Dr. Thomas Dwan - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Thomas Dwan

Are Meatballs Bad For You?



Short answer

Homemade meatballs are a great side dish when made at home with healthy ingredients. Due to the high fat content, they should not be consumed on a regular basis. Processed and restaurant prepared meatballs, however, are likely to contain harmful ingredients and should be avoided entirely.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

Meatballs are a delicious complement to Italian meals, various side dishes, and snacks.  When made from scratch, they are not unhealthy to consume in moderation.  By making them at home, you have control over exactly what you put in the dish.  Most meatballs include a mixture of pork and beef, onions, breadcrumbs, eggs, butter or margarine, salt, and various other spices. 

On average, a 3.2-ounce serving of meatballs (about six medium size meatballs) has 15 grams of fat.  This is mostly due to the large meat content.  Though the large amount of fat is not a healthy side dish when consumed regularly, it is reasonable for an occasional meal.  One troublesome ingredient is pork.  Various studies have linked pork to diseases, depression, and an increase in chemicals, in comparison to other meats.  The swine are raised in filthy environments and since they are scavengers, they consume their own excrements in large amounts.  However, using an organic version of the meat significantly decreases the disease exposure and additives.  Also, limit the amount of salt added to the recipe, in order to cut back on sodium. 

When preparing this divine dish, make sure to use real butter (not margarine) to ensure the elimination of hydrogenated oils.  Processed frozen meatballs or those prepared in a restaurant, often have extra unhealthy additives used in the dish for preservation, cost efficiency, and as filler.  The best way to ensure that you are eating pure meatballs without harmful processing and additives is to prepare them at home with organic meats and fresh ingredients.


Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • hypertension
  • heart disease

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

  • use organic meats
  • organic ground turkey breast
  • veggie “meatballs”

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Fresh Plant-Based Meatballs

  • 100% Plant-Based
  • High protein content
  • Conveniently frozen
  • Animal-free product
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kathan Natrajan
Published on: 02-16-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kathan Natrajan
Published on: 02-16-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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