Is Spam Keto Friendly? Only on Dirty Keto Because of Sugar

Keto (Low Carb) | Written by Nathan Petitpas | Updated on 10 April 2023

A mouth-watering dish of Spam Musubi, made with Spam, and sushi rice, all wrapped together with a strip of nori seaweed, the dish is visually striking, with its contrasting textures and colors, and the nori seaweed adds a savory and slightly salty flavor to the dish.

Is Spam keto friendly?9

Looking at the nutritional breakdown of Spam, it’s clear that yes, spam is keto since it’s low in carbs; however, it’s important to consider the trace amount of sugar in the broth since it has a high glycemic index and can negatively impact ketosis.

This goes to say that an item can be low carb and still be bad for keto so it’s important to look beyond macronutrients (carbs, fats, and protein) and inspect the ingredients too.

This introduces the concept of dirty, which is only worried about carbs; and clean keto, which also considers the ingredients and other health attributes of a product like if it’s grass fed, non-GMO, and/or nutrient dense.

Therefore, spam should only be consumed on dirty keto because of the sugar, but we’ll inspect just how much sugar is in it, and it’s overall glycemic index so you can decide for yourself. 

Is Spam Low Carb? How Many Carbs in Spam?

With a serving size of 2 ounces, Spam does have a low number of carbs; or more accurately, spam only has 1 gram of carbohydrates per serving. Research has shown that serving sizes are not always properly understood or effective, so it is crucial to keep in mind the carb content could increase significantly if more is consumed.1

Is Spam Keto Friendly?

At first glance of the nutritional facts, it’s clear to see the answer is Spam keto is a yes due to its low carb count but it is essential to look beyond that to the ingredients label when deciding whether to include Spam in a keto meal plan.

Three servings of spam musubi on a black plate with chopsticks on a wooden placemat.

Source: The Majoy Siason Collection via Canva.com10

A typical keto diet plan is focused on limiting carbs to between 20 and 50 grams a day.2 But a keto diet can be broken into two sections, dirty and clean keto.

With dirty keto, the focus is solely on the carb content of the food items, meaning foods that are processed, have preservatives, or other additives would fit into a dirty keto diet plan because of the low-carb nature. It’s also possible someone following a dirty keto meal plan may experience the frustration of being in ketosis and still not losing weight.

On the other hand, clean keto takes the keto diet a step further with an emphasis on whole nutritionally dense food items and significantly limiting processed foods. That being said, Spam is keto approved when looking at carbs alone, but the sugar, modified potato starch and sodium nitrate makes it unsuitable for clean keto.

Does Spam Contain Sugar? Does Spam Have a High Glycemic Index?

For 1 serving size which is 2 ounces, there is only 1 gram of sugar so Spam has an incredibly low sugar content. With pre-packaged foods, the glycemic index (GI) can only be estimated by evaluating the GI of each ingredient.

Looking at the ingredients present in Spam which are pork, ham, salt, and sugar Spam is estimated to have a low GI because all of the ingredients, outside of sugar, have a GI of 0.

A wooden spoon filled with sugar placed on a colorful shiny surface with bunch of sugar cubes on the side.

Source: towfiqu ahamed barbhuiya via Canva.com11

With the serving size having only 1 gram of sugar, we can estimate that the GI is not overly impacted by the sugar content. The glycemic index of a food is important to consider when following a keto diet because GI shows how quickly foods absorb into the bloodstream and how they may impact someone’s blood sugar levels.3

This can be very valuable while following a keto diet as research has shown that both a low carbohydrate diet and a diet focused on foods with a low glycemic index have a positive correlation with weight loss and improving chronic illnesses such as diabetes.4

Is Spam Healthy?

The quick answer to the question of whether Spam is healthy is a big it depends. One of the most important factors to consider regarding Spam is that is it a very processed, mechanically separated meat.

It is crucial to consume processed meats in moderation as eating large amounts have been linked with an increased risk of cancer.5 Additionally, diets high in red meat and processed meats have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.6

Spam is a quick, easy-to-enjoy item that is versatile and comes with low carbs, calories, and sugar. Overall, Spam’s ingredient list is fairly short but 2 important ingredients to keep in mind are the preservatives, modified potato starch, and sodium nitrite.

