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Pepperoni vs Salami - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Pepperoni
vs
Salami

Introduction

Pepperoni is derived from salami in the United States. Pepperoni is an American-Italian creation. It is made with cured beef or pork meat with paprika and spices. It is most famous as a pizza topping and one of the most essential toppings in American pizzerias. The pepperoni was first prepared in New York in 1919 it was done by Italians who had moved to the United States and mostly from the southern part of Italy where the salami was famous. Pepperoni is famous for foods like pizza, meat boards, pepperoni rolls with cheese, etc…

On the other hand, Salami has originated in Italy since the Roman ages; however, a lot of European countries have their type of salami because it can stay without refrigeration for up to 40 days even when cut. Salami production has to undergo 2 steps which are fermentation and drying.

What is the actual difference?

There are differences between pepperoni and salami. These differences vary among its origin, price, methods of preparation, shelflife, and taste among other things.

Origin

The pepperoni was created in New York by Italians who moved there in 1919. Whereas, salami has been created in Italy since the Roman ages, however, many European countries have their versions of salami.

Price

Salami is more expensive than pepperoni.

Methods of preparation

The main difference between pepperoni and salami is that pepperoni is prepared by curing meat which can either be pork or beef. It has finer ground meat with spicier flavors compared to salami. Covering the whole pepperoni is an artificial casing. On the other hand, salami has to undergo 2 steps of preparation which are fermentation and drying. Salami has to be mixed with yeast and bacteria to start the fermentation process. In addition, salami is cased in a gut casing, which is natural.

Shelflife

Salami has a longer shelf life, even if cut it can stay in a clean environment without refrigeration for 40 days. This is the main important usage of this meat in old civilizations where refrigerators didn’t exist. A constant supply of meat that can stay up to 40 days without rotting.

Taste

Pepperoni is saltier and spicier than salami. Pepperoni is finer ground meat which is mostly softer than salami, however, both are soft cuts that have a wide range of flavor profiles.

In this article, we are going to discuss the difference between pepperoni and salami according to their differences based on their nutritional content, diet and weight loss, and health impacts.

Nutritional content comparison

Glycemic index

Pepperoni and salami have equal glycemic indices, which is equal to 28. They are both categorized as low glycemic index foods.

Calories

Pepperoni has higher calories than salami. This difference is very significant between them.

Carbs

They are both low in carbs. Comparatively, salami contains more carbs than pepperoni.

Protein

Salami is richer in proteins than pepperoni. It is important to note that both are rich in protein and have complete essential amino acid profiles.

Fats

The fat content of both is very high and has to be taken into consideration during diets and even during normal consumption of either pepperoni or salami. Pepperoni contains almost double the amount of fat as salami. Nearly 46% of the weight of pepperoni is fat and this is a very important point to consider while adding pepperoni or salami into a diet plan.

Their fat profiles are mostly distributed among saturated fats and monounsaturated fats. The latter has a higher content in both.

Cholesterol

Pepperoni is higher in cholesterol than salami. Similar to their fat amounts, cholesterol amounts have to always be monitored to prevent any cardiovascular diseases.

Vitamin profile

Comparatively, salami has a richer and more versatile vitamin profile than pepperoni. Salami is richer in vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12. On the other hand, pepperoni is richer in vitamins A, D, and E.

The vitamin B complex content of salami is very rich and satisfies high amounts of the recommended daily values of each of the B complex vitamins.

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
:
6
Salami
Contains more Vitamin E +368.2%
Contains more Vitamin D +30%
Contains more Vitamin K +81.3%
Contains more Folate +66.7%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +35.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +38.9%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +21.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +29.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +26.8%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +16.9%
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% 21% 39% 68% 60% 94% 56% 84% 163% 15% 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% 92% 83% 114% 73% 106% 191% 8% 3%
Contains more Vitamin E +368.2%
Contains more Vitamin D +30%
Contains more Vitamin K +81.3%
Contains more Folate +66.7%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +35.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +38.9%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +21.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +29.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +26.8%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +16.9%

Mineral profile

Salami is richer in all minerals including sodium. Salami is richer in phosphorus, zinc, copper, and iron. In addition to that, salami has a higher content of sodium which is a matter of concern. Noting that pepperoni is also high in sodium.

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 Calcium +26.7%
Contains more Iron +17.3%
Contains more Potassium +15.3%
Contains more Copper +292.3%
Contains more Zinc +20.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +20.9%
Equal in Magnesium - 19
Equal in Sodium - 1740
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 50% 6% 25% 13% 31% 67% 68% 207%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 59% 5% 28% 14% 119% 80% 82% 227%
Contains more Calcium +26.7%
Contains more Iron +17.3%
Contains more Potassium +15.3%
Contains more Copper +292.3%
Contains more Zinc +20.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +20.9%
Equal in Magnesium - 19
Equal in Sodium - 1740

Diet and weight loss

Pepperoni and salami are not recommended to be eaten on weight-loss regimens. This is mostly owing to their high fat and salt content. Despite being high in protein, they have a high-fat content. Furthermore, the salt levels in both, particularly salami, are very high.

Vegan

Pepperoni and salami are excluded from the vegan diet. However, some vegan alternatives for both are available. The vegan versions of each are usually made out of wheat gluten and other spices.

