Although spam is a steady staple in the United States, it is not good for you. This is because it contains a large amount of sodium and fat, and is also relatively low on healthy nutrients that the body needs. It is processed meat and has been linked to a variety of health conditions.
This article talks about spam, what it is made of, what it tastes like, and the healthier alternatives you can try. So, let’s get started.
What is spam?
Spam is a canned product that is made from ground pork and processed ham. The meat mixture is combined with preservatives and flavoring agent, and then it is pre-cooked, afterward canned or vacuum sealed.
The History of Spam
Spam product has been in existence for decades. Even during the famous World War II, it was called different names then, some of which were;
- Spiced ham
- Specially processed American meat
- Something posing as meat
- Slimy process anemic mucus
- Shoulders of pork and ham.
All of these names were given to the product by soldiers during World War II. However, all of these names carry the acronym s-p-a-m, so it was called spam in other to create a mutual understanding.
What does spam taste like?
Its taste is best described as slightly spicy and salty. Some people find its taste to be bad; however, it depends on how or what it is used to cook.
Personally, I find its taste to be too salty, so I tend to have mine alongside eggs or rice. You can try yours with other dishes that may require some extra salt.
So, what exactly is spam made of?
Surprisingly, there aren’t many ingredients used in the production process. According to Spam’s official website, the following is the list of ingredients used;
- Grounded pork
- Processed ham
- Potato starch (that has been modified)
- Sodium nitrate.
Nutritional information on spam
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the following is the nutritional information on a 56 gram serving of spam.
- Calories: 174
- Fat: 15g
- Protein: 7g
- Sodium: 440g
- Carbohydrate: 2g
It also contains zinc, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, folate, cobalamin, and Vitamin C.
Is spam good for you?
No, it is not. It is loaded with calories and sodium that may cause more bad than good to your body. Considering the number of calories, it holds way fewer nutrients than it is supposed to for such a high-calorie dish.
Below are some of the reasons why it is considered unhealthy.
1. Excess sodium
Spam is specifically loaded with sodium, and while sodium is not bad, excess intake however may be dangerous. Study shows that a high intake of food containing a large amount of sodium is linked with high blood pressure and metabolic disorder.
2. Increased risk of chronic disease
Spam is processed meat, and processed meat is also linked with some chronic diseases such as bowel and stomach cancer. Also, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is another health condition linked to excess intake of this dish.
3. Excess sugar
Sugar is used to enhance or improve the taste and this sugar has zero nutritional value to it since it is not natural like those found in fruits.
So, why do people still eat spam?
In 2021, the Minnesota-based spam-producing company “Hormel food” recorded its highest ever sales in a year. The CEO of the company stated this in an interview with CNBC.
He also said, “we are making advance plans to create more room to sell these products online because spam is bigger than ever.”
With all the side effects asserted to this dish, one can’t help but question why so many people still eat them. Well, the answer is because;
1. It is very affordable
People still eat spam mainly because it is super affordable. It is an inexpensive option for so many people or families that find themselves on a tight budget.
Even during the recent pandemic, the company ensured that there were plenty of cans available for sale. With plenty of vendors to distribute the product at an affordable price too.
2. It has a long shelf-life
Another reason it is still eaten by many people is that it has a long shelf-life. A can of spam may sit on the shelf for years without going bad and can act as a backup when other choices are limited.
Spam is a very versatile dish, and it can feature in so many dishes, ranging from paninis, musubi, spam burgers, or cobb salad. There are also various other dishes that can be incorporated.
Do you know?
- There is a cocktail made of spam called Spamai Tai, it is sold at Chicago’s duck-in restaurants.
- There are over 12.8 cans eaten every second.
- There is a famous Hawaiian dish that features spam.
- Gordon Ramsay actually hates it.
Should you stop eating spam?
You do not have to stop eating it. However, don’t make the product a steady diet, enjoy it once or twice a week and you’ll be alright.
You can also try other healthier alternatives like;
1. Grass-fed beef jerky
Grass-fed beef jerky is an alternative you can try, particularly for people with high blood pressure. It is also nutritionally dense and is relatively low on sodium.
2. Canned sardine
Canned sardines are specifically high in omega-3 acid, which is associated with reduced inflammation and reduced cholesterol. Sardine is also high in calcium because of the bone in it.
How do you know if spam is spoilt?
The easiest way to tell if it is spoiled is either by the smell or by the presence of mold on it.
Is spam eaten raw?
Yes, it is. However, you may prefer the taste when it is cooked or incorporated into other dishes.
Is spam lite healthier than regular spam?
No, it is not healthier. Although spam lite contains a slightly lower amount of sodium, it also carries more preservative ingredients which are still harmful.
Can you eat spam every day?
No, you can’t. Every day intake is associated with a number of health conditions such as cancer, high blood pressure, and other chronic diseases.
How many servings per can of spam?
A can is good for six servings.
Spam holds too many calories and sodium that may have adverse side effects on your health. You can have it, but no more than once or twice a week, or you can try other healthier alternatives mentioned in this article.
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should also see how to fry spam.
Thank you for reading this article.