Pork butt, also known as Boston butt, actually comes from the shoulder of a pig, not its rear end. You can roast, barbecue, or shred this cut of meat to make pulled pork. Although it contains beneficial vitamins, minerals and protein, pork butt is also high in calories and fat. You'll want to eat this marbled meat in moderation to avoid health complications.
Calories and Protein
A 3-ounce-serving of pork butt, which is about the size of a deck of playing cards, contains 277 calories. Of those total calories, 85 come from the 21 grams of protein that this size serving of pork butt contains. This dietary protein helps meet your daily requirement of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Protein is essential for the growth and repair of cells, muscles, skin and other organs, as well as digestion and the production of body fluids.
Total Fat Content
The marbling in pork butt contributes flavor to the meat but also adds fat content. From a 3-ounce serving of pork butt, you get about 15 grams of dietary fat. The Institute of Medicine recommends limiting your fat intake to 20 to 35 percent of your total daily calorie intake. For a 2,000 calorie diet, this means no more than 44 to 78 grams of fat per day. You can reduce the fat content of pork by trimming any visible fat from the meat before cooking and by draining off any fat during the cooking process.
Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
Pork butt also contains unhealthy saturated fat as well as cholesterol, a waxy, fat-like substance. Both of these contribute to high cholesterol levels, which may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Of the total 15 grams of fat per serving, 6 grams come from saturated fat. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 16 grams of fat per day for a 2,000-calorie diet. Pork butt also has 83 milligrams of cholesterol per 3-ounce serving. You should limit cholesterol to 300 milligrams per day if you're healthy and to 200 milligrams per day if you have high cholesterol.
Vitamins and Minerals
Eating pork butt does provide you with some essential vitamins and minerals. It's a good source of B vitamins, selenium and zinc. B vitamins aid in energy metabolism, contribute to heart health and red blood cell production, as well as help keep the skin, nervous system and digestive system healthy. The mineral selenium plays a role in your thyroid and reproductive health, as well as defending against free radicals and infection, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. The zinc in pork butt supports immune function, wound healing, cell division and protein synthesis.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Pork, Fresh, Shoulder, (Boston Butt), Blade (Steaks), Seperable Lean and Fat, Cooked Braised
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids
- MedlinePlus: Protein in Diet
- American Heart Association: Saturated Fats
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- American Cancer Society: Vitamin B Complex
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Selenium
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Zinc
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: What is Cholesterol?