These actually have the potential to kick someone out of ketosis and have been linked to various health issues so it’s important to consume in moderation.

In conclusion, Spam is an okay option to enjoy in moderation and mindfully as intuitive eating has been linked with weight loss.

A Look at Spam’s Ingredients & Nutritional Value

Below is a breakdown of Spam’s ingredients and nutrition facts.

  • Pork: Pork is keto-approved and has a glycemic index of 0.
  • Ham: Ham is keto-approved and has a glycemic index of 0.
  • Salt: Sodium is keto-friendly and important in a keto diet. Salt does not impact blood glucose levels.
  • Sugar: Sugar has a glycemic index of 100 so it is crucial to keep sugar consumption to a minimum to remain in ketosis.
  • Water

Alongside Spam being mechanically separated and processed, there are 2 preservatives found in Spam that throw Spam out of being approved for a clean keto meal plan, so while the question is Spam keto is yes, it’s better suited for dirty keto. It is crucial these preservatives are consumed in moderation as they have been linked with an increased risk of chronic disease.7

Additionally, while Vienna sausages are low carb, they’re also made with mechanically separated meat and thus, should only be eaten on dirty keto.

  • Modified Potato Starch: Potato starch has a glycemic index of 95, making it a high-GI food. This is a preservative that is not keto-friendly because it is high in carbs.
  • Sodium Nitrite: Sodium Nitrite is used to inhibit bacteria and mold during the curing process of a variety of meats and has been linked to heart disease and diabetes.8 There is no GI for Sodium Nitrite.

For a breakdown of the nutrition facts of Spam look below.

  • Calories: 180
  • Total Fat: 16 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 6 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 40mg
  • Sodium: 790mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Dietary Fiber: 0 grams
  • Net Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Total Sugar: 1 gram
  • Added Sugars: 1 gram
  • Protein: 7 grams

Canned Spam Keto Recipes

There are a variety of different ways to enjoy Spam, that will still fit into a keto meal plan.

A serving of fried rice made with a mix of ingredients such as rice, onions, and eggs served on a white plate.

Source: khunkorn via Canva.com12

So while wondering how much weight can you lose on keto, someone can enjoy one of these tasty and easy-to-make recipes. Knowing that is Spam keto is a yes, it’s worth exploring different ways to enjoy Spam.

Keto-Approved Spam Fried Rice

Fried rice may not be a typical meal on a keto diet but this Spam fried rice is a delicious, low-carb, keto-friendly recipe.

This recipe makes 6 servings.


  • 8oz Spam (⅔ of a can)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (Is Olive Oil Keto– the answer is yes!) 
  • 3 cups cauliflower rice (or ½ head cauliflower)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Sriracha to taste


  1. To prepare all of the ingredients, cut Spam into cubes, chop the onion, and mince the garlic. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add in the Spam. 
  3. Cook the Spam until golden brown then turn the heat down and add onion, garlic, and spices. 
  4. The cauliflower rice can be premade frozen or someone can make their own by finely grating half a head of cauliflower. Add the cauliflower to the Spam mixture. Add about 1 tablespoon of additional olive oil to coat the rice.
  5. Crack the 2 eggs directly in the skillet and stir until scrambled. 
  6. Once everything is stirred and slightly golden brown the Spam cauliflower rice is ready to be enjoyed! Top with Sriracha or soy sauce.

Nutritional Information for 1 serving size (1 cup) Spam Fried Rice:

  • Calories: 182
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Sugar: 2.7 grams
  • Carbs: 4.4 grams
  • Fiber: 1.13 grams
  • Net Carbs: 3.2 grams
  • Sodium: 760 mg
  • Protein: 8 grams

Keto Spam, Cheese, & Spinach Muffins

While typically muffins made with milk or flour products should be avoided on a keto diet, this recipe has been modified to fit into a keto meal plan with almond milk and flour.

This recipe makes 12 servings (12 muffins).


