Is your sandwich killing you?

Is Your Lunch Slowly Killing You?

By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES

It’s lunch time! You head down to the cafeteria or grab your brown bag and book it outside, or to where other co-workers are gathering.

But what you may not know – and what everyone else may not know either – is that your lunch sandwich may be slowly destroying the cells in your body.

And this could lead to an early death if you’re not careful!

What makes your simple little sandwich so bad for you?

I’m glad you asked…

Processed Meat and Death Risk

Like everyone else, I love a good sandwich. Meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato (or whatever veggies you like) all squished together in between two slices of sprouted grain, whole grain, or whole wheat wrap.

Nothing satisfies your appetite like a hearty, tasty, and meaty sandwich.

But, what if I was to tell you, the meat that you put in your sandwich could slowly be killing you?

Would you think twice about your next bite?

Would you discard the meat in your sandwich and go for a more veggie-based lunch sensation?

Truth be told, most of the processed meat that you put in your sandwich could be putting you at risk for an early death.


Most processed meat – without you even knowing it – may be made from a combination of left over parts of turkey, pork, and other meat.

And they piece it together to make the meat in your sandwich.

Now, it may also be filled with fat, fillers, additives, and other harmful ingredients that could pose a serious risk to your health.

In fact, a new study shows just that.

Here’s what the study found:

They assessed and followed over 400,000 people, and in 2009 they found that over 26,000 of them had died.

The study also showed that processed meat was associated with an increased risk for early mortality.

When they made corrections for any type of measurement error, the results still remained significant!

Now, this study showed that cardiovascular disease, cancer, and “other causes of death” were associated with a higher intake of processed meats.

But there is a silver lining…

Poultry was NOT associated with all-cause mortality!

They concluded:

“The results of our analysis support a moderate positive association between processed meat consumption and mortality, in particular due to cardiovascular disease, but also to cancer.”

The Killer Lunch

Many people enjoy a sandwich (or two) for lunch. Filled with cheese, processed meat, and veggies, sandwiches may make a great lunch alternative to other high-calorie foods.

However, processed meat, in general, may be filled with fat, sodium, fillers, additives, and other ingredients that could pose a risk to your health.

And, as the results of this study show, may increase your risk for premature death.

So what should you look for when you’re making a sandwich?

• Look for items that actually look like meat

• Get slices of meat that are lower in fat and sodium (good choices are turkey, chicken, and lean roast beef slices)

• Look for items that have less fillers, additives, and may be organic – as they may be better options for you down the road

Keeping these things in mind, you may find your lunches full of better meat choices, less fat, and less sodium, therefore potentially limiting the harmful effects in your body.


Rohrmann S, Overvad K, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Jakobsen MU, Egeberg R, Tjenneland A, Nailler L, Boutron-Ruault MC, Clavel-Chapelon F, Krogh V, Palli D, Panico S, Tumino R, Ricceri F, Bergmann MM, Boeing H, Li K, Kaaks R, Khaw KT, Wareham NJ, Crowe FL, Key TJ, Naska A, Trichopoulou A, Trichopoulos D, Leenders M, Peeters PHM, Engeset D, Parr CL, Skeie G, Jakszyn P, Snachez MJ, Huerta JM, Redondo ML, Barricarte A, Amiano P, Drake I, Sonestedt E, Hallmans G, Johansson I, Federko V, Romieux I, Ferrari P, Noat T, Vergnaud AC, Riboli E, Linseisen J. Meat consumption and mortality – results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. BMC medicine 2013;11:63. Doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-63.