A Guide: Can you eat pepperoni when pregnant?

A pepperoni is an American form of Salami that is usually made by mixing beef and pork. Hard cut and spiced, it is mostly used to enhance the flavor of dishes. While pepperoni usually makes an appearance on cheesy pizzas by adding a unique flavor to the Italian dish, it is also used in the making of sandwiches, pasta, and wraps.

With time, pepperoni has grown on individuals alike who prefer to indulge in delectable goodness. Most expectant mothers often express a desire to eat pepperoni in their second trimester. But can you eat pepperoni when pregnant?

When you’re expecting, you should make additional efforts to ensure a healthy diet regimen for yourself. This diet should not contain unhealthy food items like pepperoni, as they can put your health at risk. Here is a comprehensive overview of eating pepperoni during pregnancy, its side effects, and other frequently asked questions about the hot item.

Can you eat pepperoni when pregnant?

Although the rule of thumb marks pepperoni off the list of healthy things to eat while pregnant, it can be taken in moderate amounts if the craving persists.

Pepperoni has a high content of fat, salt, and spice which could potentially damage the health of your baby. The meat could be exposed to a rare type of germ known as toxoplasmosis bacteria. Hence, if you decide to take the plunge and eat pepperoni while expecting, make sure the dish is cooked thoroughly and served hot. Consuming the meat piping hot would eradicate the fear of the dish being marked with bacteria.

If you do choose between eating pepperoni, you could be exposed to a myriad of adverse side effects including indigestion, unanticipated weight gain, water retention, and ulcers. Some of the more serious after-effects of consuming pepperoni during pregnancy are listed below as follows:

  • Before delving into the side effects, it is important to note that pepperoni has a high content of fat. In a one-ounce serving, the round slices of meat are filled with 141 calories and 13g fat. Even though fats are an integral component of a healthy diet, pepperoni fats are mostly saturated in nature. As a result, eating too much pepperoni can result in extensive weight gain and cause more complex problems such as preeclampsia, heart disease, and diabetes.
  • Since the pepperoni is salted meat, it contains two key ingredients in the form of nitrite and nitrate. They could mix with other meat components and end up producing nitrosamines. If such is the case, it could result in problems one as nitrosamines are purely carcinogenic.
  • Pepperoni is a delight for those who prefer to indulge in foods that have a high spice content. However, these spicy meat slices can be a threat to pregnant women as they can not only cause severe heartburn, but also a round of other side effects including severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Pepperoni is also known to have a high sodium content. One ounce of pepperoni has nearly 443 mg sodium. Thus, if pregnant women consume a high amount of this type of meat, the salt levels in their bodies are likely to shoot up. If sodium levels rise above normal during pregnancy, fetal renal functions can be disturbed.

Thus, it can be concluded that consuming pepperoni during pregnancy is not the wisest decision. However, if you still have a desire to relish the taste of delicious meat, you can opt for alternatives that will provide you with a similar experience.

Other Alternatives:

  • If the idea of eating pepperoni isn’t stirring away from your thoughts during pregnancy, you can always try to buy a turkey-based pepperoni as they contain fewer fats.
  • Are pregnancy cravings getting the better of you? Not a cause of concern. Head to your nearest grocery store and buy a packet of that divine meat- only ensure the packet has a label that reads ‘no nitrates and nitrites used.’
  • If your pizza tastes like a real pizza with pepperoni, you can always try to substitute the topping with other forms of meat including a finely cut grilled chicken breast and lean turkey.

Pepperoni has always been a popular item to consume amongst pregnant women. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the most asked questions about the usage of pepperoni during pregnancy:

1. Can you eat pepperoni when pregnant, if it is served cold?

If the craving for pepperoni can’t be controlled, it is best to eat it when served fresh and hot. However, cold pepperoni can also be eaten during pregnancy, only if the label on the box indicates ‘ready to eat.’ Eating cold pepperoni is fairly safe as the chances of it being exposed to bacteria are incredibly low. But, before consuming the meat, the best thing to do would be to have a word with your doctor who can suggest the best course of action based on your health.

2. Can you eat pepperoni when pregnant, if it is served raw?

Expectant mothers should avoid consuming raw pepperoni at all costs as it increases the risk of being exposed to toxoplasmosis, usually common in raw meat. A type of serious bacteria, toxoplasmosis can increase the risks associated with childbirth and can also cause congenital disabilities in children.

3. Can you eat uncured pepperoni when pregnant?

Uncured pepperoni refers to the meat that is washed with natural products rather than artificial nitrates. However, no evidence suggests uncured pepperoni is safe for women during the time of pregnancy.

4. Can you eat Hormel pepperoni when pregnant?

Hormel pepperoni adds flavor and zest to a variety of dishes, including pizza. Despite their distinct flavor and unique texture, Hormel pepperoni poses a set of threats to women who are pregnant as it contains a large number of nitrite preservatives, sugars, and increasingly high sodium content. Hence, avoiding Hormel pepperoni should be the best way to go for expectant women.

Hence, it can be said that eating pepperoni holds several adverse side effects for women who are pregnant. If the craving for this type of meat can’t be controlled, you can always try other alternatives that will give your taste buds a similar eating experience.

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