Are Pork Chops Good For You?
Flavorful, affordable, and quick to prepare, pork chops are a go-to meal for weeknight dinners or Saturday afternoons by the grill. Add in their affordability, and it’s no wonder they’re a staple in the kitchens of many American families.
While there’s no denying they’re satisfying and delicious, there’s one thing you may still be curious about – are pork chops healthy?
The short answer is that pork chops can definitely be part of a healthy diet. They are low in fat yet packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Keep reading to learn more about the nutritional makeup and potential health benefits of pork chops.
Not All Pork Chops Are the Same
Before we dive into whether or not pork chops are healthy, it’s important to understand that not all pork chops are the same!
Of course, there’s the obvious difference between bone-in and boneless pork chops – rib chops and center cut chops often keep the bone in, but other pork chops are sold boneless. What you may not know is that there are also differences in the cuts of meat and their nutritional value. .
While all types of pork chops come from the loin, chops may come from the sirloin end, center cut, or rib end of the loin. Additionally, center cut pork chops may contain just the loin, or they might include both the loin and tenderloin – the most tender muscle that runs along the inside of the loin.
Since these cuts vary a bit in composition, you can expect slightly different nutritional profiles and tenderness depending on the type of pork chop. Center cut chops and sirloin chops tend to be the lowest in fat, while ribeye chops are a bit fattier. When it comes to bones, boneless pork chops tend to be leaner than bone-in chops. However, the exact fat content depends on how much of the external fat was trimmed before cooking.
That said, all types of pork chops are typically considered relatively lean and healthy cuts of meat, especially when compared to rich pork cuts like bacon and pork “butt” shoulder.
Pork Chops Are Packed with Vitamins and Minerals
While you may correlate meat with the protein nutrient, pork chops are also loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals. According to the USDA , all types of pork chops contain vitamin B12, vitamin B6, potassium, iron, and zinc. They also contain quite a few trace elements including niacin, thiamin, and selenium. While the exact amounts of vitamins and minerals vary slightly between the type of pork chop, all cuts of pork chops contain substantial amounts of these elements.
A four-ounce pork chop contains almost half the recommended amount of niacin, also known as B3 . While this is a lesser-known vitamin, it’s critical in helping your body complete more than 400 necessary reactions, including the breakdown of carbohydrates and fatty acids.
One serving of pork chops also supplies almost half of the daily recommended amount of thiamin, also known as vitamin B1 . Since your body can’t store much thiamin, you need to consume it on a regular basis for proper cell function.
Selenium is another mineral that pork chops are loaded with. Consuming enough selenium allows you to maintain a healthy thyroid gland and complete DNA reproduction. Selenium can also help protect the body against damage caused by infections and free radicals.
How Much Protein Is in a Pork Chop?
While the exact protein content of a pork chop depends on the size and type of the chop, this cut of meat is loaded with the nutrient.
Whether you enjoy Coleman Natural bone-in or boneless chops , you’ll consume a whopping 23 grams of protein with each four-ounce serving. For reference, it’s recommended that the average man eat 56 grams of protein each day while the average woman should aim for 46 grams.
Protein is vital for healthy cell functioning as well as growth and development. If you don’t eat enough protein, you’ll have a hard time building muscle, regulating your mood, and fighting off illness. While pork chops may help you get the protein you need, you should also seek out the support of a medical professional if you’re worried you may not be eating enough protein.
What About Fat in Pork Chops?
When people think about pork products, they often imagine crispy strips of bacon or tender roasted pork shoulders. However, you have leaner options when it comes time to buying pork for the center of your plate
Pork chops provide lots of flavor without the higher fat content. A four-ounce serving of Coleman Natural boneless pork chops or bone-in pork chops contains only 10 grams of total fat and 3.5 grams saturated fat!
When it comes to choosing a specific type of pork chop, center cut chops will typically be lower in fat than rib cut chops. However, remember that the exact amount of fat can vary depending on how the chop is trimmed and cooked.
If you’re looking to cut down on the fat content even more, you’re in luck. While some cuts of meat are marbled with fat, the lean meat and fat on pork chops is often clearly separated. That means you can trim away visible fat before cooking, decreasing the overall fat content.
Of course, your cooking method will additionally impact the total fat content of your finished dish. Grilling and roasting pork chops keeps them lean, since you don’t need to add much oil. If you need some flavor inspiration, check out the recipe for Pork Chops with White Wine Herb Dijon Sauce .
Frying pork chops increases the total fat content since it involves coating the chops in high-fat butter or oil. If you’re looking to get the satisfying crunch of a fried chop but want to avoid excess fats, try popping your pork chops in an air fryer instead. These Italian-Style Air Fryer Pork Chops utilize herbs and cheese for a boost of flavor and an air fryer for a crispy texture.
Sugar and Salt in Pork Chops
Whether you’re following a special diet or just being mindful of your health, you might be keeping an eye on your sodium and sugar intake.
Fortunately, pork chops are naturally low in both salt and sugar! One four-ounce Coleman Natural pork chop contains 0 grams of sugar and only 60 milligrams of sodium. That means you may be able to enjoy a pork chop without veering away from your Keto diet or surpassing your daily sodium allowance.
However, you should always read pork chop labels (and all food labels) to check for added sugar and salt if you’re being mindful to keep your intake low. And make sure to consult a medical professional if you’re worried about how eating a certain food will impact your health.
Enjoy Coleman Natural Pork Chops as Part of a Healthy Diet
Packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals, and low in fat, sugar, and sodium, pork chops can be an easy part of you and your family’s balanced diets.
When you’re shopping for high-quality pork chops, look no further than Coleman Natural. All of our chops are made from hogs that are raised crate-free on American family farms, with no antibiotics or added hormones.
Whether you choose Coleman Natural Bone-in Pork Chop with Easy-peel Packaging or Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops , you’ll end up with a convenient, tasty, and nutritious meal the whole household will enjoy!
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