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Is Pastrami Keto Friendly?

Keto diets are widely famous for their high fat and low carb eating goals. This may make foods like cheese and bacon the perfect fit for keto diets since they’re low in carbs and high in fats. Foods like these push your body towards a state of ketosis.

It's a metabolic state where your body uses fats for energy rather than burning carbs for energy. This ultimately aids in losing weight in just a short period of time – which is the primary reason why people opt for keto diets.

is pastrami keto friendly

Any food that contains sugar or even added sugars and carbs are avoided. Since pastrami is low in carbs, you may ask “Is pastrami keto friendly?” Let’s dig in further and find out whether or not you can have pastrami on a keto diet.

What is Pastrami?

If you have ever tried deli sandwiches, you would have heard of pastrami. It is a deli meat which has roots in the eastern Europe. Interestingly, pastrami was only made to simply serve as a source of preserving meat.

Back before there was any concept of refrigeration, people used to make pastrami with the only to preserve meat and avoid it from going to the waste just like corned beef.

It is a popular type of meat in different cuisines throughout the world including the American-Jewish cuisine, NYC cuisine, and the roman cuisines. 

Current day, it is consumed in sandwiches and adds a smoky touch to plain sandwiches. Due to its unique flavor, it has been consumed as a staple in deli foods worldwide.

Pastrami is primarily made from the following types of meats:

  • Beef brisket
  • Lamp
  • Pork
  • Chicken meat
  • Turkey meat

Ideally beef brisket is preferred for making pastrami, but other types of meats are used as well depending on the producer. Raw meat is initially brined in a salt, sugar and spice mixture. It is left in the mixture for some time until thoroughly brined.

Next the drying process is initiated to dry off the meat completely. Once it is dried, it is then coated with a variety of spices that include black pepper, clove, garlic, mustard seed, paprika and more. Once the meat is coated and seasoned, it is smoke for long hours.

Finally, after smoking, it is steamed. The reason why it is steamed is to help in the break down of the tissues (connective ones) of the meat. This final step is what determines the texture of the pastrami and gives it a mouth watering look.

Is Pastrami Keto Friendly?

Pastrami is extremely low in carbohydrates which is the primary concern of keto diets. A 100 gram serving of pastrami typically has 0.4 grams of carbs which is almost negligible. Furthermore, pastrami is a rich source of fats and proteins as well.

Pastrami checks all the boxes for a keto friendly food in terms of the carbs, proteins, and fats requirement. Based on this, pastrami is a keto friendly food. What’s more important is that it will not affect your ketosis in any way whatsoever so you can easily consume it any given day.

Keto Friendly Pastrami

However, it may be noted that pastrami is a highly processed type of meat, and you may be getting some extra ingredients like sugar and honey. Due to these extra nutrients in pastrami, it may fall in the dirty keto category.

So, if you’re on the dirty keto, pastrami may be the perfect option for you. Regardless of dirty or clean keto, it all comes down to your preference as long as you keep your carb intake in check.

Moreover, pastrami is not something that is consumed daily, and you will most probably be eating it as a deli sandwich once a while, so there is nothing to be worried about in this case.

On a side note, if you’re new to dirty keto, you can find more information on this in the later part of this article.

Pastrami Nutritional Profile:

You can expect the following nutrients from a 100 gram serving of pastrami (beef made and cured):

Total fats5.8 g
Saturated fats2.7 g
Cholesterol68 mg
Sodium1078 mg
Total carbohydrates0.4 g
Dietary fibers0 g
Sugar0.1 g
Protein22 g
Vitamin D0.1 mcg
Calcium10 mg
Iron2.2 mg
Potassium210 mg
Vitamin A2 mcg
Cryptoxanthin, beta6 mcg
Carotene, beta22 mcg
Lutein + zeaxanthin11 mcg
Vitamin B10.052 mg
Vitamin B20.161 mg
Vitamin B34.26 mg
Vitamin B50.265 mg
Vitamin B60.221 mg
Vitamin B121.87 mcg
Folate6 mcg
Vitamin C0.3 mg
Vitamin D0.10 mg
Vitamin E0.12 mg
Vitamin K0.7 mcg
Betaine10.8 mg
Choline81.6 mg

The rich and spicy flavor of pastrami will get you hooked, but you will also be getting plenty of nutrients from it as you can see from the list.

