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This is because the tracking pixel is still included in the email even with no other "pictures" deliberately embedded. I'm not convinced that the email becomes spammy because of this, though, provided the rest of the email stands alone: many legit person-to-person emails have an image in the signature. In fact the majority of B2B emails I get have an (ill-advised, but innocent) logo attached to them.
Someone will probably chime in about whether it has become possible to turn off the pixel. Last I remember it wasn't possible, unfortunately.
Keep in mind that you are still sending an "HTML" email and Sandford's right that Marketo will add the pixel.
So if you really want text only, check that box on Email Settings when you edit or create it.
They are correct. And if you are sending an HTML email, there's nothin you can do to override the user's email client settings that may be "always show warning for images in messages." That is a email client setting that is out of your control.