The National Pork Board reminds Americans that meat, including pork, is a nutrient-dense food that is not over consumed on average in America. More than 60 percent of the U.S. population is consuming the Protein Food Group at or below recommended intake levels.1
Scientific evidence shows that eating lean, high-quality protein like pork can help people lose or maintain weight by contributing to feeling full and by preserving lean muscle.2,3,4,5,6 Americans can enjoy six cuts of pork that have less fat than a skinless chicken thigh.7 In fact, the popular pork tenderloin has the same amount of fat as a skinless chicken breast. Ideally Americans will seek information from their health professional or registered dietitian to choose lean cuts of meat such as pork. A lean meat for labeling purposes is defined as a meat with less than 10 grams of total fat and 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat.
Meats, including pork, offer a greater percentage of high “nutrient density value” compared to all other protein sources, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.8 A 3-ounce serving of lean pork provides about the same amount of protein as 1.5 cups of black beans, but with 21% fewer calories.7 Research demonstrates that pork can increase dietary variety without adversely affecting total fat or saturated fat intake.9
On the important subject of sustainability, pork production’s carbon footprint is a small fraction (0.35%) of total U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.10 Compared with 50 years ago, farmers are now using less land (78 percent) and water (41 percent) per pound of pork produced.
2 Leidy H, Bossingham M, Mattes R, Campbell W. Increased dietary protein consumed at breakfast leads to an initial and sustained feeling of fullness during energy restriction compared to other meal times. Brit J Nutr. 2008; short communication published online.
3 Paddon-Jones D, et al. Protein, weight management, and satiety. AJCN. 2008;87:1558S-1561S.
4 Leidy H, Armstrong C, Tang M, Mattes R, Campbell W. The influence of higher protein intake and greater eating frequency on appetite control in overweight and obese men. Obesity.2010;18:1725-1732.
5 Aubertin-Leheudre M, Adlercreutz H. Relationship between animal protein intake and muscle mass index in healthy women. Brit J Nutr. 2009;102:1803-1810.
6 Leidy H, Tang M, Armstrong C, Martin C, Campbell W. The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. Obesity.2011;19:818-824.
7 U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, SR27.
8 Drewnowski A. Concept of a nutritious food: toward a nutrient density score. AJCN. 2005;82:721-723.
9 Murphy MM, Spungen JH, Bi X, Barraj LM. Fresh and fresh lean pork are substantial sources of key nutrients when these products are consumed by adults in the United States. Nutrition Research. 2011;31:776-783.
10 A 50-year comparison of the carbon footprint and resource use of the U.S. swine herd: 1959-2009. 2012.