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Nutritionist debunks SA’s most common pig myths



According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)South Africans currently consume just 3.8kg of pork each, compared to 35.1kg of chicken and 12kg of beef per year.

“Despite its great nutritional and flavor benefits, pork still has a bad reputation,” said Melindi Wyma, Eskort’s professional food scientist and Group Technical Manager.

With the surge in food prices and other living costs, she is busting some of the common myths about pork that often influence consumers’ decision to opt for more expensive meats such as beef and chicken.

Myth 1: Pork is a fatty, unhealthy meat

A common misconception is that pork is an unhealthy meat that contains a lot of fat. However, many lean cuts of pork have a similar calorie composition to chicken breasts and lean beef, such as tenderloin (fillet), pork chops, sirloin roast, sirloin steak, and rib chops.

Actually, for every 100 grams portion, chicken breasts contain 172 kilocalories (kcal) and 9.25 grams of fat compared to 154 kcal and 4.33 g of fat in pork tenderloin.

“Lean pork cuts are extremely high in protein and nutritious, keeping you fuller longer and less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks and foods so often,” explains Wyma.

“Pork is also an important source of important B vitamins that are crucial for healthy cell function and for the health of your nervous system.”

These include vitamin B1 or thiamine, which allows the body to convert carbohydrates into energy, and is necessary for the optimal functioning of your heart and muscles. Pork is also an important source of vitamin B12, which helps keep blood and nerve cells healthy, as well as other crucial nutrients such as iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus.

Specifically, the iron in pork, known as heme ironis of a type that is easily absorbed and used by the body, unlike the non-heme iron found in plant foods.

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Myth 2: Vienna is made of offal and other waste

One of the most widespread myths about pork is that vienna is made with the remains of the pork carcass that no one wants to eat, such as feet, lips and noses.

Wyma emphasizes, however, that vienna is instead made with the garnish of primeval pieces when the meat is deboned and portioned into retail pieces.

“A selection of this meat and other ingredients is then very finely ground, seasoned, wrapped and cooked. Once cooked, the vines are allowed to cool, the casing is removed and the vines are ready to eat.

“Rather than a way to get rid of offal, Vienna is actually a smart way to use meat that would otherwise go to waste. This makes for an extremely affordable, ready-to-eat source of protein for busy families.”

Myth 3: If you pour a fizzy drink on pork, worms will crawl out

This rumor has been circulating for years, but is no more true now than it was when it was debunked in the 2000s.

“This myth stems from the mistaken belief that pigs are very dirty animals that are full of parasites. But just like any other animal, pigs raised in healthy conditions on responsible farms should be free of harmful parasites or diseases. There is also strict legislation about how pigs should be kept and what they should feed,” says Wyma.

“This means that as long as you buy high-quality pork from a reputable brand, there’s no need to cook it at extreme temperatures or overcook the meat to be safe to eat. It’s also important to note that the only what you can do by pouring a fizzy drink over the raw meat is to tenderize it.”

“Ultimately, pork is a very versatile ingredient that offers great taste, cost and nutritional benefits, which is exactly why it should be a staple ingredient in your meal planning. And with so many recipes available from around the world, you’re sure to find some. find new favorite pork dishes and stretch your budget at the same time,” she concludes.

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