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Is Spam Keto Friendly? [Everything You Wanted To Know]

If there are two foods I fondly remember eating growing up, they’d have to be spam and vienna sausages. However, is spam keto friendly? If you're like me you'd be pleased to know that Spam is keto friendly! It contains around 6g of carb per serving.

In this article, I’ll go over whether you should or shouldn’t eat spam while following a ketogenic diet, what it’s made of, the health (or not so healthy benefits), and even some keto-friendly spam recipes.


Can You Eat Spam On Keto?

A misconception about the ketogenic diet is that foods are either keto or not keto. The reality is that keto is not a particular food but a metabolic state which occurs during periods of carbohydrate restriction.

Therefore, so long as you stay under your personal threshold of carbohydrates, you can eat just about anything while following a ketogenic diet. The poison is in the dose, not the food itself.

Stay low carb and you should be ok on a keto diet.

Of course, some foods are more keto “friendly” than others, and spam happens to be one of them. So is spam keto? I guess you could say it is. Spam is low carb with very few net carbs per serving.

 Spam is, in fact, a keto-friendly food since it only has 1 gram of total carbohydrates per serving, but if you decide to indulge in the entire can, then it has 6 grams of net carbs. 

However, if you’re privy enough to have access to the different varieties of spam, you should check the nutrition label to ensure that a particular variety is low carb and fits within your daily carbohydrate budget.

Almost all spam is keto friendly, but some others have more carbs than others, which I'll dive into in the next section.

How Many Carbohydrates Are In Spam?

With the popularity of spam spanning the globe, many people don’t realize there are over a dozen flavors and varieties of the popular canned meat.

Here is a table with all of the different amounts of net carbs in each variety of spam per serving and per can

  • SPAM Classic 1g / 6g
  • SPAM Lite 1g / 6g
  • SPAM Less Sodium 1g / 6g
  • SPAM With Bacon 1g / 6g
  • SPAM Oven Roasted Turkey 1g / 6g
  • SPAM Hickory Smoke 1g / 6g
  • SPAM Hot and Spicy 2g / 12g
  • SPAM Jalapeno 2g / 12g
  • SPAM Teriyaki 5g / 30g
  • SPAM Black Pepper 2g / 12g
  • SPAM Chorizo 2g / 12g
  • SPAM Portugese Sausage 1g/ 6g
  • SPAM Tocino 7g / 42g
  • SPAM Garlic 1g / 6g
  • SPAM Cheese 1g / 6g
  • SPAM Mezclita 2g/ 12g
  • SPAM Spread 1g / 2g

In particular, the most significant carbohydrate varieties are the teriyaki and spam tocino with 5g and 7g of carbs, respectively. The rest of the spam variations only contain 1 or 2 grams of carbohydrates, which is low carb enough, making them them all relatively keto friendly. 

What Is Spam Made Of?

Spam keto friendly nutrition label

The original spam has these listed ingredients:

  • Pork with ham
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Modified Potato Starch
  • Sugar
  • Sodium Nitrate

Depending on the variety or the can, ingredients can differ slightly as I’ve seen a label of the original spam with slightly varied ingredients. These ingredients come directly from the spam website, so perhaps they’ve changed to a less is more mentality.

In either case, they are all based around the same key ingredients, mainly pork with ham, but the latest iteration has what I would consider less and a “cleaner” ingredient list.

Note: Modified potato starch is a very minor component of spam and doesn't contribute a significant amount of carbohydrates.

Is Spam Healthy Or Bad For You?

No foods are inherently good or bad for your health, because too much of anything is never good.

However, there may be one particular ingredient in spam that may cause concern to some individuals, and that is sodium nitrate.

Sodium nitrate is a preservative used in many processed types of meat to extend its shelf life.

The cause of concern when it comes to nitrates is because they been demonized in the news and that maybe for a good reason. 

Some research suggests that excessive consumption of sodium nitrate may be linked to diseases such as heart disease and certain types of cancers. 1 2

However, to counterbalance that, there is also a study that suggests dietary supplements of inorganic nitrate can reduce blood pressure. 3 

The best thing you can do is consume any products that contain nitrates in moderation, which includes spam.

What Are Some Good Ways To Eat Spam

I keep things pretty simple when it comes to my cooking. When I eat spam, I like to enjoy a few slices with eggs for breakfast or dinner on top of a bowl of cauliflower rice.

However, if you’re looking to get a bit more creative in the kitchen, here are a few keto friendly spam recipes to try out.

One Ingredient Spam Fries

Yupp, the only ingredient here is SPAM! Made by chopping the SPAM into sticks and baking them until golden.


Idea and photo courtesy of Fuss Free Flavors

Hawaiian Garlic Spam Music In A Bowl

You may have heard of keto egg roll in a bowl, well, this is spam musubi in a bowl.

Spam music is one of my favorite indulgences when dining at a Hawaiian establishment, but when trying to keep it keto or low carb, this is a good alternative.

Spam musubi keto friendly recipe

Photo and recipe courtesy of Low Carbing Asian 

Thai Spam Lettuce Cups

Not sure why this is called Thai Spam Lettuce Cups, but let’s run with it. While lettuce cups or wraps can be a good option for any ground meat, spam makes a surprisingly good filler.


Photo and recipe courtesy of SPAM 

Where Can You Buy Spam?

Spam is available at nearly every local grocery store you can think of.

However, the different spam varieties may be hard to find and only available in specialty stores or online.

Randomness About Spam

Did you know there is a spam museum? 

Crazy right? I made a trip to the spam museum located in Austin, Minnesota, when making my way out to the area to visit a friend who happened to live in Minneapolis.


Spam is also considered the national food of Hawaii (not really, but kind of)

Considered the “Hawaiian steak,” you can find spam in fast food places such as McDonald’s or Burger King while traveling to Hawaii. They also have an annual Spam Jam to celebrate all things SPAM

Spam is a shortened version of spiced ham.

And another not so random fact(s), spam is a great keto friendly or low carb snack that you can quickly pan-fry, eat out of the can, or take on road trips since it’s non-perishable.

I don’t know what it is, but I’m definitely a fan of spam. If you’re looking for something similar or an alternative to spam, you may want to try vienna sausages.

 Alternatives To Spam

To be quite honest with you, there is no real “alternative” to Spam. However, if Spam isn't the ideal dish for you, there are a few other meats that you can try instead.

One of the more popular Spam alternatives is Ham. Ham isn't only healthier, but some people prefer the overall taste of Ham in comparison to Spam!

Aside from Ham, if you're in the mood for another type of cured meat, beef jerky is also a great option. Alternatively, many of the dishes that you make with spam, you can also put in tofu to get the job done!

This variety has less sodium and fat, fewer calories, and more protein than classic spam meat. Therefore, some individuals feel this may be the “healthiest” form of spam.

The Takeaway

So is spam keto friendly? The original, along with many varieties of spam are keto-friendly and low-carb. On average most types of spam only have 1 gram of net carbs in a serving or 6 grams of net carbohydrates per can.


Founder of The Art Of Keto.

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