains minerals like copper, manganese, and selenium, as well as various vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, betaine, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E.

Some of the benefits of ham include its richness in vitamins and minerals, which boost the immune system and provide protein and energy. Dry-cured ham, in particular, contains biopeptides that reduce inflammation. Additionally, biopeptides found in dry-cured ham have been associated with reduced cholesterol levels and improved blood pressure.

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However, ham consumption does come with risks. Excessive consumption of red meat, including ham, has been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Processed meats like ham have also been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Furthermore, raw or smoked ham may contain parasitic worms, highlighting the importance of thorough cooking.

In conclusion, while low-fat ham consumed in moderation is unlikely to significantly impact weight, incorporating fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables is recommended for weight loss. Be mindful of the varied calorie content of ham based on its preparation. Moderation is key to enjoying the benefits of ham while minimizing the risks associated with red meat consumption.

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