How Does Beef Compare to Pork? – Holy Cow: Yummy Beef Rinds!

How Does Beef Compare to Pork?

    Javon Bangs

    When it comes to the red meat of choice, most people are divided. While some sing praises for its high nutritional value, others are concerned about the health and environmental impact of red meat. 

    As per the guidelines, Americans should eat nearly 156 grams of protein-containing food every day. Besides animal proteins, such as beef and pork, these also include other food sources, like seeds, nuts, and eggs. 

    On the whole, red meats are considered unhealthy since they contain a high saturated fat content, which raises cholesterol levels, leading to cardiovascular diseases. 

    However, the American Heart Association makes it clear that you don’t necessarily have to boycott red meat since it’s highly nutritious. Instead, you must consume it moderately to eliminate the harmful effects. 

    Moreover, it’s better to consume lean meats as compared to ground meats since the latter have variable fat concentrations. Let’s take a closer look at how beef compares to pork and which of the two is healthier for your body and mother nature. 

    Pork vs Beef: Fat Content 

    The fat content in both kinds of meats differs based on the cut. Leaner cuts are characterized by words like ‘loin’ in their names. On the other hand, the fattiest pork cuts are rib-eye and pork belly. 

    If possible, you should check the red meat’s nutritional information before purchasing it. As per the USDA, here’s what is present in 100 grams of a fatty beef cut: 

    • 244 calories 
    • 18.7 grams of fat, of which 8.3 are saturated 
    • 18.9 grams of proteins 

    On the contrary, if you eat a similar-sized serving of a lean cut, like sirloin, it will contain: 

    • 2.4 grams of fat, of which 1.5 are saturated 
    • 21.4 grams of proteins 
    • 129 calories 

    Meanwhile, pork cuts might be lean or fatty too. Here’s what you get from 100 grams of pork chops:

    • 255 calories 
    • 15.7 grams of fat, of which 4.5 are saturated 
    • 26.5 grams of proteins 

    If the pork chops are lean, their nutritional value will be: 

    • 195 calories 
    • 6.9 grams of fat, of which 2.3 are saturated 
    • 31 grams of protein 

    As you can see, beef products are healthier for the body since they contain lesser unhealthy lipids. However, fatty pork chops have lesser saturated fats than the same beef cut. 

    Depending on the cut, pork might be a healthier alternative in some cases since it has a high healthy fat concentration. However, this isn’t a standard observation as the cow or pig’s diet also determines the type and amount of fat in their meat. 

    If you’re eating meat coming from grass-fed animals, the healthy fat content will be higher. Also, these meats have a lower total fat amount. Here’s a brief comparison: 

    • Processed Meat: This meat comes from cows that are raised conventionally. However, the products go through processing procedures. Some examples are bacon and sausages. 
    • Grass-fed Meat: It comes from animals that are grass-fed. The final products do not contain any artificial chemicals, hormones, or drugs. 
    • Conventional Red Meat: These meats are unprocessed for the most part, but they come from factory-farmed cows. 

    Pork vs Beef: Religious Considerations 

    Pig consumption is disallowed in many religions. The Christian Bible has some mentions against eating pork. However, its consumption has been allowed by the modern church. 

    Eating pork is prohibited in the Jewish faith. According to their dietary law - Kashrut - Jews can only eat animals with divided hoofs who chew their cud. Since pigs do not have divided hoofs, Jews cannot eat them. 

    Meanwhile, Islam disallows pork consumption since it’s ‘Haram.’ 

    On the other hand, beef consumption is not permitted in Hinduism since its followers regard the cow as a holy deity. Some Indian laws prohibit the slaughtering of cows, resulting in a penalty of six months to ten years in prison.  

    Pork vs Beef: Nutritional Comparison 

    Both pork and beef are among the most nutritious foods since they’re rich in fats and vitamins. They make up a significant portion of the daily value of some important minerals and vitamins. 

