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Ask Tufts Experts March 2011 Issue

Q: I've read your reports about eating too much red meat. Is ham—not ham sandwich meat— considered “red meat”? We’re trying to figure out a good daily sandwich that is healthy and has enough protein and is filling.

Answer :  Not only is ham made from pork, a red meat (despite the “other white meat” ad campaign), but it’s also processed by being cured and often smoked. Most studies raising concerns about red meat have been even more cau- tionary about too much processed meat. Moreover, just one slice of regular ham (about one ounce) contains 365 grams of sodium and nearly a gram of saturated fat, with 4.6 grams of protein.

For a lunchtime staple, look instead to lean poultry. An ounce of roasted turkey, for example, has just 20 grams of sodium and less than half a gram of saturated fat, while delivering more than 8 grams of pro- tein. Your healthiest and most economical bet is to buy turkey breast and roast and slice it yourself, thereby avoiding the extra sodium and other additives in packaged, pre-sliced luncheon meats.

And don’t forget tuna salad and other canned fish (easy on the mayo, please). See our report in the May 2010 Healthletter.

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