Everyone has New Years' resolutions to eat healthier, get back in the gym and work off those extra holiday pounds. Hatfield® pork is well-suited for diets that emphasize protein over fat and carbs—and provides a great energy boost post-workout.
Eating plans that emphasize more protein than carbohydrates can be a popular choice. In fact, Ketogenic and “low-carb” plans were two of the top five diets Americans followed in 2019.
Such diets are based on the belief that without a significant amount of carbohydrates to burn, a person’s metabolism will instead turn to stored body fat for energy. The two strictest Atkins plans limit the amount of carbohydrates you can consume to 20 to 40 grams a day at first. Dieters are also encouraged to have three four- to six-ounce servings of protein. Ketogenic plans also emphasize reducing carbs—and often aim for a daily intake that’s 70 to 80 percent fat, 10 to 20 percent protein, and five to 10 percent carbohydrates.
Protein’s One-Two Punch
A number of studies suggest that limiting carbohydrates can lower weight; one even found that low-carbohydrate diets are more effective than low-fat diets for short-term weight loss.
Research also suggests that low-carb diets can provide various health benefits. Ketogenic diets have been linked to blood pressure reductions, better liver function and other positive effects. The Atkins diet, meanwhile, has been found to improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Focusing on protein, instead of carbs, can also help ensure you receive necessary nutritional components—such as amino acids, which are obtained from eating protein and help your body do everything from building muscle to regulating immune system function.
The body can’t produce nine of the most crucial amino acids on its own, however; the only way to get them is from food.
Top Protein Picks
Whether you’re trying to get enough nutrients or stick to a low-carb eating plan, consuming vitamin- and mineral-rich animal protein is one way to add protein to your diet.
Keto followers who are looking for items that can help them reach the plan’s targeted daily fat intake may want to opt for cuts such as a pork loin filet, tenderloin or premium roast. Pork is typically low in carbs. Pork also offers a hearty amount of protein, making it an option for other low-carb dieters as well. Finally, pork is rich in thiamine—a vitamin that’s essential for body function—and contains zinc, which is needed for brain and immune system health.
Whether it’s served as a Grilled Garlic Parmesan Caprese Chop, in a savory Bacon and Brussels Sprout Salad or in a Cobb Salad, pork also provides all nine essential amino acids—and contains varying amounts of fat, depending on the cut. People who want or need to limit their intake can opt for sliced ham steaks, tenderloin, or a pork roast or chops, which the USDA has classified as lean meats.
No matter which healthy eating plan you pursue in 2020, be sure meals with nourishing ingredients are part of the mix. Find more easy-to-make, healthy recipe ideas by signing up for Hatfield®’s monthly newsletter.