    Nutrient 

    Pork Chops (Percentage of daily value)

    Beef Sirloin (Percentage of daily value)

    Vitamin B1

    56

    6

    Vitamin B2

    21

    9

    Vitamin B5

    20

    13

    Vitamin B6

    32

    35

    Vitamin B12

    27

    38

    Choline

    16

    16

    Iron 

    4

    9

    Potassium 

    9

    7

    Magnesium 

    6

    5

    Phosphorus 

    24

    16

    Zinc 

    19

    35

    As evident, pork chops are more nutritious than beef, although the latter has lesser fat. 

    Consumption Difference Between Pork and Beef 

    According to the data from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, pork is the most commonly consumed meat in the world. While poultry comes in second place, beef stands at third, followed by mutton and goat. 

    40.1% of the world’s population eats pork. The meat is common in countries like Vietnam, Montenegro, China, and South Korea. On the other hand, beef is eaten by 21% of the population and is common in countries like the USA, Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. 

    Interestingly, there’s not much of a difference between pork and beef consumption in the US, although beef is ahead by a slight percentage. 

    Pork vs Beef: Which Is Healthier?

    While it has been established that both types of meat are rich in nutrition, we can’t turn a blind eye to their evident effects on heart health. 

    Heart Disease and Diabetes 

    Many observational studies have found red meat to be associated with a higher likelihood of cardiovascular ailments. However, it’s important to remember that observational research doesn’t indicate causation - it merely shows correlation. 

    Also, all red meats don’t have similar health effects. 

    Among these studies, one with 1,218,380 study subjects is the most prominent. Its results indicated that processed meats are associated with a risk of diabetes and heart ailments. Meanwhile, the study did not find similar results for unprocessed meats. 

    Similarly, another big study containing 448,568 study subjects also found the same results. In fact, the study reported that processed meat is linked to an increased risk of death. 

    Although most studies point towards the harms of processed meat rather than unprocessed ones, it’s important to consume both in moderation. Plus, the results of observational research should be taken with a grain of salt since it has certain limitations. 

    Cancer 

    Besides cardiovascular diseases, processed meats have also been linked to a high risk of cancer in different observational studies

    Red meat is believed to cause colorectal cancer, which is the fourth most common cancer worldwide. However, a limitation of these studies is their combination of processed and unprocessed meats. 

    In a meta-analysis, the authors found the likelihood of colorectal cancer to be minimal due to meat consumption. Likewise, another meta-analysis reported a weak impact on men and none on women. 

    Meanwhile, some other studies also point out that the harmful effects of red meat are not due to its constituents. Instead, they’re a result of the cooking methods and the hazardous compounds used during meat prep. 

    Therefore, it’s best to roast, bake, microwave, or broil the meat rather than frying it. Fried foods are notoriously unhealthy since they form advanced glycation end products in the body - compounds associated with cardiac diseases and cancer. 

    A 2013 study found roasting and stewing meats at low temps to be the healthiest way for cooking meat. Moreover, the results also indicated that meats cooked via these methods have lower AGEs. 

    Pork vs Beef: Climatic Impact 

    The most effective way to minimize your climatic impact would be to go vegan. However, not everyone wants to go down this path. 

    Thus, it’s important to choose your meats carefully. A mere act of switching from beef or pork to chicken might lower your environmental impact by 50%

    Beef is the worst meat for the environment among all types of meats. Since it produces 6 kg of carbon dioxide per serving, beef is way more carbon-intensive than pork. 

    According to the OurWorldInData report, beef has alarmingly high short-lived and long-lived gas emissions, increasing carbon and methane content in the air. Even if you’re a non-vegan vegetarian, your climatic impact is the same as cheese has the same effect on air quality. 

    On the contrary, the climate cost of pigs is much lower since they’re not ruminants. Thus, they do not produce much methane. However, intensive farming has put pork third on the list of highest environment-impacting meats. 

    A kg of pork meat produces about 7 to 12 kg of carbon dioxide emissions, which is nearly a third of the beef’s emissions. 

    Although beef is worse for the earth than pork, some other factors may raise the environmental impact of pork. These include animal husbandry practices, transportation methods for moving the meat from the farm to the shelf, and farming frequency. 

