Verified by Edna Skopljak MD
Edna Skopljak is a medical doctor and an editor at BJBMS medical journal. She graduated from the University of Sarajevo School of Science and Technology.
So many food items become questionable during pregnancy over whether or not they are safe to eat and safe for the developing baby.
Canned foods, in particular, are often an area of concern, and opinions on canned meat products such as corned beef and SPAM are typically very mixed.
However, despite the conflict presented, it is important to look at the facts and ask can pregnant ladies eat SPAM, and if it is safe to eat during pregnancy?
Is SPAM safe during pregnancy?
Yes, SPAM is safe for pregnant ladies to eat. This answer surprises most people, yet, as a cooked meat product, and one that is cooked at high temperatures to pasteurize it during production, SPAM is safe to eat while pregnant.
SPAM is made up of ham and ground pork mince, with added salt, sugar, potato starch, preservatives, and sodium nitrate.
We recommend consuming it in moderation, as with all foods, but it is no more dangerous to eat while pregnant than any other canned or cooked meats.
Cold cut meats and deli or lunch meats are not recommended for pregnant women to eat.
However, due to the high risk for bacterial cross-contamination that these cold meats carry.
Is SPAM healthy for pregnant women?
SPAM is as healthy for pregnant women to eat as it is for everyone else to eat.
Having said that, SPAM is not the healthiest food. Not only is it full of added salt, sugar, and preservatives, but 100 grams of SPAM contain 315 calories.
Not only is this a lot of calories for such a small serving, but of that 100g 27g is fat, and 1411mg is sodium, which equates to 59% of the recommended daily salt allowance.
While SPAM made with turkey is often considered healthier thanks to its lower calorie count, it still contains large amounts of salt and fat and should be eaten as infrequently as regular SPAM.
Overconsumption of processed meats like SPAM in pregnancy can cause gestational diabetes, which leads to a higher risk of stillbirths and premature births.
While discussing the health values of SPAM, the sodium nitrate content should also be mentioned.
While safe to eat in limited quantities such as a single serving of SPAM, if such a preservative is eaten too much, there is an increased risk of certain cancers.
What is SPAM the meat made of?
You may be surprised to learn that SPAM is not actually a meat product at all. The name is actually an acronym that stands for “spiced ham.” The dish was first created in 1937 by Hormel Foods Corporation, and it quickly became a popular item in the United States.
During World War II, SPAM was included in the ration kits of American soldiers, and it became so popular that it was even mentioned in a Monty Python sketch! Today, SPAM is still a popular dish in many parts of the world, and you can find it canned or fresh in most supermarkets.
How much meat is actually in SPAM?
So, how much meat is in a can of SPAM? Each can contains 12 ounces of cooked pork shoulder and ham.
This may not sound like a lot, but it actually equals out to about 50% meat. The rest of the can is made up of fat, salt, water, and some preservatives.
But it is still safe to eat when you are pregnant.
So, is SPAM meat high quality?
Considering that SPAM is mostly made of pork shoulder and ham, it would stand to reason that the meat is of fairly good quality.
However, because it is canned and has a high salt content, some people believe that it is not as healthy as other meat products.
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to include SPAM in your diet. If you are looking for a quick and easy meal, then SPAM can be a good option. Just remember to watch your sodium intake!
Since you can eat SPAM during your pregnancy, you must not consume it in large quantities.
What can you do with a can of SPAM?
Now that you know a little bit more about SPAM, you may be wondering what you can do with it. There are actually quite a few different recipes that include SPAM, so you can get creative in the kitchen! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
SPAM and eggs: This is a classic breakfast dish that is easy to make and filling. Just fry up some eggs and add in some diced SPAM.
SPAM sandwiches: Whether you like your SPAM on toast or in a sandwich, this is a quick and easy meal option. Add some cheese, lettuce, and tomato for a complete sandwich.
SPAM stir fry: Cut up some SPAM into small cubes and add it to your favorite stir fry recipe. It goes great with vegetables and rice.
SPAM pasta: This is a fun twist on classic spaghetti and meatballs. Just substitute the meatballs for some diced SPAM.
SPAM pizza: Yes, you can even put SPAM on pizza! If you are feeling adventurous, try adding some SPAM to your next pizza night.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to use SPAM in your cooking. So next time you are looking for a quick and easy meal, don’t forget about this versatile meat product! You can definitely try any of the above ways to use SPAM during your pregnancy.
In short, SPAM is safe for pregnant ladies to eat. While it is not the healthiest cooked meat option available thanks to its high fat and sodium levels, eating it occasionally will not do a pregnant woman any harm, in the same way, it would not for anyone else.
As it is pasteurized, SPAM is safer for pregnant women than cold deli meats, as all the dangerous bacteria have been killed in the pasteurization process.
Moderation is often the best tactic to apply to foods you may eat while pregnant, and this is as applicable to SPAM as to any other food you might consume as part of your pregnancy diet.
SPAM should be viewed as an occasional alternative rather than something to avoid, especially if it is a product that you usually enjoy.