A diet rich in protein can help you feel full and give you the energy you need to get through your day without cravings for unnecessary snacks or other foods that might derail your diet and weight loss goals.
However, which form of protein will help you feel better—beef or pork?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including your health history, lifestyle choices, and willingness to make sacrifices to achieve your health goals.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of pork vs beef so you can make an informed decision about which type of protein would be best for you personally.
Pork has more than twice as much fat as beef per serving (3 grams vs. 1.5). Pork also has more cholesterol than beef (105 mg vs 79 mg).
Pork does contain more folate than beef (1 mcg vs 0 mcg), but not enough to compensate for all these differences in nutrients between pork and beef.
A person who has liver damage should not consume beef because it may worsen their condition; however, no such risk exists with pork consumption.
Beef is a popular meat for a lot of people when they go to the grocery store but what are the differences between beef and pork. And let’s focus on a more budget-friendly variety of both not just on the typically more expensive lean ground pork or lean beef.
Because the packets most of us are buying do have a few more grams of fat than the more expensive lower fat ground beef.
By the end of this article, you will know the best type of meat for you and even touch on if you need to get your protein from animal products.
One serving of lean ground beef is high in protein, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, potassium, and vitamin B6.
Low in sodium.
Beef is also a good source of phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin, and selenium.
As a high-quality source of protein, beef can contribute to overall health by helping build lean muscle mass.
It’s also a great source if you’re looking for an alternative to red meat.
If you like beef but want a different taste than steak or roast, consider grass-fed ground beef or hamburger.
Grass-fed beef often has more nutrients than conventional ground beef because it doesn’t contain added hormones or other chemicals that are sometimes used on cattle feedlots.
Beef contains unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol.
When prepared, it has a high chance of being undercooked, increasing your risk for foodborne illness.
Overconsumption is also linked to increased cancer risk.
If you do choose beef, make sure to avoid processed or cured beef products such as hot dogs or deli meats.
You should also stick with lean cuts only, such as flank steak or round steak.
Pork is a good source of protein, iron, zinc, selenium, niacin, phosphorus, B vitamins including folate.
It contains no dietary cholesterol. A 3-ounce serving supplies about 20 grams of protein.
It is an excellent source of selenium and a good source of riboflavin as well as zinc.
These minerals are essential for normal growth and development.
Three ounces provide about a third to half of the daily needs for these nutrients.
Pork is also an excellent source of niacin.
This vitamin can help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels when you eat it in place of foods high in saturated fat such as red meat and whole-milk dairy products.
However, care should be taken to minimize intake since excess amounts may lead to nausea and vomiting in some people.
Pork has a higher amount of saturated fat than beef, so it can raise your cholesterol levels when consumed in large amounts.
Saturated fat also raises your risk for heart disease.
Even lean pork should be limited due to its cholesterol content. In addition, pork is high in sodium which may lead to high blood pressure (hypertension).
Research suggests that people who eat red meat frequently are at an increased risk for colorectal cancer.
Also, unlike beef, pork is not a complete protein.
Protein is necessary for the growth and repair of cells in your body, but only certain foods contain all of the essential amino acids needed for healthy human function.
While some animal proteins are complete, including pork and beef, others lack one or more essential amino acids, including legumes (beans), soy products (including tofu), seafood (shrimp), and quinoa.
There are added health benefits of meat-free protein sources, you can read about them here.
Different types of meat differ in fat, amount of protein, and calories. However, some meats are higher in protein than others.
According to Harvard Health Publications, three ounces of lean ground beef sirloin has 20 grams (g) of protein.
A four-ounce serving of pork tenderloin has 24 g. An eight-ounce chicken breast has 35 g.
In addition, many people prefer beef over pork because it is lower in saturated fat.
Saturated fats can raise your cholesterol level.
But according to Harvard Health Publications, eating lean cuts of red meat several times per week is not associated with an increased risk for heart disease or stroke when you eat other healthful foods like fruits and vegetables daily and don’t exceed about two drinks per day of alcohol.
The fattier parts of beef include beef ribs, brisket, rib-eye steak, and ground beef burger patties.
The fattiest cut of pork is bacon.
