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New Study Finds Lean Pork Can Be Included in the Health-Promoting DASH Eating Plan

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SOURCE The National Pork Board

Research suggests lean pork can be included in a DASH diet -- one of the best-studied eating approaches -- to help improve blood pressure

DES MOINES, Iowa, April 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Adults following the well-documented DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan to help lower blood pressure can also include nutrient-rich lean pork as the predominant source of protein in their diets, according to new research presented this week at the Experimental Biology conference, in San Diego, California.1

Purdue University researchers found that when adults ate lean pork, instead of chicken and fish as their main protein source they had the same blood pressure benefits regardless of protein source – with systolic blood pressure decreasing around 8 to 9 points and diastolic around 4 to 5 points after six weeks, based on a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring system.

"The DASH diet has been recognized by government and health organizations as an eating pattern that can promote health and help decrease the risk to chronic diseases," said study lead author Dr. Wayne W. Campbell, Nutrition Science Professor at Purdue University. "While the traditional DASH diet includes chicken and fish, our research suggests that lean pork may also be a part of this healthy eating pattern."

The study included 19 overweight or obese older adults – 13 women and 6 men – with elevated blood pressure who were randomly assigned to consume the DASH diet for two six-week periods with either chicken and fish, or lean pork as the major protein source (about 55 percent of their protein intake).  The DASH diet emphasizes increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lowfat dairy and typically, fish and chicken, along with reduced intakes of sodium and red meats.

Nutrient-Rich Pork: Part of Healthy Eating Patterns
Lean, nutrient-rich pork is versatile, affordable and accessible for many Americans. Its many beneficial qualities make it easy to incorporate into any healthy diet:

  • Source of Key Nutrients: Pork is not only a good source of protein but also provides several important vitamins and minerals. A 3-ounce serving of pork is an "excellent" source of thiamin, selenium, protein, niacin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus, and a "good" source of riboflavin, zinc, and potassium.2
  • Lean Protein: Today's pork is 16 percent leaner and 27 percent lower in saturated fat compared to 20 years ago.3 Seven cuts of pork meet the USDA guidelines for "lean" by containing less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 gram of meat.4 Pork tenderloin is "extra lean," containing less than 5 grams of total fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving.
  • Heart-Healthy: Pork is naturally low in sodium and a "good" source of potassium – two nutrients that, when coupled, can help regulate blood pressure.5 Pork tenderloin was recently certified as heart-healthy by the American Heart Association with its heart-check mark, indicating that it contains less than 6.5 grams of fat, 1 gram or less of saturated fat (and 15 percent or less calories from saturated fat) and 480 milligrams or less of sodium per label serving, among other criteria.

For the latest pork nutrition information, recipes and more, visit

About the National Pork Board
The National Pork Board has responsibility for Checkoff-funded research, promotion and consumer information projects and for communicating with pork producers and the public. Through a legislative national Pork Checkoff, pork producers invest $0.40 for each $100 value of hogs sold. The Pork Checkoff funds national and state programs in advertising, consumer information, retail and foodservice marketing, export market promotion, production improvement, technology, swine health, pork safety and environmental management.


1 Sayer RD, Chen N, Wright AJ, Campbell WW. The effects of pork vs. chicken/fish in a DASH diet on blood pressure control. Experimental Biology; April 2014.

2 National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Based on 3-ounce cooked servings (roasted), separable lean only.

3 National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Based on 3-ounce cooked servings (roasted or broiled), visible fat trimmed after cooking.

4 National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26.

5 Buyck JF, Blacher J, Kesse-Guyot E, Castetbon K, Galan P, Safar M, Hercberg S, Czernichow S. Differential associations of dietary sodium and potassium intake with blood pressure: a focus on pulse pressure. Journal of Hypertension. 2009;27:1158-1164.

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