Pork, Part of a Healthy Diet
Following a healthy and well-balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to achieve and maintain overall health. Luckily, many cuts of pork are lean and can be part of your healthy diet, even if you are trying to eat "heart smart", manage diabetes, lose weight or just generally eat well.
Research has shown the benefits of eating adequate amounts of lean protein in your diet include stabilizing blood sugar, increasing satiety (the feeling of fullness after eating), and maintaining lean muscle mass even if losing body weight. The fat in pork is tran-fat free and mostly mono-and poly-unsaturated, so trimmed pork is suitable for even cholesterol-lowering or "heart-healthy" diets.
Lean pork, when trimmed of visible fat, is nutrient-dense, satisfying, and good for you.
Which cuts of pork are leanest*?
- Pork tenderloin
- Pork chops and pork steaks
- Pork roasts
- Pork leg (or ham)
- Pork cutlets/Pork Scaloppini
*Per 100 gram (cooked) serving, trimmed. Source: Canadian Nutrient File, 2007b
Keep pork lean with these easy tips:
- Trim all visible fat from meat before cooking
- Bake, broil, BBQ or microwave foods more often
- Use less added fats such as butter, oil, salad dressings or sauces
- Eat less fried or deep fried foods
- When choosing luncheon meats, sausages or prepackaged meats, choose those lower in salt
Pork and Canada's Food Guide
Canada's Food Guide directs you to a healthy, nutrient-rich pattern of eating, with appropriate portion sizes for your age and gender. The Food Guide recommends eating one to three servings of Meat & Alternatives each day, selecting portion sizes of 75 g (2-1/2 oz) per serving. Since lean pork contains protein, energy and 10 essential vitamins and minerals, it is a tasty and easy way to get a compact source of good nutrition - every bite is a "powerhouse" of nutrition. Balance your food intake with daily physical activity, and you're on your way to a healthy lifestyle.
Keep Your Dinner Portions in Check and include 3 to 4 food groups at each meal: a vegetable, a grain, a meat and a dairy (or their alternatives).
1 cup 1% milk = 1 Milk & Alternatives
100g pork loin = 1 & 1/4 Meat & Alternatives
6 spears asparagus = 1 Vegetables & Fruit
1 cup brown rice = 2 Grain Products
1 cup salad = 1 Vegetables & Fruit
Health Check™ program
Since 1999, Canadian pork has been a proud participant in the Health Check™ food information program. All fresh cuts of pork, when trimmed of visible fat (with the exception of pork ribs) meet the Health Check criteria for "extra lean". That means that most of your favourite pork cuts, including pork tenderloin, pork chops and steaks, pork roasts, pork leg, and pork cutlets can carry the Health Check symbol. This symbol makes it easy to identify healthy food choices when grocery shopping.
For more information about what criteria specific foods must meet to earn a "Health Check" symbol download the Health Check Nutritent Criteria (PDF Format)
Pork produced in Canada is top-quality, safe and delicious. Canadian pork producers are committed to providing a safe, quality product to consumers. In 1998, Canadian Quality Assurance® (CQA®) was launched to the industry to help ensure on-farm food safety.
Fresh Canadian pork is available just about everywhere - from the meat counter at your favourite grocery store or butcher shop, from farmers' markets and from farms that sell direct. Be aware, however, that pork in grocery stores may be imported. Look for the "Canadian Pork" label on pork products at participating stores. If the fresh pork isn't labeled, be sure to ask where it comes from. Insisting on "choosing Canadian" helps support the Canadian economy and local agriculture.