When choosing pork chops or loin cutlets, look for the least fattiest cuts such as center loin chops; avoid buying chops of shoulder meat where there tend to be more marbling and fat deposits.
This one is tough.
While ground beef tends to be lower in calories and saturated fat, it’s also higher in cholesterol (which can negatively impact your heart health).
When it comes to ground pork, however, things get complicated:
It’s a bit higher in cholesterol than beef but also offers high amounts of vitamin B12—an essential nutrient for red blood cell production.
So which is better?
It really depends on your dietary needs.
If you have existing heart issues or are worried about developing them later in life, stick with beef.
Otherwise, go with pork if you have trouble getting enough B12 through other means (such as fish or dairy products).
If neither sounds great to you, consider switching up your protein sources regularly.
Just make sure you limit yourself to three to four ounces per day if you’re watching your weight; too much lean meat will quickly add up calories and leave you feeling less satisfied from meal to meal.
For those looking to gain weight, by contrast, more protein can help fill you up while supporting muscle growth.
But beforee upping your intake to bodybuilder levels, talk with your doctor first!
Chicken, turkey, and other forms of poultry are excellent sources of protein and have a lot less fat than red meat.
If you’re trying to lose weight or avoid fatty meats like pork, beef, or lamb, white meat is your best option.
It’s also a healthier alternative for people who already struggle with high cholesterol.
In addition to being lower in fat and calories, chicken has less saturated fat than almost any other type of animal protein.
There aren’t many studies on how white meat affects humans over time, but even if it were as bad as red meat—which there isn’t really proving that it is—it wouldn’t likely be worse enough to undo all its beneficial qualities.
Whether you want to lose weight or just eat better, opt for leaner cuts of chicken and turkey (or go vegetarian altogether) instead of fatty options like beef and pork.
Contrary to what many people think, pork is not necessarily more unhealthy than beef.
While it’s true that red meat has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers and heart disease, these same dangers are associated with eating other protein sources like pork or chicken.
In fact, research suggests that eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables may help offset some of those risks!
A healthy diet consists mostly of whole foods (like fruits, veggies, legumes, fish) along with small amounts of lean meats like pork or chicken.
No one food can be blamed for causing cancer; if you have concerns about your overall health, talk to your doctor about a balanced diet for you and your family.
But when it comes to ground your best bet is probably ground chicken,
Chicken is one of the most versatile meats and typically comes in under 5 percent fat.
So, avoid the higher fat content in most beef or pork mince and go with chicken or turkey, both are an excellent source of protein.
Processed meats, including hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and deli meat are a far cry from real meat they are meat products.
The average hot dog contains so many chemicals that it’s hard to call it even meat, these products can have a major impact on your health.
What’s more, is that processed meats like these can increase your risk for certain cancers—including colon cancer.
Beyond that, there have been correlations between processed meats and heart disease.
Regardless of what you may have thought about them in the past, do yourself a favor: stay away from processed meat!
Processed meats are, in essence, not real meat.
These foods contain many additives that you wouldn’t normally find in an unprocessed cut of beef or pork. Additives used to make processed meats include preservatives such as sodium nitrate, MSG, and sulfur dioxide.
So make the healthier choice and keep the health of your heart as your main focus. The best choice is to not eat processed meats.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a good idea to go lean with your protein sources.
Lean cuts of beef are a great choice because they’re rich in nutrients like zinc, which helps boost your metabolism and keep you feeling energized throughout the day.
You can also opt for lean pork if that’s more in line with your dietary preferences—just make sure to trim off any visible fat before cooking.
Eating lean meat is a simple way to cut calories without feeling deprived.
For example, one 4-ounce serving of trimmed sirloin contains 159 calories.
If you’re looking to lose weight, it can be helpful to reduce your intake of high-fat meats.
Consider supplementing your protein with beans, lentils, nuts, tofu, or other alternatives.
If you’re choosing between beef and pork, go for chicken over red meat when possible; in some cases, fish is also a better alternative than red meat.
Be careful not to overdo it on any alternative proteins—too much can cause nausea or an upset stomach.
And don’t forget, lean sources of protein contain fewer calories too.
A 3-ounce serving of roasted salmon has 124 calories while 4 ounces of beef tenderloin tips has 188 calories.
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