Keto

On a keto diet, you can consume pepperoni and salami. They have low carbohydrate and glycemic index, and their macronutrient makeup is primarily made up of protein and lipids. However, it is vital to note that the salt level of these foods should be considered when consuming them.

Health impacts

Cardiovascular health and diabetes

Processed meat, like red meat, has a harmful impact on the cardiovascular and metabolic systems. It is vital to note that processed meat, such as pepperoni and salami, has a negative impact on cardiovascular health and the metabolic system. Consuming processed meat has been linked to poor cardiovascular health and an increased risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes. Fats, cholesterol, increased sodium, and nitrites are the primary contributors to these issues.
Nitrite levels in pepperoni and salami are a major risk factor for metabolic diseases. Nitrites and their metabolites have been linked to a variety of metabolic diseases in children, including type 1 diabetes, endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. In most cases, nitrites are used as preservatives in processed meats. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Cancer

Nitrates and nitrites present in processed meat have a role to inhibit bacterial growth which increases the shelf life of these products. However, nitrates are transformed into nitrites due to the effect of anaerobic bacteria. Nitrites have a carcinogenic characteristic that has to be taken into consideration while consuming processed meat. The meat industry is trying to find alternatives for nitrites and nitrates however, due to their multi-role usage, finding an alternative to it is a challenge. (7)

Alternatives

There are healthier alternatives to pepperoni and salami which are vegan; however, in this case, taste and flavor must be compromised. Vegan pepperoni has different types of products that are used to make pepperoni like tofu, vital wheat gluten, legumes, etc… The level of fat, cholesterol, and sodium are drastically decreased and provide a healthy alternative to pepperoni.

On the other hand, there are vegan alternatives to salami which are mainly done with vital wheat gluten. Similar to pepperoni, the levels of fat, cholesterol, and sodium are decreased.

Both vegan alternatives provide us with healthier alternatives to the standard pepperoni and salami. Their nutritional content would be decreased from most negative health impacts like fat, sodium, cholesterol. Although their protein content would also be reduced. In addition to that difference, the taste and flavor would be changed however, vegan pepperoni and salami producers are catering those qualities to match as much as they can the standard pepperoni and salami.

Summary

Pepperoni is cheaper and spicier when it comes to its taste. Pepperoni is higher in calories and fat content but richer in vitamins A, E, and D. Comparatively, salami is richer in proteins, most B complex vitamins, and minerals. They mostly have negative impacts on overall health.

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://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139399/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Profession: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: September 8, 2021

Infographic

Pepperoni vs Salami infographic
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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
50
Pepperoni
58
Salami
Mineral Summary Score
58
Pepperoni
77
Salami

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
116%
Pepperoni
131%
Salami
Carbohydrates
1%
Pepperoni
2%
Salami
Fats
214%
Pepperoni
120%
Salami

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.
Pepperoni Salami
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in glycemic index Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Pepperoni Salami
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet Equal

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Salami
Salami is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 8mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Salami
Salami is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 8.392g)
Which food is cheaper?
Salami
Salami is cheaper (difference - $0.3)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Salami
Salami is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Pepperoni
Pepperoni is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.96g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Pepperoni
Pepperoni contains less Sodium (difference - 158mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (28)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
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 Pepperoni Salami Opinion
Calories 504 336 Pepperoni
Protein 19.25 21.85 Salami
Fats 46.28 25.9 Pepperoni
Vitamin C 0 0
Carbs 1.18 2.4 Salami
Cholesterol 97 89 Salami
Vitamin D 52 41 Pepperoni
Iron 1.33 1.56 Salami
Calcium 19 15 Pepperoni
Potassium 274 316 Salami
Magnesium 18 19 Salami
Sugar 0 0.96 Pepperoni
Fiber 0 0
Copper 0.091 0.357 Salami
Zinc 2.44 2.93 Salami
Starch
Phosphorus 158 191 Salami
Sodium 1582 1740 Pepperoni
Vitamin A 0 0
Vitamin E 1.03 0.22 Pepperoni
Vitamin D 1.3 1 Pepperoni
Vitamin B1 0.271 0.367 Salami
Vitamin B2 0.257 0.357 Salami
Vitamin B3 4.987 6.053 Salami
Vitamin B5 0.93 1.201 Salami
Vitamin B6 0.362 0.459 Salami
Vitamin B12 1.3 1.52 Salami
Vitamin K 5.8 3.2 Pepperoni
Folate 5 3 Pepperoni
Trans Fat 1.527 0.586 Salami
Saturated Fat 17.708 9.316 Salami
Monounsaturated Fat 20.77 11.127 Pepperoni
Polyunsaturated fat 4.458 2.529 Pepperoni
Tryptophan 0.23 0.114 Pepperoni
Threonine 0.869 0.521 Pepperoni
Isoleucine 0.901 0.675 Pepperoni
Leucine 1.575 0.929 Pepperoni
Lysine 1.652 1.107 Pepperoni
Methionine 0.511 0.301 Pepperoni
Phenylalanine 0.778 0.481 Pepperoni
Valine 0.987 0.668 Pepperoni
Histidine 0.688 0.359 Pepperoni
Fructose 0 0

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. Pepperoni - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174575/nutrients
  2. Salami - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172936/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.