Good and Good for YOU: Heart Healthy Diets with Lean Pork

Good and Good for YOU: Heart Healthy Diets with Lean Pork

January 17, 2018
Retail Industry Insights

Consumers may become interested in the DASH diet from the recent ranking by US News and World Report as number one in best diets overall and best diets for healthy eating.  With consumer interest will also come opportunities for the retail dietitian to guide healthy food choices including lean meat choices. Recommendations to consume lean meat often are misinterpreted to favor poultry and not include lean pork. Research found that including lean pork instead of the typical chicken and fish in the DASH diet resulted in the same reduction in blood pressure. Many Americans enjoy red meat, so the recommendation to limit it in a traditional DASH plan could be a barrier to those considering the diet. New advice to swap in lean pork may help more people enjoy this healthy eating plan. In the study, overweight or obese adults with elevated blood pressure were randomly assigned to follow the DASH diet for two six week periods with either chicken and fish, or lean pork as the major protein source. Regardless of which they ate, systolic blood pressure decreased around 7 or 8 points and diastolic around 4 to 5 points after six weeks, based on a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.1

Consumers are searching for an easily identifiable healthy choice, but a healthy choice does not always supersede their desire for affordability and convenience. To meet the consumer desire for a convenient, easy to prepare, economical and healthy choice of a lean meat, consider the promotion of the pork tenderloin in your meat department.  The pork tenderloin not only meets the criteria as an acceptable DASH diet protein it is also an affordable and heart-healthy food receiving the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check certification.  This simple icon delivers results by giving consumers a way to easily identify products as heart healthy foods.  Look to promote this healthy icon on your pork tenderloin packaging.  

Even though the revised cooking temperature of fresh pork was approved by USDA in 2011, the message still needs reinforcement due to consumers overcooking the product which can yield an inconsistent eating experience. Remind your customers the safe internal cooking temperature for fresh pork cuts is 145° F with a three-minute rest. This results in a slightly pink center.

There are eight lean cuts of pork with less than 10 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat and 95 mg cholesterol per 100 g of meat. Pork tenderloin is the leanest with only 3 g of fat per 3-ounce cooked serving and is comparable to skinless chicken breast.  Lean pork can be prepared for a meal in 30 minutes or less. This meets the demand for your consumer’s convenient, quick meal.  With many flavor profile options of pork tenderloins, the consumer needs no recipe, or the consumer can customize with their own flavors. It can be incorporated into a cook once, eat twice concept with leftover meat becoming a delicious sandwich or protein for a salad.  Help your consumer meal plan for the week using pork recipes.

1Sayer RD, Wright AJ, Chen N, Campbell WW. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet retains effectiveness to reduce blood pressure when lean pork is substituted for chicken and fish as the predominant source of protein. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015;102:302-8.