Cool Facts About Arizona Pork and Pork Overall
By Julie Murphree on behalf of the Arizona Pork Council
As a commodity, pork has been raised in Arizona for a long time. Over the decades pork producers have become more and more sophisticated in how they raise hogs for quality, nutrition and care for the animal.
The most recent available statistics through the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) reports that pork brought in cash receipts totaling $41 million (2019) in Arizona. And, that’s not counting the economic value brought by those employed in the industry, capital investments and more.
The Arizona Pork Council supports pork producers and helps Arizona families understand and enjoy the versatility and nutritional value of pork.
The Nutritional Versatility of Pork
Throughout my life, Pork has been part of my diet because of its health benefits. The variety of options range from decadent and flavorful to lean and nutrient-rich cuts that are affordable, easy to make, and enjoyable to families.
And what I’ve recently learned from the National Pork Board, for decades, America’s pig farmers have worked closely with their team of pig health professionals reviewing and researching what pigs eat and how they are raised and bred to develop leaner, higher quality pork cuts that people continue to prefer. Because of this dedication to quality and continuous improvement, it comes as no surprise that pork has consistently been the number one protein enjoyed worldwide.
The National Pork Board helps highlight the nutritional value of pork.
- Today’s pork compares favorably to other protein sources regarding fat, calories, and cholesterol. In addition to providing protein, pork also provides many other important vitamins and minerals, including some that are under-consumed according to current recommendations.
- While providing greater amounts of vitamins and minerals, many cuts of pork are as lean or leaner than chicken.
Protein in Pork
- Through dedication to providing protein that people are looking for with a complete nutrient package in mind, today’s pork is 16 percent leaner and 27 percent lower in saturated fat compared to 29 years ago.
- Eight cuts of pork meet the USDA guidelines for “lean,” containing less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams of meat.
- The popular pork tenderloin is considered “extra lean” and has the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast.
Vitamins and Minerals
- Pork, by definition, is an “excellent” source of nutrients important in supporting our health, including vitamin B-6, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin and selenium, and protein and a “good” source of zinc, riboflavin and potassium.
Fat in Pork
- Through changes in feeding and breeding techniques, pork producers have responded to consumer demand for leaner pork. Today’s pork has 16 percent less fat and 27 percent less saturated fat as compared to 1991. Many cuts of pork are now as lean as skinless chicken.
Benefits of Pork In Your Diet
- Source of Key Nutrients: Pork is an excellent source of protein and provides several important vitamins and minerals. A 3-ounce serving of pork is an “excellent” source of thiamin, selenium, protein, niacin, vitamin B-6 and phosphorus, and a good source of zinc, riboflavin and potassium.
- Heart-Healthy: Pork is naturally low in sodium and an “excellent” source of potassium – two nutrients that, together, can help regulate blood pressure.
- Both the pork tenderloin and pork sirloin roast meet the criteria for the American Heart Association Heart Checkmark, which means they contain less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams or less of saturated fat and 480 milligrams or less of sodium per label serving.