Pork: Good or Bad?

by in Healthy Tips, June 8, 2009

pork tenderloin
We stirred up some controversy recently when we included pork on our list of energy-boosting foods. Some of you questioned whether it was healthy or safe to eat. So you can make your own decision, we thought we’d share pork’s nutrition facts. Is it really the “other white meat”?

Trimming the Fat
If you’re looking for the healthiest pork options, you want lean cuts — tenderloin, loin chops and sirloin roast. Bacon and other fatty cuts are very high in artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol and not for everyday eating. Baked ham and lunch meat fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to fat and calories. Just like with other meats, pork is safe when cooked to the proper internal temperature (it’s 160F for pork).

Some folks are conscientious of the environmental impact of meats they eat. If that’s you, look for local and free-range purveyors of pork products — just like you would for chicken and beef. Local or free-range products may have a higher price tag, but you can offset the cost in other ways like committing to a meatless day once a week.

Nutrition Facts
Lean cuts of pork are high in protein, low in fat and have more B-vitamins (thiamin, niacin, B6 and B12) than many other types of meat. These vitamins play a role in a variety of body functions, including metabolism and energy production (that’s why we had it on our “energizing foods” list). For some perspective, let’s compare 3 ounces of cooked pork tenderloin to the same amount of cooked chicken breast — as you’ll see, they aren’t all that different:

Pork Tenderloin
Calories: 96 calories
Total Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 grams
Cholesterol: 48 milligrams
Protein: 18 grams
Iron 6%
Thiamin 45%
Niacin 30%
B6 27%
B12 6%

Pork also contains healthy doses of zinc and selenium.

Chicken Breast
Calories: 142 calories
Total Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 grams
Cholesterol: 73 milligrams
Protein: 27 grams
Iron 5%
Thiamin 4%
Niacin 59%
B6 26%
B12 5%

Chicken is also a good source of selenium.

Of course, what you choose to eat is always a personal decision. If you’re a pork fan, below is a collection of recipes you might want to try. If not, check out alternative meats like bison, which is also lean, or consider a more vegetarian-focused diet.

Pork recipes to try:

TELL US: Where do you stand on the pork debate?

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Comments (144)

  1. Kenny Grassi says:

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  2. billy says:

    i like prk

  3. mrsvator4u says:

    This is quite entertaining for the food network:)

  4. Danilo Fair says:

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  5. Occubyeduck says:


  6. gibby says:

    ok sooooooooooooooooooooooo idk i just wanted to post a comment so lets start with this………
    I LOVE PORK! YA! U HEARD ME RIGHT! i love pork, but to much, to much is a no no he he i usy baby language….ok back to normal so if u eat to much u can get sick! dat it ttyl

  7. Doctor L says:

    Its not my place to tell anyone what they should or should not do. I can however correctively tell you what was said from people with wisdom and knowledge. To tell someone to never mind those teachings is against all that is written. Will it cause you harm? They say that it will cause you the worst harm. More than 90% of people die from their caloric intake being more than their caloric burning causing eventual build up of arterial plaque which is the deadliest thing. Pigs don't care too much about that because they are not intelligent about physiology and don't live long either. Have you ever seen a fit pig or one that didn't think food was the most important thing. They don't even like playing, they would rather lie around and get fat. You are what you eat.

  8. Esteban says:

    There is absolutely no proof that fat in any animal is bad for you. In fact, there is no proof that we actually need to eat veggies! This idea that fat causes heart problems is wrong. The biggest problem in the standard American diet (SAD) is the carbs, vegetable oil and sugar.

  9. Eugene T. Bernascone says:

    It's very comforting to know that I'm not the only Freethinker around here. I gave up faith, god and religion years ago and my life has improved for the better. I believe in the real world, not some book of fairy tales. I know the religious nuts will say stupid things like god is going to punish me, I hate to burst your bubble but it's not going to happen since he does not exist. If he's so loving and caring, why does he preach going to hell and all that other garage?
    As for eating or not eating pork, it's a personal decision, not some commandment by a make believe crackpot in the sky.
    If some of you religious fanatics had any type of intelligence, you would know that eating anything in moderation will not harm you.
    As for me, I serve no masters.

  10. EatRight says:

    Eating appropriately is actually the cornerstone to a nutritious way of life. There are quite a few factors we simply cannot manage in regard to overall health — genetic disorders, environmental conditions — but all of us can control what we take in, which can support us fight disorder, improve vibrant stamina and more.

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