Shawarma Side Effects + Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/12/22 •  10 min read

What are shawarma side effects and benefits every ethical consumer must know? Here are shawarma pros and cons and how buying it will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on shawarma benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about shawarma benefits and side effects. This will include shawarma benefits for your health and potential risks, shawarma water footprint and shawarma carbon footprint, shawarma sustainability, if shawarma is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if shawarma is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about shawarma benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Shawarma Benefits And Side Effects

Shawarma is traditionally made from lamb or mutton. Shawarma may also be made with chicken, turkey, beef, or veal. For this article, we will focus on the traditional and most common shawarma, lamb shawarma.

Health

Shawarma health benefits may include:

Shawarma side effects may include: 

Additionally, shawarma is…

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Environment

Water footprint: high, 5,301 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of lamb carcasses and half carcasses, fresh or chilled / 635 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of lamb carcasses and half carcasses, fresh or chilled

Carbon footprint: high, 39.2 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of lamb, a car driving equivalent of 90.25 miles or 145.25 kilometers

Destruction: high, lamb production is relatively destructive, land usage for pasture, grain and forage, solid waste (excrement/manure) runoff into soil and freshwater, deforestation for feed crops, animal agriculture leading cause of: species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction, responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction, sheep hooves can cause land degradation

Shawarma is…

Animals

Kills: Lambs, sheep or other animals, Shawarma is traditionally made from lamb or mutton. Shawarma may also be made with chicken, turkey, beef, or veal. For this article, we will focus on the traditional and most common shawarma, lamb shawarma.

Harms: Various animals

Indirectly kills or harms: ecosystems and wildlife, habitat contamination (water and soil pollution), wildlife habitat destruction (deforestation/land clearing), wolves and coyotes killed to prevent predation on livestock 

Shawarma is…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Shawarma…

Where does most shawarma come from?

The world’s top lamb producer is China, followed by Australia and New Zealand. The world’s top lamb exporter is New Zealand, followed by Australia, Spain, UK, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Chile, Argentina and China.

What are shawarma substitutes?

Shawarma substitutes for vegans can include seitan, soy lamb and more. Check out this Vegan Substitutes List to see alternatives for meat, dairy, eggs, fish and more.

shawarma is acidic. shawarma side effects include not fitting into an alkaline diet.

shawarma is acidic. shawarma side effects include not fitting into an alkaline diet.

Is shawarma alkaline or acidic?

Shawarma is acidic.

What is the pH level of shawarma?

Shawarma has a 5.5 pH level, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

shawarma is gluten free.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Is shawarma gluten free?

Yes, shawarma is gluten free.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

shawarma is not a common food allergen.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is shawarma a common food allergen?

No, shawarma is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to shawarma but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

shawarma has a high water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does shawarma have a high or low water footprint?

Shawarma has a relatively high water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of shawarma?

It takes 5,301 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of lamb / 635 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of lamb.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

shawarma has a high carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does shawarma have a high or low carbon footprint?

Shawarma has a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of shawarma?

It takes around high, 39.2 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of lamb, a car driving equivalent of 90.25 miles or 145.25 kilometers.

Carbon footprints greatly depend on how far the food has traveled to get to you!

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

t’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

shawarma is unsustainable. shawarma side effects include being environmentally destructive.

shawarma is unsustainable. shawarma side effects include being environmentally destructive.

Overall, is shawarma eco friendly? Is shawarma sustainable?

Shawarma production is relatively unsustainable.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

shawarma is not vegan.

vegan food to eat on a vegan diet

Is shawarma vegan?

No, shawarma is not vegan. Shawarma is meat from a slaughtered animal. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

shawarma often has laborer issues and human rights concerns (depends on brand).

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is shawarma a product with laborer concerns?

At this time there are major concerns with shawarma production. It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Check out this list of food to buy fair trade.

This post was all about shawarma side effects and benefits.

Sources:

An outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis food poisoning following consumption of chicken shawarma: A brief epidemiological investigation

Health hazard from exposure to histamine produced … – PubAg

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.