Pepperoni is actually a type of salami, getting its name because of the spicy peppers used to season it and give it a different flavor than other types of salami. While neither of these meats is particularly healthy, salami is a little healthier than salami, since it contains less fat and sodium.
Eating an ounce of hard salami, which is about three slices, provides you with 105 calories, 6 grams of protein, trace amounts of carbohydrates and 9 grams of fat, including 3 grams of saturated fat. An ounce of pepperoni, which is about 14 slices, contains 138 calories, 6 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat, including 4 grams of saturated fat. This is 18 percent of the daily value for total fat and 20 percent of the DV for saturated fat if you eat 2,000 calories a day, so watch the amount of fat and saturated fat that you eat the rest of the day if you decide to indulge in pepperoni.
Neither salami nor pepperoni contains a lot of vitamins. Each ounce of salami contains 0.1 milligram of thiamine, or 7 percent of the DV; 1.7 milligrams of niacin, or 8 percent of the DV; and 0.1 milligram of vitamin B-6, or 6 percent of the DV. Pepperoni contains about the same amount of thiamine and vitamin B-6 but slightly less niacin, with only 1.3 milligrams. Thiamine helps your body deal with stress and makes your immune system stronger, niacin is involved with nervous system function and circulation and vitamin B-6 is essential for forming red blood cells and brain development.
Eating a few slices of salami or pepperoni isn't going to help much when it comes to meeting your recommended intake for minerals. An ounce of either of these meats will provide you with about 50 milligrams of phosphorus, or 5 percent of the DV. Phosphorus is necessary for keeping your heart beating regularly and storing energy. Unfortunately, these meats also contain a lot of sodium, with each ounce of salami providing 463 milligrams, or 20 percent of the recommended daily limit for sodium for healthy people, and each ounce of pepperoni containing 493 milligrams, or 21 percent of the recommended limit. Getting too much sodium from your diet makes it more likely that you will suffer from high blood pressure, which increases your risk for heart disease.
Don't eat a lot of salami or pepperoni. They aren't very nutritious and like all processed meats may increase your risk for cancer, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, according to an article published in "BMJ Open" in 2012. Turkey and chicken are better options for topping your sandwiches, since they aren't processed and contain a lot less fat and sodium.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Salami, Dry or Hard, Pork, Beef
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Pepperoni, Pork, Beef
- Family Doctor: Nutrition: How to Make Healthier Food Choices
- BMJ Open: Impact of a Reduced Red and Processed Meat Dietary Pattern on Disease Risks and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the UK: A Modelling Study
- Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America; Andrew F. Smith, Editor in Chief
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: 14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.