  • 1 can Spam
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of choice
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a muffin tray.
  2. To prepare the ingredients, chop Spam and onion into small pieces.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add Spam and onion and cook until the Spam is browned and the onion is translucent. 
  4. Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. 
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, cheese, and spinach. Once mixed, add in the Spam and onion mix. 
  6. Combine the wet mixture with the flour until well combined. 
  7. Pour the batter into the muffin tray, filling each cup ¾ of the way full.
  8. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These muffins are best enjoyed hot and can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 1 week. Reheat in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Nutritional Information for 1 Spam Keto Muffin:

  • Calories: 210
  • Fat: 17.6 grams
  • Sugar: 1.9 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 1.7 grams
  • Net Carbs: 3.1 grams
  • Sodium: 588 mg
  • Protein: 9 grams

Spam Fries: Keto-Friendly Tasty Snack

For a very easy and tasty snack try out Spam fries! These can be enjoyed as a snack or as part of a meal.

It’s important to remember to enjoy in moderation as the carb content can significantly increase if more than a serving size is consumed. Eating mindfully is a great trick to add to the list of weight loss rules.

This recipe makes 6 servings or about 24 fries depending on the thickness.


  • 1 can of Spam
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil


  1. Cut Spam into long, finger-length pieces.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet.
  3. Add Spam fries into the hot pan and cook until golden brown on all sides.
  4. Remove from heat immediately and enjoy nice and hot.

When looking to find a keto-approved dipping sauce to enjoy the Spam fries with someone may wonder is ranch keto. The answer is yes!

And there are even some great, easy-to-make homemade ranch recipes that may fit even better into someone’s keto plan.

Nutritional Information for 1 Serving of Spam Fries which is 4 fries:

  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 16 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Net Carbs: 1 gram
  • Sodium: 790 mg
  • Protein: 7 grams

When following a keto diet, it’s important to look at ingredient quality as well as carb content. While Spam is low carb, there are some ingredients that may be best to avoid on a clean keto diet.

So even though, the question of is Spam keto is yes, it’s important to consider the ingredients and overall nutritional value of a product to avoid sugar and other undesirable additives.

Frequently Asked Questions About Is Spam Keto Friendly?

Are Spam Fries Keto Approved?

It depends on how they are made. Some Spam fries (like the recipe we have here) are made by cooking the Spam in olive oil, as the only ingredient is Spam it is keto-approved.

Some other Spam fry recipes use breadcrumbs which could potentially no longer be keto-friendly.

Spam Lite: Is It Keto?

Spam Lite has 33% fewer calories, 50% less fat, and 25% less sodium compared to the original Spam. It has only 1 gram of carbohydrates so it would be keto-approved but it is important to keep in mind there are more preservatives found in Spam Lite that are best to be avoided while following keto so Spam Original may be a better option to go for.

Is Turkey Spam Keto Compliant?

Turkey Spam is keto-approved as it has only 1 gram of carbs and 1 gram of sugar. This product actually does have both sugar and dextrose (another sweetener) in its ingredients list which Original Spam does not so it does appear the sugar content is higher.


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2Masood, W., Annamaraju, P., & Uppaluri, K. R. (2022). Ketogenic Diet. StatPearls. <>

3Estahani, A., Wong, J. M. W., Mirrahimi, A., Srichaikul, K., Jenkins, D. J. A., & Kendall, C. W. C. (2009). The glycemic index: physiological significance. J Am Coll Nutr. <>

4Vlachos, D., Malisova, S., Lindberg, F. A., & Karaniki, G. (2020). Glycemic Index (GI) or Glycemic Load (GL) and Dietary Interventions for Optimizing Postprandial Hyperglycemia in Patients with T2 Diabetes: A Review. Nutrients, 12(6), 1561. <>

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7Chazelas, E., Deschasaux, M., Srour, B., Kesse-Guyot, E., Julia, C., Alles, B., Druesne-Pecollo, N., Galan, P., Hercberg, S., Latino-Martel, P., Esseddik, Y., Szabo, F., Slamich, P., Gigandet, S., & Touvier, M. (2020). Food additives: distribution and co-occurrence in 126,000 food products of the French market. Sci Rep. <>

8Pub Chem. (n.d.). Sodium Nitrite. National Library of Medicine. <>

94kodiak. “Spam Musubi.” Canva. Accessed 11 April 2023. <>

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About the Author

Nathan Petitpas

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.