Pig pork meat
4 min read
Although pork is often promoted as a white meat in Australia, it is classified as a red meat in the Australian Dietary Guidelines and international literature due to its nutrient composition more closely aligning with red meat...

What are the health impacts of eating pork?

Pork is a good source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. It is also high in saturated fat, so the recommendation by health authorities is to remove any visible fat from pork meat.


Despite pork containing essential nutrients for health, the World Cancer Research Fund has concluded that there is strong evidence that consuming both red and processed meats (including pork meats) increase the risk of colorectal cancer. The term 'red meat' encompasses beef, sheep, veal, venison, goat and others.


Pork is part of the ‘meat, poultry, fish and alternatives’ food group in the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. These foods have similar nutrient compositions and includes plant based proteins. However, plant-based protein foods (such as legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu) have the added benefit of contain dietary fibre, which is good for gut health. The Dietary Guidelines state one serve of red meat (including pork, beef and lamb) is 65 grams, with a recommended maximum of 455 grams per week. However, international health organisations recommend limiting consumption of red meat, and consuming little to no processed meats, including bacon, ham and other processed pork meat. 


The nutrition experts at Eat Sustainably love to support people to discover plant-based sources of protein, iron and other nutrients on their healthy and sustainable eating journey. 


What are the environmental impacts of pork?

Following beef and lamb, pork has the next highest output of greenhouse gases globally - more than chicken, fish, milk, and eggs. A study published in 2010 found more energy is required to produce 1kg of pork compared to 1kg of chicken, as chickens are more efficient at converting feed to weight gain.


The EAT-Lancet commission into healthy and environmentally sustainable diets recommends a maximum of 28 grams of either beef, sheep or pork daily, for health and environmental reasons.


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