Through changes in feeding and breeding techniques, pork producers have responded to consumer demand for leaner pork. Today’s pork has 16% less fat and 27% less saturated fat as compared to 1991. Many cuts of pork are now as lean as skinless chicken. The cuts below meet the guidelines for “lean” (less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g sat fat and 95 mg cholesterol). Pork tenderloin meets the guidelines for “extra lean” (less than 5 g fat, 2 grams of sat fat and 95 mg cholesterol).The USDA has analyzed pork for trans-fatty acids. The results confirm that pork contains no artery-clogging trans-fat.
Trimmed pork tenderloin and skinless chicken breast have the same amount of total fat content. In addition, six cuts of pork in the chart have total fat content between the skinless chicken breast and skinless chicken thigh.
How much fat should I be eating?
For your good health, the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming 20-35% of calories as fat and less than 10% of calories as saturated fat by selecting foods that are lean or low-fat. The guidelines for cholesterol are no more than 300 milligrams per day. Pork easily fits into a balanced eating plan as suggested by the Dietary Guidelines. Lean pork not only provides a host of vitamins and minerals, but has fat and saturated fat levels equivalent to skinless chicken.
Fat Intake Guidelines
|Calories||Saturated Fat (10% of calories)|
|1,600 (many sedentary women)||17 grams|
|2,200 (active women, many sedentary men)||24 grams|
|2,800 (many active men, some very active women)||31 grams|
Can I cut fat and still keep great taste?
Preparing healthy meals that feature pork starts at the supermarket and ends at the table. The following checklist will help you achieve the results you want:
Get a lean start
- Use cuts with the words “loin” or “round” in their name for the leanest meats, such as pork tenderloin or loin chop.
- Cuts with minimal visible fat are the leanest.
Develop an eye for size
- Portion control is key to reaching and maintaining a healthful weight.
- Follow the MyPyramid guidelines and eat 5 to 7 ounces (for adults) from the meat group each day, depending on your calorie needs.
- A 3-ounce serving of trimmed, cooked meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
Skim and trim
- Remove excess fat prior to cooking – it can cut total fat content per serving in half.
- Skim fat from pan juices after pan-broiling.
Cook it light
- Use low-fat cooking methods, like grilling, broiling, stir-frying and pan-broiling to maximize flavor while keeping added fat to a minimum.
- Broil, grill or roast on a rack, so natural fat from meat drips away.
- Cook thin cuts of meat quickly, with little or no fat, by pan-broiling or “dry sautéing” in a non-stick skillet with a little juice or broth.
- Add stock, wine or fruit juice to the skillet after meat is removed; heat and stir; then use as a low-fat sauce or glaze.
- Stir-fry with vegetable cooking spray or a small amount of flavored oil.
- Marinate for flavor and juiciness, with juice, wine-flavored vinegar or fat-free dressing instead of oil-based marinades.
Spice for life
- Season meats with herbs and spices (other than salt) to boost flavor and cut back on fat and salt at the same time. Rub herbs and spices onto pork before grilling, broiling or roasting.
- Experiment with different seasonings to discover exciting new ways to enjoy healthful eating.
S-T-R-E-T-C-H flavorful, higher-fat ingredients
- Use favorite foods like sharp cheeses and herb-flavored oils to flavor your dishes, but cut the amount in half.
- Use low-fat cheeses or whipped or reduced-fat butter.
Lighten-up on the ladle
- To get the most benefit from the vegetables you’re eating, use less of a regular salad dressing, or use a fat-free variety or herb-flavored vinegar instead.
- Choose cream-based sauces and gravies less often than sauces made with skim milk or fat-free broth.