Spam Lite Vs Spam: What’s The Difference?

Spam has been a quick and easy meal solution for decades. However, like other processed meats, there are concerns about how healthy it is, thus the creation of Spam Lite. But what are the differences between the two? Let's take a look below.

Spam Lite has 33% fewer calories, 50% less fat, and 25% less sodium than Spam Classic. Spam Lite also has 9 grams of protein, whereas Spam Classic has 7 grams. However, Spam Lite has more preservatives than Spam Classic.

Understanding what's in the Spam varieties will help you make an informed buying decision. In this article, we will take a closer look at the main differences between Spam Lite and Spam Classic. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about Spam, so read on!

Is Spam Lite Healthier Than Spam Classic?

Spam has captured the taste buds of many since its first debut in 1937. The enticing part about Spam is that it's affordable, ready to eat, and can be stored for years.

However, Spam isn't the healthiest food product that you can put into your body. Spam is a mix of pork and ham but has several preservatives, nitrates, and fillers.

In addition, Spam is high in fat and sodium, which can cause health problems if consumed in excess. Due to many turning to focus on their diet and health, Spam Lite was created as a healthier alternative.

But what is the difference between the two? Is Spam Lite healthier? Well, when you compare the two cans side-by-side, you will see there are significant differences.

Spam Lite has 2 grams more protein per serving and 33% fewer calories, 50% less fat, and 25% less sodium than Spam Classic. When looking at this on paper, you can see how this can be intriguing for die-hard Spam fans.

However, the extra preservatives in Spam Lite aren't displayed on the nutritional values. Spam Classic consists of pork, ham, salt, water, modified potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrite.

Spam Lite, on the other hand, has those same ingredients but also has mechanically separated chicken, sodium phosphates, potassium chloride, and sodium ascorbate.

While it's only four more ingredients, those aren't beneficial to your health. With that, it's tough to say if one is healthier than the other.

Choosing between Spam Lite or Spam Classic is similar to drinking Coca-Cola or Coke Zero. Classic Coca-Cola contains a lot of sugar, whereas Coke Zero contains none but has a lot of artificial sweeteners.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what you believe is best for your body.

Man holding a small can of Spam lite.

How Many Different Flavors Of Spam Are There?

If you enjoy Spam Classic or Spam Lite, then you may be interested in trying one of the other flavors. In total, there are 12 Spam flavors to choose from. Let's take a look at each one below:

Spam Classic

The original is the Spam Classic and has a slightly spicy flavor that is loved by many. You will see Spam Classic in most grocery stores and recipes that call for Spam. It pairs well with breakfast items such as eggs, hashbrowns, and toast.

However, you can put Spam Classic on just about anything that calls for a meat protein.

Spam Lite

As mentioned, Spam Lite is the "healthier" version of the Spam Classic. However, it does have mechanically separated chicken in it, so the taste may vary from the Spam Classic.

Spam Less Sodium

This is Spam Classic with 25% less sodium, so it may have a less salty taste than the original. However, it does have the same amount of fat and preservatives as the original.

Spam With Bacon

If you crave breakfast foods day and night, then you might enjoy the Spam with Bacon. In addition to pork with ham, this canned meat also has cured bacon and rendered bacon fat in it. This Spam flavor would go great in a breakfast casserole, sandwich, or burrito.

Spam Oven Roasted Turkey

Interested in trying "Spurkey" (Spam and turkey)? The Spam Oven Roasted Turkey doesn't contain any pork or ham and is 100% white lean turkey. On paper, it is one of the healthiest Spam flavors you can buy.

Spam Oven Roasted Turkey has only 4 grams of fat, whereas Spam Classic has 16 grams. When grilled, it can pair well with mashed potatoes, gravy, and corn.

Hormel Foods, LLC the producer of SPAM, now has added Oven Roasted Turkey to their line up of canned meat products.

Spam Hickory Smoke

The only difference between the Spam Classic and Spam Hickory Smoke is the smoky flavor. It also has the same nutritional facts but would make tasty sliders with coleslaw.

Spam Hot & Spicy

According to Spam, if pigs solely lived off of hot peppers, then you would get the Spam Hot & Spicy flavor. It has the same salty pork taste but with a kick.

If you like spicy red peppers, then it would go well in pineapple fried rice. In fact, they can label showcases fried rice, so it must be a popular recipe.

Spam Jalapeno

If you thinking about having fiesta night, then consider buying Spam Jalapeno. The only difference between it and the Spam Classic is the added jalapeno peppers.

It would be great in fajitas, burritos, or burrito bowls with a cold cerveza.

Spam Teriyaki

One of the most popular dishes to make with Spam is musubi. Musubi is a popular Hawaiian dish that consists of a block of rice, spam, and then wrapped in nori (seaweed). If you want to make this dish at home, then it wouldn't be complete without the Spam Teriyaki flavor.

Spam Tocino

While the word tocino stems from the Spanish word meaning bacon, in the Philippines, it refers to sweet cured meat. When you look at the ingredients on Spam Tocino, you won't see any added bacon flavor, but you will get a different sweet flavor that isn't apparent in the other Spam flavors.

If you want to make a Filipino dish, then buy Spam Tocino and have it with white rice and over easy eggs!

Photo of freshly cooked Filipino food called Spamsilog or slices of spam, egg and fried rice.

What Is The Shelf Life of Spam?

While all Spam flavors can last several years, there is a limit on the quality of freshness. On the bottom of every Spam can, you will find a "best by" date. The "best by" date is when the product should be eaten by for the freshest flavor.

However, that doesn't mean you can't eat it after the date; it just may not taste as good. If you plan on buying Spam in bulk for long-term storage, then store it in a cool, dark place.

When it's time to open a can of Spam that has been in storage for several years, be sure to check the can for any damage. If you notice any leaks or dents, then there is a risk of spoilage.

Always check for common signs of spoilage, such as foul smells, mold growth, or discoloration. If you notice any of these, then play it safe and toss it in the garbage.

How Long Does Spam Last In The Fridge?

Man holding a small can of Spam lite, Spam Lite Vs Spam What's The Difference

Once Spam is opened, it should be refrigerated, or it will spoil. The general rule of thumb is after sitting out for two hours; bacteria will start to grow. To avoid bacteria growth, take Spam out of its can and put it in an airtight container, and place it in the fridge.

Once in the fridge, Spam should last up to a week before it needs to be tossed. You can also choose to freeze Spam if you want to extend its shelf life. When it's time to use, take the Spam out of the freezer and put it in the fridge overnight to thaw.

If you aren't sure what to do with leftover Spam, you can take a look at the recipe page on the Spam website. It won't take you long to find a quick and easy recipe that you can make with ingredients on hand.

Luncheon meat sliced on dish

Why Is Spam So Popular In Hawaii?

As mentioned, Spam is a popular food choice in Hawaii. You may think that's odd, but there is a reason for it.

During World War II, Spam was delivered to the soldiers stationed in Hawaii. After the war, Spam was adopted as a staple food in Hawaii, and one of the main dishes was fried spam and rice.

Other Hawaiian recipes were created with Spam, such as musubi and Spam fried wontons.

Final Thoughts

While the ingredients in Spam can be questionable, there is no doubt that the product is a quick and easy food to prepare. Whether it's Spam Lite, Spam Classic, or one of the other flavors, you can whip up a meal for a family of five in a flash.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might enjoy:

Is Canned Chicken Always Pre-Cooked?

Do You Have To Cook Canned Black Beans?

How To Keep Corn From Turning Brown When Canning

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