Chicken, Sirloin or Porkchop- Which is Healthiest?

chicken, pork chop, or sirloinI received this question from my friend Amy who I used to work with in Pittsburgh:

“So if I had 6 oz of chicken breast (boneless), 6 oz of beef (sirloin), and a 6 oz pork chop (boneless), trimmed the fat off of each and cooked them all on the Foreman grill – which would be the healthiest, and which would be the least healthy?”

This is a great question and there are several things to consider, but let’s take a look at how they compare in calories and fat since all these choices are high in protein.

  • 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast is 165 calories, with 3 grams of fat (0 g saturated fat)
  • 6 ounces of boneless trimmed pork chop is around 200 calories, with a total of 3 grams of fat (1 g saturated fat)
  • 6 ounces of the beef sirloin has around 270 calories, with a total of 16 grams of fat (6 g saturated fat)

The Short Answer

Out of the three, chicken is the healthiest, because it is a lean protein source that doesn’t contain saturated fat – the bad kind of fat that raises blood cholesterol. But the pork comes in at a fast second.

But keep in mind that the cut of the meat and trimming away excess fat and skin makes all the difference. New studies also show that eating a diet high in saturated fat causes the release of a stress hormone called “cortisol” which causes fat to be stored around the belly.

So What About The Beef?

I love beef, I won’t deny it and it’s a very good source of iron. However, see how the sirloin compares to the chicken and pork? It’s high in overall fat and high in the “bad kind” or saturated fat. Medical experts say to limit your saturated fat intake to 20 grams daily (or under 15 g if you have risk for heart disease).

So in this case, 6 grams might seem ok, but remember that packaged crackers and chips, cheese and other dairy (even the low fat kind), and other processed foods eaten in combination with that meat can put you well over the limit in just one meal.

What’s the solution? Eat a smaller piece of beef and enjoy it only on occasion. Or try to choose leaner cuts of beef.

Comments

  1. You rock! Thanks for figuring it out for me!

    • My pleasure!! Love questions like these, please send more!!

      • Randy Kilbride says:

        Actually, USDA shows sirloin having less than 1 more gram of saturated fat than a boneless, skinless chicken breast. A skinless chicken thigh has more saturated fat than the sirloin.
        Also, the American Journal of Clinical Dieticians shows that, over a 5 week period, people eating only red meat as a protein source had nearly identical drops in cholesterol levels, including LDL, as those on a red meat-free diet. They reason that the stearic acid in red meat is particularly heart healthy.
        It must be remembered that for decades, eggs had a reputation as being unhealthy. Eggs have proven to be quite healthy using real science. The same junk science is at work against beef now but real science is beginning to prevail.
        In addition, it has been proven that people who have had heart attacks have a greatly reduced chance of getting a second one if they eat protein with a 3:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids. Grass-fed beef is 2:1, grain-fed beef is 4:1 and every part of chicken is more than 10:1.
        You really need to keep up to date on your nutrition information as real science is rapidly debunking the junk science.

        • Jennifer Iserloh says:

          Thanks for this info! Yes I’m learning more about grass fed beef, unfortunately it’s not widely available but the taste is amazing and the price is worth it :)

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