Is Deviled Ham Bad For You? (According To Experts)

Are you a fan of deviled ham?

This classic Southern pantry staple has been a go-to for quick and easy meals for over a century.

But with concerns about high levels of sodium and preservatives in canned deviled ham, many are wondering if it’s actually bad for you.

In this article, we’ll explore the history of deviled ham, its nutritional value, and offer tips on how to make a healthier version at home.

So, grab a seat and let’s dive into the world of deviled ham.

Is Deviled Ham Bad For You?

Deviled ham is a processed meat product that is typically sold in cans at your local grocery store. It is made by grinding up ham and mixing it with various spices, such as hot sauce, peppers, turmeric, mustard, or cayenne pepper. While it may be a convenient and tasty option for a quick meal or snack, there are concerns about its nutritional value.

One of the main issues with canned deviled ham is its high levels of sodium and preservatives like sodium nitrate. These additives are used to extend the shelf life of the product and enhance its flavor, but they can also have negative health effects. Consuming too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease, while sodium nitrate has been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Another concern is the use of unhealthy ingredients like sugar in some brands of deviled ham. Underwood Deviled Ham Spread, for example, is considered “Dirty Keto” because it is a low-carb processed food that contains sugar and sodium nitrite.

The History Of Deviled Ham

Deviled ham has a long and interesting history that dates back to the early 19th century. William Underwood, a Boston-based food manufacturer, began selling preserved food in 1821. However, it wasn’t until after the American Civil War that the company started producing canned meat products, including deviled ham.

In 1868, the William Underwood Company introduced deviled ham as a canned meat spread. The term “deviled” refers to the addition of spices, typically hot ones like cayenne pepper or mustard, to foods like ham or eggs. The product quickly became popular and was carried by Union soldiers during the Civil War.

The famous devil logo, which is thought to be the oldest food trademark still in use for a prepackaged food product in the country, was introduced in 1870. Over the years, the devil logo has evolved into a much jollier version than the original, which featured claws and a tail forked into a “W” for William Underwood.

In 1906, the Massachusetts Board of Health prohibited the sale of deviled meats in Massachusetts, except for Underwood Deviled Ham. This was due to concerns about food safety and the use of preservatives like sodium nitrate. However, William Lyman Underwood, the founder’s grandson, had taken an interest in food safety and had already begun working with an MIT biologist, Samuel Cate Prescott, on finding a solution to prevent canned clams from exploding. Together they discovered a way to kill heat-resistant bacterial spores and prevent canned food such as peas and asparagus from going sour.

Today, Underwood Deviled Ham is still a popular pantry staple and has even evolved into other flavors such as chicken, roast beef, liverwurst, and corned beef. However, concerns remain about its high sodium content and use of preservatives and unhealthy ingredients like sugar.

Nutritional Value Of Canned Deviled Ham

When it comes to the nutritional value of canned deviled ham, it is important to note that it is a high-calorie, high-fat food. For instance, a 64-gram serving of Underwood Deviled Ham Spread contains 190 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 9 grams of protein. It also contains 6 grams of saturated fat and 40 milligrams of cholesterol per serving.

In terms of carbohydrates, a serving of Underwood Deviled Ham Spread contains only 1 gram of carbohydrate, which is mostly complex carbohydrate with no sugar or dietary fiber. It also contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium and iron, but no vitamin C.

It is worth noting that the nutritional value of canned deviled ham can vary depending on the brand and the specific ingredients used. Some brands may contain more unhealthy additives like sugar and sodium nitrate than others, so it is important to read the nutrition label carefully before making a purchase.

Health Concerns With Canned Deviled Ham

Consuming canned deviled ham can have negative health effects due to its high levels of sodium and preservatives. Sodium is a mineral that is essential for our body, but consuming too much of it can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Canned deviled ham is often high in sodium, with some brands containing up to 500mg per serving, which is about 22% of the recommended daily intake.

Furthermore, many canned deviled ham products contain preservatives like sodium nitrate. This chemical is used to extend the shelf life of the product and prevent bacterial growth, but it has been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Studies have shown that consuming large amounts of sodium nitrate can increase the risk of developing colon cancer, stomach cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Another concern with canned deviled ham is the use of unhealthy ingredients like sugar in some brands. Consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other health problems.

Making A Healthier Version At Home

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to canned deviled ham, consider making your own at home. Not only will you be able to control the ingredients, but you’ll also be able to use up any leftover ham you may have from a holiday meal.

To make a healthier version of deviled ham, start by cooking some diced ham in a skillet until it’s browned and crispy. Then, mix it with some mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, diced onions, and a dash of hot sauce for some extra flavor. You can also add in some chopped celery or bell peppers for additional crunch and nutrition.

By making your own deviled ham at home, you can avoid the high levels of sodium and preservatives found in canned versions. Plus, you can customize the recipe to your liking and experiment with different spices and ingredients.

Homemade deviled ham can be used as a sandwich filling or as a topping for crackers. It’s a delicious and nutritious way to repurpose leftover ham and make something new. So next time you’re in the mood for deviled ham, try making it at home for a healthier and more satisfying option.

Alternative Uses For Deviled Ham

While deviled ham is commonly used as a sandwich spread, there are many other ways to incorporate it into your meals. Here are some alternative uses for deviled ham:

1. Appetizers: Deviled ham can be used to make delicious and easy appetizers. One example is Spicy Devil Ham Balls, which are made by mixing deviled ham with breadcrumbs, egg, and spices, then pan-frying and serving with mustard.

2. Soups: Deviled ham can add flavor and texture to soups. Simply add a spoonful of deviled ham to your favorite soup recipe for an extra kick of flavor.

3. Casseroles: Deviled ham can be used as a flavorful ingredient in casseroles. Try adding it to a cheesy potato casserole or a macaroni and cheese casserole for an extra layer of flavor.

4. Pizza topping: Deviled ham can be a unique and tasty pizza topping. Simply spread a layer of deviled ham on top of your pizza crust before adding your other toppings.

5. Omelets: Deviled ham can make a delicious filling for omelets. Simply mix it with some cheese and vegetables before adding it to your omelet mixture.