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Bologna sausage vs Mortadella - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Bologna sausage
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Mortadella

Introduction

Bologna sausage and mortadella are meat products that are mostly made of pork. However, bologna sausage can be prepared by processing beef, pork, or veal whereas mortadella is solely prepared by pork.

Bologna sausage is also known as baloney, parizer, polony, devon, and fritz. It is a derivative of mortadella, usually made of pork meat and fat. Bologna sausage was derived from the mortadella and it is said that bologna sausage originated from the families that moved from Bologna to the United States.
Bologna sausage has a homogeneous form which is one of its differences from mortadella. The meat which can be pork and/or beef is mixed with fats and spices and emulsified together. This product is then processed into the shapes of the bologna sausage.

On the other hand, mortadella is a delicacy that is made exclusively from pork meat. It originated in Bologna, Italy. Mortadella has been part of the Italian culinary world since the 14th century. Mortadella is made by curing ground pork meat on this mixture chunks of pork fat, black pepper seeds, and pistachio is added. On the contrary to bologna sausage, this mixture is not emulsified thus giving the mortadella a heterogeneous form. Usually, 15% of the mortadella has to be pork fat chunks.

In this article, we will be comparing bologna sausage to mortadella based on their nutritional content, weight loss and diets, and health impacts.

What is the actual difference?

There are various differences between bologna sausage and mortadella. These differences vary among its origin, forms, price, shelflife, and taste, nutritional content among other things.

Origin

The difference in origin is that bologna sausage is from the United States and mortadella is from Bologna, Italy.

Form

The difference in form is that bologna sausage is homogeneous whereas mortadella is heterogeneous with the fat chunks, black pepper, and pistachio.

Price

When it comes to its price, bologna sausage is cheaper than mortadella.

Shelf life

Both are cold cuts that require refrigeration. However, mortadella has a longer shelf life compared to bologna sausage. In its unopened condition, refrigerated mortadella can last up to 1 month compared to bologna sausage that lasts for 1-2 weeks. Mortadella when opened and sliced lasts up to 1 week.

Taste

Mortadella has a richer, fattier flavor than bologna sausage. Mortadella has a delicate taste than bologna, the spices and pork fat make the mortadella a more flavourful cold cut than the bologna sausage.

About the nutritional content, they will be compared in further sections.

Culinary world

Bologna sausage can be eaten in different ways. It could be the simplest lunch sandwich which is white bread, bologna, American cheese, and mustard or it could be added to a burger as a topping or even added as a topping to pizza.

On the other hand, mortadella is a more delicate cold cut, which can be eaten similarly to bologna as part of a sandwich, or it can be added as a pizza topping to add a richer flavor profile to it. Mortadella can even be added to meat and cheese boards served with wine.

Nutritional data comparison

Glycemic index

Bologna sausage and mortadella are categorized as low glycemic index foods. Bologna sausage has a glycemic index which is 0. Whereas, mortadella has a higher glycemic index which is equal to 28.

Calories

Bologna sausage is lower in calories than mortadella. Mortadella contains 1.25x more calories than bologna sausage.

Carbs

Bologna sausage is lower in carbs compared to mortadella. Bologna sausage contains 0.7g of carbs whereas, mortadella contains 3g of carbs.

Fats

Both these foods are high in fat. Even though bologna is high in fat, it has lower fat content than mortadella. Bologna sausage contains nearly 20g of fats, for which 10g are monounsaturated fats, 3g are polyunsaturated, and 7g are saturated fats. On the other hand, mortadella is higher in fats compared to bologna, it contains 25g of fat, for which 11.3g are monounsaturated, 3.1g are polyunsaturated, and 9.5g are saturated.

Trans fat

Mortadella is higher in trans fat than bologna sausage. However, both are high in trans fats.

Cholesterol 

Bologna sausage and mortadella have similar amounts of cholesterol. Constituting nearly 16% of the daily recommended value.

