Is Spam healthy food? The truth is that this question is not as simple as it seems. There are some benefits to eating Spam, but there are also many downsides to consuming this type of meat.
This article will explore both sides of the issue and try to present a balanced perspective on what you should believe about Spam.
What is SPAM?
Spam is canned meat that Hormel Foods first produced in 1937. It was created to help people get the protein they needed during World War II, when many foods were scarce (HMSO, 2013).
The meat is made of chopped pork shoulder meat and ham with added salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrite, among other ingredients.
Even though the meat was originally made from pork shoulder meat, it is now produced from a mixture of different meats, including pork shoulder and ham and beef and chicken.
Spam And Nutrition
The nutritional value of Spam will depend on which type you eat. The original version contains 400 calories, 26 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of sugar per three ounces. It also contains an average of 24% iron and 19% magnesium (The Healthy Foodie, 2013).
When Spam is made with only pork shoulder meat, then the calorie content is slightly lower: 370 calories per 3 ounces serving. There are also less fat and carbohydrates in this version, as each serving only contains 22 grams of carbs and 16 grams of fat (HMSO, 2013).
How can you cook it?
You can cook Spam in a variety of ways. You can eat it cold, reheat it or even use it as the main ingredient in a dish you are preparing, such as spaghetti.
Spam goes very well with eggs and can be used to make breakfast sandwiches, which you might enjoy if you live in Hawaii (Hawaii Magazine, 2013).
There are many ways to cook Spam, so there should be no trouble finding a way you enjoy it.
Is Spam healthy food: Benefits of eating Spam
- It’s very cheap. Many people buy Spam because it is affordable and doesn’t take much time to prepare. The price per pound is $2-4 (Live Well, 2013). If you’re looking for a way to eat healthier on a limited budget, then Spam may be your answer.
- It contains protein and fiber. The amount of protein and fiber in this type of meat is similar to the amount in other meats people commonly eat, such as pork chops or chicken thighs. The truth is that there are much better sources of these nutrients, but Spam is a solid source and shouldn’t be ruled out completely.
- It can aid in weight loss. Spam contains few ingredients that cause any type of reaction with the body, which means you won’t crave it more than once after eating it (Gillespie, 2012). This makes Spam an ideal food for people who are trying to lose weight. If your main goal is to lose excess fat, then Spam may be an effective food for you to eat.
Disadvantages of eating Spam
- It’s high in sodium and preservatives. Most types of Spam contain at least 1000 mg of salt per serving (Himmelgreen, 2013). This makes it the type of meat that you should eat sparingly, not regularly. The other ingredients in Spam also cause the sodium levels to be high. This includes BHT and TBHQ, which are preservatives that can be damaging to your health if eaten too often (Live Strong, 2013).
- It contains potentially harmful chemicals. There are many different additives in Spam that you may want to be aware of. For example, the meat contains sodium nitrite and BHT, which have been linked to increased cancer risk (Himmelgreen, 2013). Additionally, there is a concern over whether or not chemicals leach from the can get into the food itself. Some people who have anemia are also cautioned against eating Spam because it contains traces of iron that can be dangerous to their health (Live Well, 2013).
- It may contain bones. Spam is made from a mixture of many different types of meat. In order for companies to get more bang for their buck, they cut up all the leftover scraps of meat and add them together. This is why it may be possible to get pieces of bones in your Spam, especially if you are eating it straight out of the can (Himmelgreen, 2013). Though there are no reports of anyone having issues with this, it’s something to keep in mind.
How Common is Spam?
Spam is most commonly enjoyed on the Hawaiian islands, where over 6 million cans of Spam are consumed daily (Aloha Spice, 2013).
However, this is likely because Hawaiians generally enjoy many types of meat that people might not eat in other parts of the country.
If you live in Hawaii, it may not be wise to only eat spam while on the island. However, if you are visiting or living elsewhere in the U.S., then it’s unlikely that Spam will make up a large portion of your diet.
Eating Spam is not something I would recommend to most people because there are better ways to get protein and nutrients into your system.
However, there are certain situations where Spam may be a better choice than other foods. If you’re on a limited budget and want to get the most out of your money, then Spam may be one way to do that.
Additionally, there are some instances where eating this type of meat can be helpful for people who are trying to lose weight or have anemia.
In any case, it’s important to remember that Spam is high in sodium and may contain harmful chemicals. It’s best to eat this type of meat sparingly.