Typically, SPAM Classic comes in 12 ounce cans and the label says that a single serving is two ounces. So, you've got six servings in that can.
With me so far? Okay.
According to Hormel Foods' own label on the can, each two ounce serving contains 174 calories, 137 of which comes from fat.
When you see how much of your Daily Value (DV) is provided in each two ounce slice, the numbers could actually stop your heart. Since much of the nutritional data is given in grams, understand that 2 ounces is equal to 56 grams. The DV is how much of it you require each day as part of your diet.
- Fat: 15g (23 % DV)
- Saturated Fat: 6g (28% DV)
- Cholesterol: 39mg (13% DV)
- Sodium: 767mg (32% DV)
So, those two slices of SPAM you had for breakfast, by themselves, gave you 46% of the fat, 56% of the saturated fat, 26% of the cholesterol and 64% of the sodium you need just for that day. We're not even including the SPAM musubi you might have at lunch or on your way home from work.
That two ounce slice of SPAM gives you only 7g of the protein, 1% of the calcium and Vitamin A and 3% of the iron you need. You'd have thought that a meat product would give you more protein than that, but SPAM is basically salt, fat and cholesterol in a can.
Certainly, Hormen Foods likes to tout itself as a customer-friendly business and SPAM is a good - even fun - product to include in your daily diet. Their website even has a Shop section where you can buy souvenir SPAM logo jackets, mugs, hats, etc.
But, another side of Hormel Foods isn't so friendly: in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), David Khorram, MD, a reporter for the Saipan Tribune.wrote an article on the ill effects related to the over-consupmtion of SPAM and Hormel Foods pressured the newspaper to remove the word "SPAM" from the article and replace it with "processed meat". Dr Khorram, who actually went to the hospital with severe abdominal pain after eating SPAM one day, posted this in response to Hormel's strongarm tactics.
Sales of SPAM are steady in the poorer communities of this country and sales are peaking in the bad economy as Americans struggle to save money while putting something resembling meat on the table. Personally, I don't eat SPAM anymore. I tried it a few months ago after years of not even tasting it. I suffered some stomach problems afterwards, though not nearly as bad as Dr Khorram's. I haven't eaten SPAM since that day, no matter how poor or hungry I was at the time. I guess SPAM is something that people need to accustom themselves to eating regularly. Kind of like smoking cigarettes, isn't it?
SPAM certainly does have the PR high ground, though. There are SPAM festivals and parades, people write songs about it and Hormel is making big bucks while shoveling-out this crap.
I'm Hawaiian and I am proud to be Hawaiian. I love my people and it breaks my heart to know that many of us are eating ourselves into an early grave and that there is little I can do to stop it, aside from posting this blog entry.
If you're still looking for a cheap canned meat product, I suggest you try TREET, made by Armour Star instead. I will grant that it's a tough call between TREET and SPAM, both having an advantage over the other in certain areas.
Here's TREET's info:
- Calories 150
- Calories from Fat 110
- Fat: 12g (18 % DV)
- Saturated Fat: 2.5g (18% DV)
- Cholesterol: 50mg (17% DV)
- Sodium: 790mg (33% DV)
If you decide to keep buying SPAM or switch over to TREET, you may want to have a look at Hawaii's 2nd Spam Cookbook (link provided). I'm sure that the recipes could work with either product. Might as well make it taste better than it does.