Ham is more fattening than turkey.
Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
While the main factor affecting how much weight you lose is how many calories you consume, the food that is lowest in calories isn't always necessarily the best option. Some foods are more filling than others, and opting for these foods can help make it easier for you to stick to your diet and ultimately lose more weight. Taking both of these things into consideration will help you choose the best diet foods, including whether turkey or ham is the better option.
Whether ham or turkey is lower in calories depends on which type of turkey you prefer. A 3-ounce serving of light meat turkey contains about 125 calories, making it lower in calories than the same-sized serving of ham, which provides 139 calories. However, if you prefer dark meat turkey, you'll be consuming 147 calories per serving.
Foods that are lower in energy density allow you to eat more of them while consuming fewer calories, so you are less likely to feel hungry while on your diet. It is the volume of food you eat rather than the amount of calories that determines how full you feel. The three options are pretty similar in energy density. Light meat turkey is still your best option, since it contains 1.5 calories per gram, followed by ham with 1.6 calories per gram and dark meat turkey with 1.7 calories per gram.
Protein tends to be more filling than either carbohydrates or fat, and provides amino acids you need to nourish lean muscles. A serving of light meat turkey provides 25.6 grams of protein, making it the highest in protein out of the three options. Dark meat turkey isn't far behind, with 23.6 grams of protein per serving, but a serving of ham only contains 14.1 grams of this filling macronutrient.
It can be hard to meet the recommended intake for vitamins and minerals while you are on a diet, so you may want to consider micronutrient content as well when determining whether turkey or ham is the better option for your diet. Ham is the clear loser when it comes to micronutrient content, although it is the highest in thiamine with 35 percent of the DV. Light-meat and dark-meat turkey are both excellent sources of micronutrients, with light turkey containing more phosphorus, niacin and vitamin B-6 but dark turkey containing more zinc, riboflavin and vitamin B-12.