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Is Ham Keto Friendly?

The new year is nearly here, which means it is high time every household will be bombarded with hams for the new years celebration.

Before answering the question, ‘is ham keto?’ let us talk a little about ketosis and the overall ketogenic diet. Foods that are high in fat but low in carbohydrates constitute a keto diet. The main aim of this diet is to help the person lose weight, and if done right, the results can be very promising.

Is Ham Keto Friendly

However, relapsing is a prevalent issue. I have said several times that it is not easy to maintain a keto diet, as a change in the diet means a change in lifestyle.

So, it’s only natural that people fall off the bull every now and then. Ever wondered how people came up with this so-called cheat day? Well, now you know why.

Table of Contents
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What is Ham?

From making simple sandwiches to holiday celebrations, ham is the first priority of every household when it comes to meat purchasing.

But what exactly is ham? And if ham really is keto compliant. Keep reading till the end if you want to learn the answer to the question, is ham keto?

Basically, ham is meat that comes from the rear leg of pork. There are many ways to prepare it. Either roast it simply or prepare a proper meal with ham like you would do with any other meat. The two hams found in pork carry about 20 percent of its entire weight.

In the United States, you will find several different types of ham available in the market. Shoulder and picnic hams are particularly popular.

Moreover, you can even find callies, and even Californias; but you should know that these products don't hold a candle to authentic ham.

When talking about its nutritional value, ham is a solid protein source. In this aspect, ham goes toe to toe with beef as a single pound of ham contains approximately 1300 to 2600 calories.

Ham is considered to be one of the most ancient meats as it was highly common among civilised societies in the major parts of the world, including Asia and Europe.

However, its popularity was significantly contained as some religions forbid the consumption of ham and pork in general.

So, naturally, when the Europeans first started to settle in America, ham became one of the most popular foods in parts of North America; and, ultimately, the entire continent.

Essentially, curing the ham became a major tradition there in the winter and late fall parts of the year.

There are several ways to cook the ham. It can be slow-roasted like any other meat if you have an oven or a pan large enough to contain it. There is a reason why curing ham became a major tradition in North America.

It is essential to cure a ham before it is cooked as its taste highly depends on how it is cooked. A hierarchy is often followed. Before ham is prepared, it is first cured, aged, and then smoked for ultimate taste and texture.

Ham curing is carried out by injecting the meat with several different elements. Salt, sodium nitrate, sugar, potassium chloride, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, water, and flavorings (if need be) are the items used for the curing process.

This is an imperative procedure to conduct as ham, in its natural state, is full of bacteria. The chemicals injected and the cooking together kill all the bacteria turning fresh ham into cured ham. This is the type of ham you will normally find in the market, which is also often referred to as baked ham.

Now you may wonder, after undergoing so many changes, what does ham even taste like? The answer is simple. The taste of ham depends on how it has been prepared. However, all types of ham share some basic characteristics.

All hams share a natural sweetness irrespective of how it is prepared. Be it smoked, roasted, or aged ham into thin slices, they will all have a hint of underlying sweetness.

Without losing its natural flavor, ham takes on all the third-party essentials and still tastes really good, which is precisely why it is considered a treat for the holidays.

Is Ham Keto?

Now comes the main event, the moment you have all been waiting for, is ham keto?

Ham, in its natural state, is highly keto-compliant. Ideally, it is just meat which means it has a minimal amount of carbohydrates and is high in fat, perfect for maintaining ketosis. However, as you might have guessed, there is a catch.

ham keto friendly

Only in its natural state is ham keto compliant, but considering how ham is normally prepared, it is a serious prohibition for a ketogenic diet. How ham is prepared is the only downside for someone trying to remain in ketosis.

Ham is often glazed in honey or brown sugar, and if you have been following a keto diet for even a week, you know firsthand how they can kick you straight out of ketosis.

Some condiments are fine, for example, mustard. However, ironically, only plain old mustard is fine. Other types of mustard, such as sweet mustard, should be avoided at all costs when on a ketogenic diet.

Secondly, deli hams are next on the list to be avoided on a ketogenic diet as they are often cured with sugar and other similar ingredients, which are a serious no-go area for a person remaining in ketosis. If you really want to buy deli ham, it is highly recommended to check the label beforehand, so you know what you are buying.

On a ketogenic diet, it is vital to consume ham in moderation. Only natural ham is keto compliant, but since it is full of bacteria, you would not want to eat it in that state.

