Pork and poultry are good sources of protein in a healthy diet and provide you with vitamins and minerals as well. Pork includes cuts such as chops and roasts, ham, bacon and sausage. Although your first thought when it comes to poultry might be chicken, this group of foods also includes turkey, duck and goose, each of which can provide slightly different nutritional benefits.
Carbohydrate is one of the major nutrients, along with protein and fat, but neither pork nor poultry will provide your body with much carbohydrate. With the exception of turkey, which contains 0.06 gram per 100 grams of roasted meat and skin, poultry does not have any carbohydrate. Roasted pork top loin is also carbohydrate-free, and bacon only contains 1.70 grams of carbohydrate in 100 grams of pork. An 11.5-gram slice of bacon contains a mere 0.2 gram of carbohydrate, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These low numbers can be beneficial for someone looking to avoid carbs for medical reasons such as diabetes or for weight loss.
Pork and poultry of all kinds are good sources of protein, which is vital for repairing and maintaining body tissue and muscle mass, among other functions. Some kinds of poultry have slightly more protein than an equivalent amount of pork, according to the USDA. For example, 100 grams of roasted pork top loin contains 26.45 grams of protein. The same amount of turkey roasted with skin and fat contains 28.55 grams. Roasted duck with meat and skin contains 18.99 grams, roasted chicken with meat and skin has 23.97 grams and roasted goose meat with skin contains 25.16 grams of protein.
Roasted pork top loin is considerably lower in fat compared to most types of poultry, at 8.82 grams in 100 grams of pork, according to the USDA. Pan-fried bacon, however, contains 35.09 grams of fat in 100 grams of bacon. Turkey with meat and skin has slightly less fat, at 7.39 grams, and chicken with meat and skin has 13.39 grams. Goose with meat and skin contains 21.92 grams of fat, and duck tops the list with 28.35 grams when prepared with meat and skin.
The USDA notes that pork and all kinds of poultry do contain other nutrients required for good health, such as vitamins and minerals. Poultry typically has more calcium than pork, but goose has the most phosphorus and pork has the most potassium. Chicken is a better source of iron than pork or other kinds of poultry. None of these foods contain vitamin C, but all contain vitamin B-12, with turkey being the best source.
- USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov: Why Is It Important to Make Lean or Low-Fat Choices From the Protein Foods Group?
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) Estimated Average Requirements
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Chicken, Roasting, Meat and Skin, Cooked, Roasted
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Turkey, Whole, Meat and Skin, Cooked, Roasted
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Goose, Domesticated, Meat and Skin, Cooked, Roasted
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Duck, Domesticated, Meat and Skin, Cooked, Roasted
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Pork, Fresh, Loin, Top Loin (Roasts), Boneless, Separable Lean and Fat, Cooked, Roasted
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Pork, Cured, Bacon, Pre-Sliced, Cooked, Pan-Fried