Is Spam and all the different flavors it comes in keto-friendly? And what about Spam lite?
You are looking for easy healthy fast food that is quick and easy to prepare or in reality pre-cooked.
You may be going camping or living in a dorm and are asking whether you can still enjoy your old spam recipe on your ketogenic diet.
The simple answer is that spam is low in carbs, high in fat, and moderate in protein.
But, that does not apply to all flavors.
And even though the macro profile for most spams is keto, you may also be asking – is spam healthy?
And then just because the macro profile is keto-friendly, doesn’t mean that all the ingredients are.
So, whether you should it spam or not depends on your keto philosophy.
Let’s look at what it is, the ingredients, how it is made, the macros, the variants and the best ways to eat it.
Given the ingredient list, you may agree that the product may not be truly keto.
Scroll down to read more about macros vs ingredients.
How is it Made?
This is how original spam is made.
The benefit is that it has a long shelf life and is easy to carry for hikers or campers and it can be eaten warm or cold.
So, let’s have a look at the macros…
The macros per 2 ounce serving
There are now at least 15 varieties of spam. They all have roughly 7 to 9 grams of protein per serving.
How are they different?
The first difference is the attempt to make them “healthier” by making a lite version and a low sodium version.
The second is to provide variety with added flavor. With this product range, you want to carefully check the sugar and carb content.
The macros per 2 ounce serving
To make the lite version, chicken is added to the pork and ham. As the meat of chicken is leaner than pork meat, it reduces the fat content.
If you follow a ketogenic diet, you are probably looking for food with high fat, medium protein, and low carb macros.
If that is you – then the classic is a better option.
Another reason to stick to classic is that is has fewer preservatives.
Spam with Added Flavors
When you look at these newer products like Spam with Bacon, the macros are very similar to that of the Classic.
However on the other side, you get Tocino and Teriyaki with 7 grams and 5 grams of net carbs per serving.
The macros per 2 ounce serving for Spam Tocino
As you can see these are not keto friendly. And the issue is not just the higher number of carbs per portion but the significantly higher amount of added sugar.
Glycemic Index (GI)
Spam has very little sugar and carbs – so it should have no or a very impact on blood glucose levels.
Macros vs Ingredients
When you look at the macros of Spam, you’ll find the “perfect” keto macros.
But when you look at the ingredients, you’ll find that they are not all keto.
Specifically, the sugar and potato starch.
So, given the ingredient list, you may agree that despite the macros, spam may not be truly keto.
And this is where you must decide what type of keto diet you are following.
If you follow a lazy keto approach, then Spam is keto-friendly.
However, if you are a purest and avoid all ingredients that are considered “not keto” from your diet, then you won’t eat Spam.
So, macros yes! Ingredients no!
For many of us, there other considerations, like…
Availability and Cost
Even though we prefer to eat fresh low carb foods, our preferred options may not always be available.
And at times our budget may be tight.
So there may be times when a can of spam may be the easiest and best low carb food option available.
This is especially the case for campers and college students who may find easy access to keto-friendly well priced food a challenge.
Is Spam Healthy?
The macros are good, but is it healthy?
I suppose the question here is what you define as healthy.
It is processed food with a long shelve life, so not really.
It has added sugar and potato starch, so again not really.
But it is a decent source of fat and protein.
So, it may have a place in a low carb high fat diet even though it may not be the healthiest food for a ketoer.
Where to Buy it
Your Local Supermarket
The great thing about spam is that you can buy it everywhere.
Want to see all the spam products together, then check them out here.
These single portion pouches are a great option for an on-the-go meal.
Looking for a healthier on the go keto meal or snack? Then beef jerky is a great option.
Want to know which is our favorite? Then check out our favorite jerkies here.
Or for more information about why it is keto-friendly then read –
How to Eat it
There are many ways to eat spam.
Eat it raw from the can if you have no way to heat it up or if you like it raw.
But you’d probably want to fry it.
Cut it into slices and make a sandwich with low carb bread.
Or my favorite – cut it into sticks, make a low carb ketchup and eat them like fries.
Or cut them into little blocks and make Spam cauli rice or make this delicious breakfast…
In conclusion to the question – Is spam keto?
Based on the macros the answer is yes!
Based on the ingredients – not really!
And to the question – Is spam lite keto?
The macro profile is not as good as the classic and it has more unhealthy ingredients.
So, if you want to eat spam, eat the classic. The ingredients are the healthiest with the least added sugar.
Spam is a convenient pre-cooked food with keto friendly macros. So it is a good food to keep in your pantry even though you may not want to eat it regularly.
Keto Stamp of Approval?
Spam is low carb with excellent macros but contains sugar and is highly processed.
So, it can support your low carb or keto diet, but is not 100% keto approved.
We Need Your Help
If you have questions about any of your favorite foods, leave us a comment.
We’d love to incorporate your suggestions into our – “Can I eat this on my keto diet?” series.
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