To eat pork or not to eat pork?

by 43 · May 10, 2013 at 5:12 PM

After reading this I would say "not", what does everybody else say?


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16 Replies

7490 · March 25, 2012 at 9:48 PM

I buy all of mine locally from ranchers who pasture their pigs and they are finished on acorns. So it looks like my lard is about 8% PUFA, which is fine by me. All my bacon, chops, and sausages come from local ranches. The one exception is pork shoulder roasts, because they cost twice as much. The lovely carnitas on my stove right now would've cost me north of $40, so that's the one concession I make.

I just can't get excited about the minutia. Did my ancestors care if their game meat had an optimal O3 to O6 ratio? No. I feel like the best I can do is reduce my risk, make smart decisions, and then get on with it. I do try to make sure that chicken and pork aren't the cornerstone of my diet, but they are great for variety.

That being said, by dinnertime tonight, I will have had an accidental pork trifecta day: bacon for breakfast, leftover chop for lunch, carnitas for dinner. Sheesh.

4620 · March 25, 2012 at 10:34 PM

EAT ! But never eat any food that is from an industrial feedlot (especially chicken). Pork is an almost perfect food and if you get it from Spain (small amounts are now allowed in the US) you will have the very best and discover that Pork is NOT a white meat. We over the years have breed the meat to be tastless and white. Eat real food solves many problems. Real food worked well before we screwed it up in the last century.

955 · March 26, 2012 at 12:38 AM

Weston A Price foundation has done some recent work regarding the traditional preparation of pork items, discovering that processed pork seems to be healthier (such as bacon).


1212 · March 25, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Cultures have depended on pork first...the Chinese eat a lot of it. Traditionally pork is marinated or cured and not eaten fresh as is done in the west with the negative (inflammatory) repercussions on blood cells. His assessment seems extreme and alarmist.

40652 · March 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM

He has three issues with pork, to address them each:

  1. High Omega-6s. Oh come on, he compares it to corn oil?! Whatever. Pork fat is not corn oil, corn oil is mostly highly oxidized PUFAs. Pork fat is just 10% PUFA and shouldn't be as highly oxidized.
  2. Processed pork. Yes, I'd minimize exposure to nitrate/nitrite cured pork. But there's more to pork than cured products.
  3. Pathogens Easily the most valid reason given. Historically, pork had all sorts of pathogens present. Management practices and modern vet med though have reduced the risk here. As well as modern food handling. If you eat shitty pork that has been improperly butchered and cooked, yes, it could be a health hazard, but that goes for most all animal meats as well.

225 · March 25, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Oh yeah!

You can eat: cow, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey, duck, fish, shark, whale, seal, bear, deer, frog, snake, alligator, elephant, mammoth, kangaroo, wallaby, elk, moose, tiger, lion, zebra, gorilla, chimpanzee, horse, shellfish, dog, rat, mouse, coyote, raccoon, skunk, marmot and gazelle.

But please, do not eat pork.

This always comes up with the bible verses. Do we really need to re-hash that tired old argument?

715 · March 25, 2012 at 10:35 PM

For the biblical answer read Acts 10:9-17. Interesting how secular articles will do their fair share of scripture bending when it suits them. First of all don't eat pork laden with nitrates and garbage. Find a farmer from which you can by a whole or part of a hog and have it cut up your way by a local butcher. It ain't that hard. If that's not possible, find the most reputable source you can. Eat it fully cooked. Niacin, thiamine, B6. Really, when you look at the food chain every food is at risk. And believe me if you really want to know about kosher, don't talk to anyone who has worked in a commercial veal operation. I did when I was in high school, and to this day, I'd much rather eat canned ham. Ignorance is bliss.

5324 · May 09, 2012 at 6:11 PM

I eat pork about everyday...hell I have some homemade bacon "curing" in the fridge right now.