The amounts of fats in both these foods are elevated and it is important to always keep in check the fat intake, even in normal and healthy individuals.

Protein 

Both are rich in proteins, although it is important to mention that mortadella has a slightly higher protein content. In addition to that, both have a complete amino acid profile satisfying all essential amino acids.

Mineral content 

Bologna sausage is richer in phosphorus, copper, and potassium. Whereas, mortadella is richer in zinc and iron. One of the most important features in their mineral profile is their sodium content. It is important to note that 300g of each is already surpassing the daily requirement of sodium by 100% and more. Although no one usually consumes 300g of either, considering an average slice of 15g. Already 2 slices constitute more than 10% of the daily sodium intake. Mortadella contains higher amounts of sodium compared to bologna sausage.

Vitamin content

Bologna sausage has a richer vitamin profile compared to mortadella.  Bologna is richer in vitamins D, B1, B3, B5, and B6. Whereas mortadella is richer in vitamins B2 and B12.

Diet and weight loss

Bologna sausage and mortadella are not very recommended to be consumed during weight-loss diets. This is mainly due to their high amounts of fats and sodium. Although they are rich in proteins, their fat, trans fat, and cholesterol levels are elevated. In addition to that, the sodium levels in both, mainly in mortadella, are off the charts.

Vegan

Bologna sausage and mortadella are excluded from the vegan diet. However, some vegan alternatives for bologna sausage are available. The vegan bologna is usually made out of tofu cheese and other spices.

Keto

Bologna sausage and mortadella can be eaten on a keto diet. They are low in carbs and glycemic index, they are mostly made of protein and fats when it comes to their macronutrient composition. However, it is important to mention that while consuming these foods the sodium content should be taken into consideration. In addition to that, mortadella and bologna sausage are usually associated with different types of condiments and toppings like mustard, mayo, ketchup, pickles, and cheeses. These all increase the levels of salt and sometimes carbs.

Health impacts

Cardiovascular health and Diabetes

Processed meat similar to red meat has negative effects on the cardiovascular system and overall metabolic system. It is important to mention that processed meat such as bologna sausage and mortadella has worse effects on the cardiovascular health and metabolic system than red meat itself. Consuming processed meat is associated with negative effects on cardiovascular health and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The main effectors of these problems are fats, trans fats, cholesterol, the added sodium, and nitrites. (1)

The nitrite levels that are present in bologna sausage and mortadella are a big risk factor for metabolic disorders. Nitrites and their metabolites are associated with different types of metabolic disorders such as type 1 diabetes in children, endothelial dysfunction, and insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes in adults. Nitrites are usually added as preservatives in processed meats. (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Cancer

Often mortadella and bologna sausage is smoked with charcoal which increases polycyclic hydrocarbons which are one of the leading causes of developing various types of cancer. Thus, it is important to refrain from consumed smoked meat due to their association with increased risks of developing cancer. (7)

Healthier alternatives

Vegan alternatives are present for bologna sausage which is not based on processing meat, however, it is based on tofu. Tofu being a derivative of soya beans is filled with phytoestrogens which in turn have their pros and cons.
In addition, as a concern to public health, the meat industry is trying to find ways to reduce the nitrate, sodium, and fat levels present in processed meat such as bologna sausage and mortadella. Improvements are being made in turning these foods healthier and reducing their cons in everyday diets. (8) (9)

Summary

Bologna sausage is a more processed form of mortadella and is cheaper. Bologna has a richer and more versatile vitamin and mineral profile. It is lower in carbs, fats, calories, and has a lower glycemic index. Mortadella is richer in proteins and has higher sodium content.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20479151/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7955990/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16413411/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18793627/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11485378/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7020544/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21688801/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29197766/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24334039/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Profession: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: August 26, 2021

