“Is Spam Low Carb? Unveiling the Truth Behind This Filling Canned Meat”

By bobbreich@gmail.com •  Updated: 11/19/23 •  4 min read

Is Spam Low Carb? Unveiling the Truth Behind This Filling Canned Meat


Low carb diets have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their various health benefits, including weight loss and improved blood sugar control. These diets typically restrict the intake of carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, and rice. However, when it comes to canned meats like Spam, many people wonder whether it fits into their low carb lifestyle. In this blog post, we will delve into the nutritional value of Spam and analyze its carbohydrate content to determine if it can be considered low carb.

What is Spam?

Spam is a canned meat product that has been around for decades. It was first introduced by Hormel Foods Corporation in 1937 and gained popularity during World War II when it provided soldiers with a cheap and convenient source of protein. It is made from pork shoulder meat, ham seasoning, salt, water, modified potato starch as a binder, sugar, and sodium nitrite for preservation.

Nutritional Value of Spam

A serving of spam (56 grams) contains approximately 174 calories. It consists of 16 grams of fat (6 grams saturated fat), 2 grams of carbohydrates (0 grams fiber), and 7 grams of protein. In terms of vitamins and minerals, spam provides small amounts of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and potassium.

Carbohydrate Content in Spam

When analyzing the carbohydrate content in spam per serving size (56 grams), we find that it only contains 2 grams. This relatively low amount makes spam an attractive option for those following a low carb diet compared to other processed meats like hot dogs or sausages that often contain added fillers or high carbohydrate ingredients.

Impact on Low Carb Diets

The limited carbohydrate content in spam makes it compatible with most low carb diets. However, individuals on stricter versions such as ketogenic diets may find the small amount of carbohydrates in spam undesirable. Ketogenic diets typically require reducing carbohydrate intake to 20-50 grams per day, so even 2 grams of carbohydrates from a single serving of spam can be significant in this context.

Opinions from nutritionists and experts vary regarding the suitability of spam in low carb diets. Some argue that the small carbohydrate content makes it an acceptable choice, especially for occasional consumption. Others caution against its processed nature and high sodium content, suggesting that fresh or natural protein sources like chicken or fish should be prioritized instead.

Incorporating Spam into a Low Carb Diet

For those who enjoy the taste and convenience of spam but want to maintain a low carb lifestyle, there are several tips and tricks to consider. First, portion control is crucial. Limiting your intake to a small serving size can help manage your carbohydrate intake effectively. Additionally, pairing spam with low-carb vegetables like zucchini or broccoli can increase the fiber content of your meal while adding flavor and nutrients.

Here are some recipe ideas that combine spam with low-carb ingredients:

1. Spam and Veggie Stir-Fry: Sauté diced spam with bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions for a quick and easy low-carb meal.
2. Spam Lettuce Wraps: Wrap thin slices of spam in lettuce leaves along with fresh herbs and vegetables for a refreshing low carb lunch option.
3. Spam Cauliflower Fried Rice: Replace rice with grated cauliflower as a base for your fried rice recipe and add diced spam for extra flavor.

Providing Alternatives for Low Carb Dieters

While spam can be enjoyed in moderation on a low carb diet, there are also alternatives available for those looking to diversify their protein sources:

1. Canned Tuna: Tuna packed in water is an excellent source of protein without any carbohydrates.
2. Chicken Breast: Chicken breast is lean, high in protein, and contains zero carbs when consumed without added sauces or coatings.
3. Beef Jerky: Look for jerky made from lean cuts of meat without added sugars or preservatives.
4. Tofu: For vegetarians or vegans, tofu is a low carb and high protein option that can be used in various dishes.


In conclusion, while spam does contain a small amount of carbohydrates, it can still be considered low carb when consumed in moderation. Its versatility and long shelf life make it a convenient protein source for individuals on a low carb diet. However, it is essential to balance your overall nutritional intake and consider other fresh or natural protein sources as well. By incorporating spam with low-carb ingredients and exploring alternatives, you can enjoy the occasional indulgence without compromising your low carb lifestyle.