Talking of the calories in pastrami, they are different than the caloric composition of other types of beef. Since there is a lot of fat in pastrami, it is considered calorific. A 100 gram serving of pastrami contains 2.7 grams of saturated fats which is unhealthy in large amounts.

So, it is best that you stick to smaller servings size regardless of the carbs content of pastrami being low.

The only downside to pastrami is the sodium content. Restaurant made or storebought pre-processed pastrami contains a high amount of sodium, 1078 mg per 100 grams of pastrami. This is about 47% of your daily recommended allowed values.

When consuming pastrami, you should look for low-sodium versions of the pastrami or you can simply make it yourself by slightly altering the ingredients to lower the overall sodium.

Below is an insight into some potential benefits of pastrami.

Pastrami Health Benefits:

Pastrami Keto

1.    Low-Calorie Food:

A typical serving of pastrami is usually around 1 ounce (28 grams). It will only have a minimal number of calories considering it is only a small portion as compared to 147 calories in 100 grams of pastrami.

This makes pastrami ideal for keto diets and for people that are looking for cutting down on their caloric intake for better weight management.

2.    Complete Source Of Protein:

Pastrami is a lean meat and a source of animal protein. Unlike most plant based protein sources; the proteins found in pastrami contain amino acids thus making it a complete source of protein.

Protein is essentially the building block of cells in your body and in the case of pastrami, you will get to benefit from the amino acid content substantially.

3.    Pastrami Can Improve Your Heart Health:

Pastrami contains a complex of B vitamins including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12. B vitamins are associated directly with improving your heart health which ultimately lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases in your body.

So, just be consuming pastrami as part of a regular diet you will be able to sustain a healthy heart health as well.

In addition to this, the B vitamins can help pregnant women as well. Pregnant women require greater amounts of B vitamins to support their bodies during pregnancy.

4.    Pastrami Can Boost Your Immune System:

Pastrami is a good source of vitamin C which is known to improve your body’s immunity and helps in fighting off diseases that would other wise inflict damage on your body.

Furthermore, pastrami also contains a plethora of minerals including iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. When the dietary requirement of minerals is met in your body, it will support your organs and keep them protected against life-threatening diseases.

5.    Pastrami Is Low In Cholesterol:

Pastrami is low in cholesterol which is often the cause of heart diseases. If you eat pastrami once in a while, you will not have to worry about consuming too much cholesterol or raising the levels of cholesterol in your blood.

On the contrary, if the serving size or serving intensity were to be increased, it would pose a potential risk of heart diseases. So, it is best to avoid large servings of pastrami to keep your cholesterol levels low.

6.    Pastrami Can Help You Lose Weight:

Since pastrami only gives you a limited number of calories, you can effectively increase your rate of weight loss. Apart from the low number of calories, pastrami meat is also free from trans fats.

This allows you to consume pastrami without the potential risks of a high calorie intake or excess trans fats consumption.

What is Dirty Keto?

For starters, despite pastrami being low in total carbohydrates, it still contains certain ingredients like sugar and honey. Both of these ingredients are considered unhealthy. Due to this, it makes pastrami a part of dirty keto.

Talking of dirty keto, it is simply a term used for foods that are low in carbs but contain unhealthy ingredients. While dirty keto may help you in your weight loss goals by achieving ketosis, it may often lead to increased risk of health complications in the long run.

Here is a detailed insight into dirty keto.

1.    Dirty Keto Contains Processed Foods:

Dirty keto is also a type of keto which is slightly relaxed in terms of allowing the consumption of highly processed and packaged foods. Due to this it is also called as lazy keto. Despite this, you will be able to successfully attain a state of ketosis, so you do not have to worry about that.

Dirty keto is designed specifically for people that do not want to spend much time on making keto friendly meals and simply want something that is low in carbs and high in fats and proteins.

To put this in simpler terms, anyone following the dirty keto approach would opt of getting a bacon cheeseburger but simply without the buns part.

As mentioned earlier, foods on the dirty keto might help you attain ketosis but there is a potential risk of adverse health effects in the long run.

