Mortadella vs Bologna sausage - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
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.
Table of contents
- What is the actual difference?
- Culinary world
- Nutritional data comparison
- Diet and weight loss
- Health impacts
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, 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; chunks of pork fat, black pepper seeds, and pistachio are added on this mixture. 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.
This article will compare bologna sausage to mortadella based on their nutritional content, weight loss and diets, and health impacts.
What is the actual difference?
There are differences between bologna sausage and mortadella. These differences vary among its origin, forms, price, shelflife, and taste, nutritional content, among other things.
The difference in origin is that bologna sausage is from the United States, and mortadella is from Bologna, Italy.
The difference in form is that bologna sausage is homogeneous, whereas mortadella is heterogeneous with fat chunks, black pepper, and pistachio.
When it comes to its price, bologna sausage is cheaper than mortadella.
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.
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.
Bologna sausage can be eaten in different ways. It could be the simplest lunch sandwich: 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. Mortadella can even be added to meat and cheese boards served with wine.
Nutritional data comparison
Bologna sausage and mortadella are categorized as low glycemic index foods. Bologna sausage has a glycemic index which is 0. In comparison, mortadella has a higher glycemic index which is equal to 28.
Bologna sausage is lower in calories than mortadella. Mortadella contains 1.25x more calories than bologna sausage.
Bologna sausage is lower in carbs compared to mortadella. Bologna sausage contains 0.7g of carbs whereas, mortadella contains 3g of carbs.
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 than bologna; it contains 25g of fat, for which 11.3g are monounsaturated, 3.1g are polyunsaturated, and 9.5g are saturated.
Mortadella is higher in trans fat than bologna sausage. However, both are high in trans fats.
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.
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.
Bologna sausage is richer in phosphorus, copper, and potassium. In comparison, 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 surpasses the daily sodium requirement by 100% and more. Although no one usually consumes 300g of either, considering an average slice of 15g. Already two slices constitute more than 10% of the daily sodium intake. Mortadella contains higher amounts of sodium compared to bologna sausage.
We can see here the mineral charts.
Bologna sausage has a richer vitamin profile compared to mortadella. Bologna is richer in vitamins D, B1, B3, B5, and B6. In comparison, mortadella is richer in vitamins B2 and B12.
We can see here the vitamin charts.
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.
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.
Bologna sausage and mortadella can be eaten on a keto diet. They are low in carbs and glycemic index, and they are mostly made of protein and fats when it comes to their macronutrient composition. However, it is important to mention that the sodium content should be taken in consideration while consuming these foods. In addition to that, mortadella and bologna sausage are usually associated with different condiments and toppings like mustard, mayo, ketchup, pickles, and cheeses. These all increase the levels of salt and sometimes carbs.
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, added sodium, and nitrites. (1)
The nitrite levels present in bologna sausage and mortadella are a big risk factor for metabolic disorders. Nitrites and their metabolites are associated with different metabolic disorders such as type 1 diabetes in children, endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes in adults. Nitrites are usually added as preservatives in processed meats. (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
Often mortadella and bologna sausage is smoked with charcoal which increases polycyclic hydrocarbons, one of the leading causes of developing various types of cancer. Thus, it is important to refrain from consuming smoked meat due to its association with increased cancer risks. (7)
Vegan alternatives are present for bologna sausage, which is not based on processing meat; however, it is based on tofu. Tofu, a derivative of soya beans, is filled with phytoestrogens, which have 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)
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Sugar||Equal|
|Lower in price||Equal|
|Rich in minerals||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|