SPAM Linked to Diabetes
University of Washington researchers conducted a study of Native Americans and their consumption of the processed meat called SPAM. Of the total number of study subjects, the group that consumed the most SPAM had a 63 percent greater type 2 diabetes risk than the group consuming the least amount. One serving of SPAM (Spiced Ham) has fifteen grams of fat, and six of those are saturated fat. Also there are 767 milligrams of sodium, according to nutritiondata.com. The ingredients are pork and ham, mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, modified potato starch, sugar, sodium phosphates, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrite. A fairly recent Harvard study of processed meat consumption, also found an increased risk of diabetes.
SPAM has been made and sold for over 70 years. By 1970, two billion cans had been sold. Over 100 million cans are sold each year. Oddly, Hormel touts the fact that Hawaii is a great consumer of SPAM, but obesity in Hawaii is harming the health of many people there. According to the Office of Minority Health, in the period from 2005-2007 over 63 percent of Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders were overweight or obese. For males in that population, the rate was 72 percent.
So why are some indigenous peoples eating SPAM? Low cost – one 12-ounce can of the processed meat can be purchased for about $3.50, sometimes even in the two dollar range, depending on the store and if there is a discount.
Also potentially problematic are the cooking instructions, which say to fry the processed meat, but that is likely to add more fat due to the use of cooking oil or lard. If people refuse to stop eating it, steaming is a way of cooking that does not add additional fat.
Image Credit: Matthew W. Jackson/ Wiki Commons