This is mainly because meals on the dirty keto contain high amounts of sodium, which increases the risks of high blood pressure levels. As a result, these people have a high risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases in the long run.

Another downside to processed foods is that they contain many unhealthy additives and contain less micronutrients including essential minerals that should be a part of your body.

These unhealthy additives may increase the amount of trans fats in your body which likely comes with increased risks of the following health complications in the long run:

  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Heart diseases
  • Type 2 diabetes

Moreover, if you are strictly following a dirty keto diet plan, you will also take longer to reach ketosis -thus slowing down your weight loss goals.

·         Dirty Keto May Lack Micronutrients:

Vitamins and minerals are a crucial requirement of your body for your overall wellbeing. Since most of the foods on the dirty keto plan are highly processed, they may lack the micronutrients that your body highly relies on.

If you do not add healthy foods containing minerals and vitamins, you will suffer from a deficiency of certain minerals and vitamins including:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamins C, D, K

To cope with this, you will have to get nutritional supplements. However, despite the availability of nutritional supplements, you should know that your body will absorb these nutrients better when they come directly from the foods you eat.

What Are The Main Differences In Dirty Vs Clean Keto?

While dirty keto can meet the demands of people on a tight schedule, it is mainly focused on highly processed foods that lack micronutrients thus leading to health issues. Here are some key differences between dirty and clean keto diets.

For starters, the food quality is greatly different in dirty and clean keto. You may get an idea form the names of these two keto diet variations.

Clean keto emphasizes on foods that are rich in fats, contain healthy and nutritious foods with occasional intake of highly processed foods. On the contrary, dirty keto mainly focuses on frequent intake of highly processed foods rather than nutritious and healthy meals.

Generally speaking, people on the dirty keto diet plan would rarely consume non-starchy veggies like kale, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach, whereas people on clean keto will greatly rely on these veggies.

Our suggestion would be to avoid following a dirty keto diet and instead you should focus on clean keto diets with occasional intake of highly processed foods like pastrami to avoid a nutrient deficiency in your body.

Keto Friendly Pastrami Alternatives:

Despite pastrami being keto friendly in terms of their carbs content, it is a part of the dirty keto since it contains unhealthy ingredients.

Keto Pastrami

Here are some keto friendly alternatives of pastrami that contain no unhealthy ingredients whatsoever -thus keeping you safe from health complications in the long run.

  • Boar’s Head Prosciutto – It is entirely made from pork so you might note slight variation in the taste as compared to pastrami.
  • Boar’s Head Roast Beef – It is made from beef which is roasted to perfection. Similar to Boar’s Head Prosciutto the taste will be different from the smoky and bold touch of pastrami. However, since it contains a far less amount of sodium and greater amounts of protein, it will be the perfect substitute of pastrami.
  • Grobbel’s Gourmet Corned Beef Brisket – Similar to pastrami, it is also made from beef brisket. It has a similar texture and taste like pastrami, but it can be used as a substitute of pastrami.

Bear in mind, with foods like these, you need to follow the rule of moderation and avoid unnecessary overconsumption of these foods. This will keep you safe from the harmful effects of high sodium intake and processed foods.

Wrapping Up:

Is pastrami keto friendly? Yes, it is! It is low in carbs containing only 0.4 grams of net carbs per a 100 gram serving of pastrami.

This is surprisingly low and can be incorporated in your keto diet without any issues whatsoever as long as it is an occasional food option.

Unfortunately, pastrami contains unhealthy ingredients like sugar and honey which may lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health complications in the long run if you consume it too frequently.

If you want to learn more about keto friendly foods, click on one of the links below:

Are Chia Seeds Keto Friendly?

Is Shrimp Keto Friendly?

Is Fried Chicken Keto Friendly?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Pastrami so fatty?

Pastrami is fatty because it's cut from the navel instead of the brisket. In certain delis, you can let them know whether you'd like your pastrami to be fatty or lean.

What is the best way to eat Pastrami?

The most popular way to eat pastrami is in the form of a sandwich. However, you can also have it cold or serve it as a part of your salads.

Is Pastrami beef or pig?

Pastrami is generally beef


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