Pork: still a healthy choice, but no longer ‘the other white meat’

By Georgia Clark-Albert, Special to the BDN
Posted March 14, 2011, at 2:41 p.m.

Quick, what comes to mind when you hear “the other white meat”? Well, pork of course. The slogan, which has been used since 1987, was originally designed to help pork compete with poultry; and it worked. It helped pork overcome an image that it was fatty and has helped increase the ways in which pork is used in addition to boosting sales for about a decade. Pork sales totaled about $117 per person in 2010. Pork is the third most popular meat behind chicken and beef in the U.S. market. Pork consumption averages about 50 pounds per person per year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

All good things must come to an end. The catchy advertising slogan that worked for pork for so many years is about to be replaced with “Pork: Be Inspired.” The National Pork Board will continue to use its “Pork. The Other White Meat” marketing campaign for consumers to continue to remind them about the nutritional value of pork, but the new “Be Inspired” marketing campaign is designed to enhance consumer preference for pork items. The goal of The National Pork Board is to increase pork sales by 10 percent by 2014 and it believes the campaign, aimed at getting existing pork consumers to think about incorporating more pork into their meal planning, will do this.

Nutritionally, how does pork compare to other meats for fat and calories? Many cuts of pork are as lean or leaner than chicken. Pork tenderloin, for example, is just as lean as skinless chicken breast and meets the government guidelines for “extra lean.” In total six cuts of pork meet the USDA guidelines for “lean,” with less than 10 grams of fat per serving. A 3-ounce serving of pork tenderloin is an excellent source of protein, thiamine, vitamin B6, phosphorus and niacin and a good source of riboflavin, potassium and zinc. Use cuts with the words “loin” or “round” in their names for the leanest meats, such as pork tenderloin or beef round. Remove excess fat from meat before cooking — it can cut total fat content per serving in half.

Thanks to changes in the way pigs are raised, it is no longer necessary to cook pork until it is dry, gray and chewy to prevent illnesses once associated with consuming undercooked pork.  Use a meat thermometer to cook pork to 160 degrees. It will be moist and savory as well as safe to serve your family.

As with all foods, portion size is the key to keeping the calorie count of your meat serving down. A 3-ounce size serving of cooked meat is about the size and thickness of a deck of playing cards or about the size of the palm of a woman’s hand.

Fat and calorie content of lean meats per three-ounce serving

Meat                                                     Calories          Total Fat (g)

Skinless chicken breast                   139                  3.1

Skinless chicken leg                       162                    7.1

Skinless chicken thigh                   177                9.3

Pork tenderloin                                120                 3.0

Pork boneless top loin chop         173                 5.2

Pork top loin roast                         147                5.3

Pork center loin chop                   153                6.2

Pork sirloin roast                           173                8.0

Pork rib chop                                   158                7.1

Beef eye of round                            141                4.0

Beef top round                                169                4.3

Beef tip round                                149                5.0

Beef top sirloin                            162                8.0

Beef top loin                                  168                7.1

Beef tenderloin                            175                8.1

BALSAMIC PORK CHOPS

Ingredients: 8 boneless pork chops (3/4-inch thick), 12 ounces balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Place chops in large, resealable bag, pour dressing over.  Seal bag and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. Remove chops from marinade and pat dry. Discard remaining marinade. Grill chops directly over heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning once until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Serve with brown rice, steamed peas and applesauce.

Nutrition facts per chop: 174 calories, 27g protein, 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 210g sodium, 80mg. cholesterol, 6g carb

Georgia Clark-Albert is a registered dietitian who lives in Athens, Maine. Read more of her columns and post questions at bangordailynews.com or e-mail her at GeorgiaMaineMSRDCDE@gmail.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/03/14/health/pork-still-a-healthy-choice-but-no-longer-%e2%80%98the-other-white-meat%e2%80%99/ printed on December 21, 2014