The Downsides Of Eating Pork

According to Healthline, pork is, surprisingly, the most consumed meat across the globe. It's so popular in fact, that in 2013, up to 65% of Americans reported that bacon should be the country's national food (via MarketWatch). As tempting as it may be to add more bacon to your burger, or to reach for another serving of ribs, there are some concerning health effects related to eating pork that you should be aware of. 

According to WebMD, 100 grams of pork contains approximately 297 calories, 20.8 grams of fat, and 25.7 grams of protein. And while it's a good source of iron, zinc, vitamins, and minerals, there are some risks to eating it. Pork can be high in saturated fat, and depending on how you prepare it (and which parts you eat), you may end up consuming more fat than you had anticipated. Grilling or baking is a better option than frying, and choosing leaner pieces of pork can offer up more protein.

Health concerns surrounding pork

If you enjoy pork regularly, there are additional health concerns to be aware of other than just fat consumption. For people who regularly eat pork, scientific studies have shown that eating pork could be related to conditions such as cirrhosis (via The Lancet) and chronic liver disease (via Epidemiology & Infection) . According to Healthline, the fatty cuts of pork, like bacon, and the cured types, such as ham, contain nitrosamines, which studies show may be associated with liver cancer (via National Cancer Institute).

Another illness correlated with pork is Hepatitis E, a virus which can cause an alarming array of symptoms (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Such symptoms can including; fever, jaundice, vomiting, joint and stomach pain, liver damage, inflammation of the heart and pancreas, and in severe cases, death. Pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for more severe cases of Hepatitis E, which studies show can occur from eating undercooked pork, particularly the liver (via The Journal of Infectious Diseases). The best way to reduce your risk of contracting Hepatitis E, is by cooking pork to 160 degrees for a minimum of 20 minutes, as doing so can neutralize the virus.

Eating pork does present some concerning health problems. If sliced ham is your go-to for lunch, it may be a good idea to keep consumption to a minimum, at least until more concrete research emerges.