    Pork Rinds vs Beef Rinds

    pork rinds versus beef rinds comparison

    Have you ever caught yourself in the chips aisle of the grocery store trying to choose the healthiest, low carb, keto friendly snack to buy? Out of an ocean of candidates it's pretty clear which is an all-around winner. Deep-fried animal skins! Duhhhhh. But seriously, rinds contain zero carbs (unless there's added sugar) and a boatload of protein. Perfect for anyone attempting to shred those pounds on a keto diet.

    Until now, there's generally only been one option pork rinds. Today we'll dive into why beef rinds are the better low carb snack based on the actual animal's skin, as well as the added ingredients.

    Additives 

    Let's start off with the additives in pork rinds; have you ever looked at the ingredients list on your flavored rinds? There's sure-to-be some added sugar in there somewhere. Maybe it doesn't show up on the nutrition label, but it's there. In the US companies are allowed to round down anything less than 0.5 g to 0g. So if you have 0.4g of sugar in a serving, you are legally allowed to label it as having 0g. So a bag that contains 5 servings of 0.4g each might have up to 2g of sugar in the entire bag. I don’t think it makes much sense either. Thankfully, Holy Cow Beef Rinds contain zero added sugar, perfect for those attempting to steer clear of carbs. 

    PUFAs

    When's the last time you thought about the omega 6:3 fatty-acid ratio of your rinds? Yeah, it's been awhile for me too. But this is important too. Anthropological, epidemiological and human molecular-level studies point to humans evolving on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of approximately 1 to 1. Western diets average a ratio of 15/1 to 16.7/1. A diet high in omega-6 to omega-3 promote pathogenesis. This is just a fancy word to say the development of disease. Common diseases promoted by this imbalance include cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, inflammatory/autoimmune diseases and more. Since both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids influence gene expression, increased levels of omega-3 exert positive, anti-inflammatory effects on the human body whereas omega-6 fatty acids are inflammatory. Since inflammation is at the core of many chronic diseases, dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids play an integral role in prevention of disease. Put simply, a lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is needed for the prevention and management of disease.

    So what's all of this have to do with pork or beef rinds? Generally speaking, grass-fed beef contains a ratio of 2:1 and pork averages out at 10:1. Yikes. So the next time you think about grabbing your beloved pork rinds, you might want to think twice about what you're eating.

    Diet

    Cows are ruminant animals who are meant to graze on grass all day, not be fed corn, soy or grains. Because of this, grass-fed beef has a better micro-nutrient profile than pork; including fewer total calories, more electrolytes (great for the keto diet), higher in CLA (a nutrient that defends against cancer), more omega-3 fatty acids, and less antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Pigs fed an evolutionary inconsistent diet of corn and soy products give way for many inflammatory health issues as well as a sub-par nutrient profile. 

    Sodium

    Pork rinds are also known to contain high amounts of added salt, which in turn contributes to higher sodium levels. If you're like me and try to avoid as much sodium as possible then Holy Cow Beef Rinds are a far superior option in this regard.

    Ingredients

    Last but not least, have you ever noticed the laundry list of ingredients included in flavored pork rinds? Does it really take that many ingredients to make it taste good?! No way! So we made our beef rinds with you in mind, striving to keep the ingredients list as simple as possible—with 4 ingredients or less. So you can feel good about what you're eating. Could beef rinds be the next low carb and keto-friendly snack of 2021? Only one way to find out. 

    Conclusion 

    It’s very difficult for a comparison between pork and beef to choose a clear winner. Both types of meat have their pros and cons. For instance, pork is rich in nutrition but lacks zinc and iron - two minerals found abundantly in beef. 

    Meanwhile, beef has a more drastic environmental impact as compared to pork, while intensive pig farming is becoming a concern globally. Therefore, the responsibility of making informed choices falls on the consumer.

    But with respect to today's modern day pork rinds vs beef rinds? I think beef rinds is the clear winner. I mean, when do you come across junk food that's truly good for you? 

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