I love to take a pork steak, get a great crust on it, finish it off in the oven, grab a nice pat of butter and throw it in the same pan, grab some thick cut mushrooms and throw them in to collect all those flavors that remained, and cook it Low and Slow…after maybe 20 minutes I remove the pork steak from the oven pouring any remaining fat that’s been collected from the oven bake over the mushrooms, turn the heat up a little, in that time I make some guacamole. I Remove the pork steak from the pan and I love to spread on top of the pork steak some guacamole and then top the guac’ with the mushrooms…on the side I have a small salad...To date I am down 35-ish pounds…behold the power of pork…I for one welcome our pork overlords! Truth.

1807 · May 09, 2012 at 5:52 PM

The problem with Dr. Mercola is one's inability to tell the difference between his outright charlatanism for personal gain, on the one hand, and his out-of-the-mainstream beliefs with potential validity, on the other. One of my professors attended undergrad with him. Then they went to medical school together. Then they did both internship and residency together. According to his experience with the man, Dr. Mercola was always somewhat inclined to lend credence to alternative practices, but it wasn't until he began to see a profit margin that he began to radically depart from CW.

Some of Dr. Mercola's ideas contain a grain of truth; some are considerably better than that; but some are of not just questionable efficacy, but questionable ethics. And all are directed toward both his vendetta against established medicine and the profitability of his bottom line. This is disingenuous to his followers, most of whom don't have the training and education to know what to trust and what to ignore.

As a medical professional, it is one's duty follow the data for the good of the patient, to criticize the establishment when it is failing, and uphold it when it is not; it is not one's duty to unilaterally slam the profession without regard to its value, especially not when it becomes in one's financial interest to do so. Medicine needs help, and regardless of the worth of some of his ides, Dr. Mercola is not helping it.

Dr. Emily Deans wrote an excellent post about much of this back in November:


669 · March 26, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Everytime I think about eating some I can't help but reflect on how expensive canned salmon is and how I'll be skewing my hard-earned ratios out! Heh.

But you know, I really want to try some, because I was raised with a few half-arsed Muslim principles, one being the taboo of pork. I hear how delicious bacon is fried with apples...

513 · September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

Jaminet's article really soured me on pork, and the Clean diet cleanse I did last month also discouraged pork. It makes perfect sense that their pathogens would be more likely to infect us humans.

3029 · May 10, 2013 at 5:12 PM

If you can find it corn and soy free, eat up. I even like my bacon raw:) What's more harmful, stressing about pork.

0 · May 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

In researching whether it's true that ALL pork contains endogenous retroviruses, I found a medical study that supports this - here is an excerpt:

Like many other mammalian species, pigs harbor endogenous retroviruses (porcine endogenous retrovirus [PERV]), which are encoded in their genomic DNA (33, 35) and assumed to be descendants of ancient viruses that became integrated into the host germ line.

Gammaretrovirus particles are released by pig cell lines (2, 3, 14), yet only recently have investigators looked into the potential risk of human infection by PERV. Two of the three identified receptor classes of PERV, distinguished by their envelope sequence and tropism, have been shown to be capable of replicating in human cells in vitro (18, 21, 25, 26, 27, 30, 38). So far nothing is known about the potential pathogenicity of PERV in an in vivo setting. Therefore, the development of an animal model is critical to advancing our understanding of PERV infection and possible pathogenesis.

0 · May 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM

I stopped eating pork because of working with Dr. McCombs, whose diet is pretty much a Paleo diet but allowing brown rice. The only meat he does not allow on his plan is pork. If you read his reasons, you will never eat pork again. But I'm trying to find out if it's really as bad as she says it is. I especially miss prosciutto. What do people think after reading this?


2330 · May 09, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Ned Kock (http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com) conducted a much more sophisticated nonlinear multivariate analysis of the available data and found that unless you are overeating pork and becoming obese, there is no need to limit pork consumption for health reasons.

In fact, once obesity and alcohol consumption (both highly correlated with pork consumption) are accounted for, pork consumption appears to be associated with longer life expectancy.

See here: http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2012/02/does-pork-consumption-cause-cirrhosis.html

and here: http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2012/02/pork-paradox-national-pork-consumption.html

148 · March 26, 2012 at 4:06 AM

You had me at "carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons". Just kidding. Seriously, if I have to become a scientist to figure out what's real, what's BS, what's good, what's bad, I will probably starve.

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