Is Smoked Meat Bad For You? (7 Things to Consider)

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  March 19, 2022

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How we cook our meat is important. It is necessary to cook the meat thoroughly and to do so in a way that is healthy to consume.

Is Smoked Meat Bad for You (7 Things to Consider)

When it comes to smoked meat, there is a controversy about whether it is good or bad to eat, so we will be using this article to clear that up for you with just 7 reasons.

Is Smoked Meat Bad For You?

It is no lie that smoked meat isn’t anything but delicious, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is good for you.

In this next section, we will be guiding you through what is good and bad about eating smoked meat, giving you 7 things to consider.

Fat Levels

One thing to consider when querying whether smoked meat is good or bad for you is its fat levels.

It has been found that smoked meat is very low in fat, making it a great choice.

Not only does it not contain any added oils, but the smoke can in fact drain the fat away.

This is a perfect meat source which can benefit our bodies.


Despite smoked meat holding good levels of fat, there is an increased risk of developing cancer when meat is cooked this way.

If a person constantly eats smoked meat, then their risk immediately heightens, and this is all because of the cooking method.

The smoke contains carcinogens and this is something which can damage your body’s DNA.

With this in mind, it is important to understand that you will not get cancer just by eating smoked meat now and then.

You have to be eating the meat regularly for it to be of concern.

High In Protein

We all know that meat provides plenty of protein, but did you know that smoked meat provides a substantial amount which is beneficial for the body?

When consuming smoked meat, you are allowing the body to take in energy as well as helping the body stay strong and healthy.

Smoked meat is a great source of protein and it goes a long way.

Cold Smoked Meat

The body is more at risk of stomach infections when consuming cold smoked meat.

Issues such as parasites and bacteria can arise, attacking the body and potentially leading to stomach pain, diarrhea, and more.

Provides Nutrients

Another positive to consider when it comes to smoked meat is how it provides nutrients essential to the body.

Not only is it high in iron, but it is great for the body’s immune system, perfect for protecting the body.

Is Smoked Meat high in sodium?

Smoked meat is very high in sodium content because to preserve the meat a salty brine, curing by salt or a dry rub is added before smoking. This is only a concern if you are consuming smoked meat on a regular basis.

It is essential to acknowledge the importance of sodium levels. Whilst we need sodium, too much sodium is bad.


Our final point to consider is sustainability. Smoked meat is a great method of cooking, for it is effective and sustainable.

When cooking meat on the stove, you are at higher risk of burning and leaving the meat charred.

What not many people know is that consuming charred meat can be damaging.

Smoking your meat, on the other hand, is a much better and sustainable option.

You are cooking the meat at a much lower temperature, therefore have little risk of burning and damaging the body.

Can diabetics eat smoked meat?

If you have diabetes or are at increased risk you should not eat smoked meat because meat for smoking is often high in fat. Plus, smoked meat is brined or cured and high in sodium, which is important to limit as part of your diet because it raises blood pressure.

Are there nitrates in smoked meat?

Nitrate used to be in smoked food you buy at the store but has been banned from use in the curing of smoked and cooked meats, by the FDA in 1999. It is still used in dry-cured uncooked products so cold smoked food might contain it.

Final Thoughts

Is smoked meat bad for you?

The answer to that question is not straightforward for there are a vast number of positives and negatives when it comes to this method.

Whilst it holds plenty of protein, nutrients, is sustainable and much more, cooking and eating smoked meat also increases your chances of developing cancer and raises your body’s sodium levels.

However, with this said, what is decided is up to the individual.

As a whole, smoked meat is not dangerous enough to be banned, it should just simply be acknowledged with care and caution.

Make sure that you are not consuming smoked meat constantly, know how to cook the meat in the safest way, but also understand that using this method of cooking will not harm you if you know how to limit your intake.

Because of all of the controversy, it can be easy to worry about smoking meat, especially since meat is something which needs to be cooked correctly, but do not let this scare you away.

Good or bad, recognize that smoked meat is safe and enjoy the beautiful flavors smoking brings to your food.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.