Infographic

Bologna sausage vs Mortadella infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Potassium +72.4%
Contains more Magnesium +27.3%
Contains more Copper +33.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +43.3%
Contains less Sodium -27.2%
Contains more Iron +81.8%
Contains more Calcium +63.6%
Equal in Zinc - 2.1
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 29% 4% 25% 10% 27% 56% 60% 119%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 53% 6% 15% 8% 20% 58% 42% 163%
Contains more Potassium +72.4%
Contains more Magnesium +27.3%
Contains more Copper +33.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +43.3%
Contains less Sodium -27.2%
Contains more Iron +81.8%
Contains more Calcium +63.6%
Equal in Zinc - 2.1

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
Contains more Vitamin E +18.2%
Contains more Vitamin D +40%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +339.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +45.9%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +63.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +107.7%
Contains more Folate +66.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +97352.2%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +59.1%
Contains more Vitamin K +433.3%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 0% 6% 42% 131% 37% 74% 44% 63% 117% 1% 4%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 0% 5% 30% 30% 35308% 51% 27% 30% 185% 4% 3%
Contains more Vitamin E +18.2%
Contains more Vitamin D +40%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +339.5%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +45.9%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +63.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +107.7%
Contains more Folate +66.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +97352.2%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +59.1%
Contains more Vitamin K +433.3%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
43
Bologna sausage
2972
Mortadella
Mineral Summary Score
41
Bologna sausage
45
Mortadella

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
92%
Bologna sausage
98%
Mortadella
Carbohydrates
1%
Bologna sausage
3%
Mortadella
Fats
92%
Bologna sausage
117%
Mortadella

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Bologna sausage Mortadella
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in price Equal
Rich in minerals Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Bologna sausage Mortadella
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

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Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Mortadella
Mortadella is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 3mg)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Bologna sausage
Bologna sausage contains less Sodium (difference - 339mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Bologna sausage
Bologna sausage is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 2.671g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Bologna sausage
Bologna sausage is lower in glycemic index (difference - 28)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Bologna sausage
Bologna sausage is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Sugar?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sugar (0 g)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Bologna sausage Mortadella Opinion
Calories 247 311 Mortadella
Protein 15.3 16.37 Mortadella
Fats 19.87 25.39 Mortadella
Vitamin C 0 0
Carbs 0.73 3.05 Mortadella
Cholesterol 59 56 Mortadella
Vitamin D 56 41 Bologna sausage
Iron 0.77 1.4 Mortadella
Calcium 11 18 Mortadella
Potassium 281 163 Bologna sausage
Magnesium 14 11 Bologna sausage
Sugar 0 0
Fiber 0 0
Copper 0.08 0.06 Bologna sausage
Zinc 2.03 2.1 Mortadella
Starch
Phosphorus 139 97 Bologna sausage
Sodium 907 1246 Bologna sausage
Vitamin A 0 0
Vitamin E 0.26 0.22 Bologna sausage
Vitamin D 1.4 1 Bologna sausage
Vitamin B1 0.523 0.119 Bologna sausage
Vitamin B2 0.157 153 Mortadella
Vitamin B3 3.9 2.673 Bologna sausage
Vitamin B5 0.72 0.44 Bologna sausage
Vitamin B6 0.27 0.13 Bologna sausage
Vitamin B12 0.93 1.48 Mortadella
Vitamin K 0.3 1.6 Mortadella
Folate 5 3 Bologna sausage
Trans Fat
Saturated Fat 6.839 9.51 Bologna sausage
Monounsaturated Fat 9.732 11.38 Mortadella
Polyunsaturated fat 2.107 3.12 Mortadella
Tryptophan 0.149 0.152 Mortadella
Threonine 0.641 0.633 Bologna sausage
Isoleucine 0.663 0.708 Mortadella
Leucine 1.168 1.213 Mortadella
Lysine 1.204 1.262 Mortadella
Methionine 0.412 0.394 Bologna sausage
Phenylalanine 0.585 0.598 Mortadella
Valine 0.737 0.735 Bologna sausage
Histidine 0.482 0.52 Mortadella
Fructose

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Bologna sausage - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173856/nutrients
  2. Mortadella - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174573/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.