Is Ham Keto Friendly?

Is Ham Keto Friendly?

May 30, 2024 3 min read

Is Ham Keto Friendly? 

The  ketogenic diet macros require a dieter to consume 70-80% of their daily calories from fat, 10-20% from protein, and only 5-10% from carbohydrates. At first glance, beginner keto dieters think keto simply boils down to eating more meat and fewer carbs. While that’s the gist of the diet regime, you still have to be selective about the type of meat you consume.

While beef jerky, pork, chicken, or turkey are all suitable for keto, many varieties of this diet exist. Not all types of meat are equal—some are 100% keto-friendly, while others are not. In this article, we’re pointing the spotlight on ham. Can you eat it while on keto? 

Is Ham Keto?

The short answer that keto practitioners will give to this question is, “Yes, ham is keto-friendly.” In its natural state, ham is high in fat and protein while having virtually zero carbs. But there’s a catch. According to keto experts and nutritionists, ham is only keto-friendly when not cured.

It all comes down to how it’s prepared. 

Ham is commonly cured or glazed to enhance its flavor. Some varieties are cured in honey, while others are glazed in brown sugar. While ham, in its base form, contains no carbohydrates, the added sugar in the preparation process racks up the carb content. 

And it’s not just by a few trace carbs either. Keto experts say that the carb content of added sugars in ham can easily throw you out of ketosis if you don’t watch your consumption. 

How Many Carbs in a Ham?

In its natural state, a slice of non-cured and non-glazed ham contains only  1.02 grams of carbohydrates. Keto practitioners say this amount is inconsequential, allowing you to eat plain ham while on keto. 

It’s a whole different story if the ham was prepared with added sugars. 1.9 ounces of honey-cured ham have a carb content of  3.9 grams, while glazed ham has an even higher carb content. 

Ham Nutrition Information

Keto dieters say they can add ham into their meals, provided they only consume plain, regular ham without added sugars. It’s a good source of fat, protein, and micronutrients. A serving of  sliced, regular ham (about 56 grams) contains: 

  • 91.8 calories
  • 4.93 grams of fat
  • 9.3 grams of protein 
  • 2.03 grams of carbohydrates
  • 13.4 mg of calcium
  • 0.571 mg of iron
  • 12.3 mg of magnesium 
  • 85.7 mg of phosphorus 
  • 161 mg of potassium
  • 0.756 mg of zinc
  • 0.05 mg of copper 
  • 0.312 mg of manganese
  • 11.6 µg of selenium
  • 2.24 mg of vitamin C

Keto-Friendly Ham Alternatives

Sure, eating ham every day sounds like heaven. But nutritionists warn about certain health risks associated with overconsumption of ham. Some types of ham have been cured with artificial preservatives and contain nitrites and nitrates, which are  not healthy for your body over time. Ham is also  high in sodium. Nutritionists recommend eating ham only in moderation. 

Luckily, there are several alternatives you can use to switch up your fat and protein sources. Keto dieters love the following options: 

  • Bacon: 53.7 calories, 4 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and 0.2 grams of carbs per slice. 
  • Pepperoni: 9.2 calories, 0.78 grams of fat, 0.42 grams of protein, and 0 grams of carbs per slice. 
  • Salami: 37 calories, 3.1 grams of fat, 2.1 grams of protein, and 0.1 grams of carbs per slice. 
  • Sausage: 210 calories, 19 grams of fat, 8.1 grams of protein, and 0.6 grams of carbs per link. 


Keto experts also say you can most definitely add ham to your keto meals.

Just keep in mind that if you want to consume ham while on keto, try opting for plain ham—not cured or glazed with added sugars. This ensures you don’t exceed your daily carb allowance and can keep your body in ketosis. 

Is Ham Keto Friendly: Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of ham can I have on keto?

When following the keto diet, only consume plain, uncured, and unglazed ham to avoid added sugars and carbohydrates. Traditional sliced deli ham is a good option, as it’s completely free of carbohydrates. 

Will ham take me out of ketosis?

Ham, in its natural state, will not kick you out of ketosis because it’s virtually carb-free. However, cured or glazed ham, prepared with added sugars like honey or brown sugar, will most definitely interfere with your keto diet if consumption is not watched.