Pork has properties of both red and white meat

Review based on the article Carne de cerdo y salud, (“Pork and Health”) published on 25 June 2018 by INTERPORC

Consumers will have heard talk at some point of the different properties of red meat and white meat.

It is said that white meat is low in purines and has less cholesterol, both of which are very beneficial to the overall health of our metabolism.

Red meat, on the other hand, gives us iron, which is beneficial for combating deficiencies like anaemia, especially if accompanied by folic acid, zinc and proteins, which promote the body’s use of this mineral.

Looking at their benefits, one thing is clear: Both have valuable characteristics and contributions to health. So how do we know what kinds of meat are white meat and which are classed as red meat?

There are several criteria for classifying meat into one category or another. One of these considers red meat to be any with a high myoglobin and haemoglobin content. Another widely used parameter is total saturated fat and cholesterol content.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), the yardstick is that meat from mammals is red.

These parameters can create ambiguity with meats like pork. Pork has characteristics that put it in both categories.

In fact, some laws and agencies class it as white or red meat depending on the age of the animal and type of cut.

Is there any point continuing to highlight the benefits and contraindications of red or white meat, if the classification can be so variable?

The latest scientific publications echo this paradigm shift. New studies on health and food safety analyse the impact of each meat product according to the species it comes from and its total and saturated fat content, rather than whether it is red or white.

These recent studies conclude that there is no direct relationship between the consumption of unprocessed meat, from any source, and increased mortality, whether through cardiovascular disease, cancer or any other disease.

Pork is a healthy and very versatile choice with a wide range of properties depending on the type of cut and age of the animal. It is the food of animal origin with the highest vitamin B1 content. It is also rich in monounsaturated fats and oleic acid, helping to maintain adequate HDL cholesterol levels.

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