Nevertheless, you should know that there are different types of cured hams available. The ones that have been cured with salts and spices are perfectly fine for remaining in ketosis. But others that make use of artificial preservatives should be avoided.

So yes. Ham is keto-friendly, but always make sure to read the label before purchasing, as you wouldn’t want your entire keto progress to go astray.

Ham Nutrition Facts

As mentioned earlier, ham is considered to be one of the healthiest meat out there in the market. So, let’s go through its nutritional profile and break down all the factors that are to be considered before consuming it on a ketogenic diet.

The following is a nutritional breakdown of a single, standard serving of boneless lean ham (100 grams).

  • 6 grams dietary fat
  • 145 calories
  • 1.5 grams of carbohydrates
  • 0 grams sugar
  • 0 grams of dietary fibre
  • 287 mg potassium
  • 1203 mg sodium
  • 53 mg cholesterol

Although you should keep in mind if you are not entirely convinced about ham, there are a few other alternatives of ham available. They are as followed:

  • Sausage
  • Salami
  • Bacon
  • Pepperoni

Why Is Ham A Good Option For Low-Carb Diets?

It is quite simple. Ham is fairly low in calories and has a minimal amount of carbohydrates. There is no other way to look at it. So far, we have covered all the basic facts and if you still need some added incentives, keep reading to learn a few fun ham recipes that will surely make your mouth drip with saliva.

keto ham

Keto Friendly Ham Recipes

If you are a fan of ham and want to remain in ketosis, the following recipe will surely take your breath away. Even on a normal diet, this recipe would be a delightful treat for all those who consume it. Stay tuned for the garlic butter Chaffle ham and cheese sandwich.

  1. Garlic Butter Chaffle Ham & Cheese Sandwich

Ingredients for the chaffle:

  • 8 tablespoons almond flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Half teaspoon flaxseed meal (optional)

Ingredients for the garlic butter:

  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh minced parsley

The remaining ingredients:

  • Half pound ham
  • Half pound sliced Swiss cheese

How to make:

First things first, you need to prepare your oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. To make the garlic butter, you need to combine all of the ingredients mentioned above and set it aside for a while.

Secondly, for making the chaffless, you need to combine baking powder, almond flour, and flaxseed only if you are using it. In a second bowl, combine the shredded mozzarella cheese with eggs. Now combine both the mixtures and whisk and prepare your waffle maker.

Once the waffle maker is preheated, only pour up to 4 tablespoons of the mixture just to fill the bottom area; make sure not to overdo it.

Now, let the mixture cook for up to five minutes or until the waffle becomes brownish-golden.

The next step is to find a square baking dish and slightly grease it. Place 4 chaffless on the bottom and gently brush them with the garlic butter you just made. Now top the chaffless with cheese and ham and place the rest of the chaffles onto the sandwich.

Brush the remaining chaffles with some more garlic butter and bake in the preheated oven for up to 20 minutes, or until the cheese starts to melt.

Well there you have it, the full might of garlic butter chaffle ham and cheese sandwiches. Now, you can pull out the baking dish and serve the sandwich with some more garlic butter on the side. Rest assured, you and all your guests will give you a pat on the back for a job well done.

Although, it is worth mentioning that the ingredients mentioned are for a single-scale serving. You can multiply the ingredients accordingly. Moreover, you can even store these sandwiches in a fridge for up to five days, or a freezer for up to 2-3 months. Just make sure to place it in an airtight container before freezing.

Sandwiches aside, ham itself is a popular ingredient, and I am sure you know a few more breathtaking recipes yourself, just make sure to go easy on the ingredients and the type of ham you are using, as even a slight slip-up can temporarily delay your ketosis progress.

keto friendly ham


By now, you probably know all the dos and don’ts of ham on a ketogenic diet. Ham itself is vastly healthy and it can surely satisfy your taste buds in a few different ways.

However, before consuming, you should consider why pork consumption is forbidden in some parts of the world due to religious aspects.

All in all, everything has its pros and cons. As a fellow foodie, I would highly encourage you to make up a list of all the potential harms of the food you are about to consume, especially when in ketosis.

Summing things up, maintaining the state of ketosis for long periods of time is not an easy thing to achieve, and you will face difficulties. Speaking from experience, the end result is highly worth all the pain and hardships. After all, not everyone can eat what they like and still stay thin!

If you'd like to learn more about keto friendly foods, please click on one of the links below:

Is Iceberg Lettuce Keto?

Are Capers Keto?

Is Egg Salad Keto?


Founder of The Art Of Keto.

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