Monthly Archives: January 2008

pork – the other white meat

When I was at the grocery store this weekend I picked up a pork tenderloin because it was on sale. I don’t really cook a lot of pork and after I got it home I started to wonder if eating it was going to set me back a little on the cholesterol track. Doing a little bit of research it appears that pork can be added to a healthy diet if selected and prepared correctly.

images.jpgDid you know that pork today is not the same product our parents cooked? On average pork today is over 15% leaner and has over 25% less saturated fat than 15 years ago. Who knew? Isn’t a pig a pig? I started pecking around the internet and found a comparison of 3 ounce cooked servings of various meats. The pork tenderloin had 3g of fat 1g of saturated fat and 62mg of cholesterol. Compare that to a boneless skinless chicken breast of the same size and I was shocked to see that the fat grams and the sat fat are almost identical. The funny thing was that the chicken had a few more calories and a few more mg of cholesterol. The pork rib chop was very similar to a chicken leg and a pork roast beat a chicken thigh in every category.

I think the lack of pork in my diet came from my mom turning pork chops into doorstops by cooking them forever. But remember this isn’t our parents pork. Trichinosis (try spelling that fast in a blog entry) is pretty much gone now and most restaurants and cooking shows recommend the chops be a little pink in the center. Pork is recommended to be cooked now until the internal temp reaches 155-160. If the chop did have the trichinella parasite it would be killed at around 140. Cool huh? But don’t take my word for it, research it yourself so you feel comfortable in what you are eating.

Now I need to find some good recipes….any suggestions?


aunt poly and uncle mono

Food labeling is a good thing.  It can really help when you are looking to eat better, but it can also turn a trip to the grocery store into a two hour ordeal.  I’m going to go through a few different parts of the label in this blog but I thought I would start with a few of the more positive parts, aunt poly and uncle mono.

Polyunsaturated Fat and Monounsaturated Fat are listed under the fat section of the food label on some foods.   Since I’m trying to cut down on fat I thought these were just two more things I should avoid.   Turns out, not so much.    When looking at the overall fat content of the food I need to see what types of fat make up this totally generic number at the top of the label.   These two little guys are the “good” fats and currently nutritionists believe they can help prevent some health problems.    So, if you come across a food that is high in fat like olive oil at 14g Total Fat for 1tbsp, you need to look at what makes up that Total Fat number.  In this case 10g comes from uncle mono and 2g comes from aunt poly leaving only 2g of the bad stuff.   

I’m not a big fan of carrying a slide ruler to the grocery store in order to help with food labels.   So I’ve decided that aunt poly and uncle mono look out for me.  If they make up most of the fat….I’m in good hands.  Family wouldn’t steer me wrong….would they?

recipe corner – pizza

This isn’t the most creative recipe for pizza but it isn’t intended to be.  It also isn’t the lowest cholesterol version of pizza available but again it isn’t intended to be.   It is a reduced cholesterol version of pepperoni pizza….period.

1 Boboli Wheat Pizza Crust

Hormel Turkey Pepperoni

3/4 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese

Your favorite pizza sauce

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste


red pepper flakes

Place all the ingredients on the crust and bake to the package specifications.  Not a lot of measurements in this recipe except the cheese.    Really the point is to limit the amount of mozzarella and make up for it by adding extra sauce, Parmesan, and other flavors.   Using the turkey pepperoni vs. the regular one saves you A LOT of saturated fat and using the wheat crust helps add a little fiber.  

If you are at the grocery store and intend to buy a frozen pizza, DON’T.   Just do this instead.   It actually takes less time because the crust isn’t frozen, it tastes better because everything is fresh, and it will be less fat.

plant sterols

In 2000 the FDA approved the health claim that plant sterols reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.   Since then products have begun to pop up that contain plant sterols with the latest being Minute Maid Heart Wise Orange Juice.   First of all I have to admit that I’m leery of products that claim they have plant sterols in them because of how loose the requirements on these claims are.  But, I wanted to take a look at this and other products to see what the deal was.

On the label it says that “foods containing at least 0.4 g per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a total daily intake of at least 0.8 g, as part of a low saturated fat, low trans fat and low cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of Minute Maid Heart Wise contains 1g of plant sterols per serving (which is 80z).”   Then I compared that to Promise activ™ SuperShots™ which is a yogurt based drink that provides 2.0g plant sterols per serving (which is one supershot).

The interesting thing is that reading the FDA report the way this stuff works is that it really should be taken with a meal.   Which means in theory you should take 0.4g with lunch and 0.4g with dinner and taking more than that has not been proven to make any more or less of a difference.    Hmmmm…so let’s look at the price.

At my local Vons the Minute Maid is 0.08cents an ounce and the Promise Active drinks are .30cents an ounce…..ouch!     Considering the Promise shots aren’t really designed to drink half of it and re-seal it, purchasing the Minute Maid (although higher priced than normal orange juice) seems like a better and more usable way to consume your twice daily sterols.   But, keep in mind that you need to drink two glasses of juice a day…one with each meal to get the full impact.   So that means you’ll be going through about a bottle of juice every three and a half days.    

So, if you drink OJ that much anyway then I could see it being a good thing.  I drink a couple of glasses a week, so for me that would be A LOT of OJ.  So, how to include them?   That is a topic for another time.