High protein meat-based diets are commonly promoted for weight loss, supposedly by increasing satiety and energy expenditure. Pork is a good source of protein however little information on the metabolic effects of pork consumption exists. This pilot study aimed to examine whether regular consumption of fresh lean pork could improve body composition and cardiovascular risk factors in a 6 month parallel intervention trial. 164 overweight adults (mean BMI 32) were randomly assigned to incorporate up to 1 kg pork/week by substituting for other foods or maintain their habitual diet (control). Plasma levels of lipids, glucose and insulin, BMI, waist/hip circumference, blood pressure, heart rate and arterial compliance were measured at baseline and 3 and 6 months. Body composition was determined using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. A total of 144 volunteers completed and volunteers in the pork group increased their intake 10 fold by substituting pork for mainly beef and chicken. After 3 months, there were significant (p ≤ 0.01) reductions in weight, BMI, waist circumference, % body fat, fat mass and abdominal fat in the pork group relative to controls, which persisted for 6 months. There was no change in lean mass, indicating that the reduction in weight was due to loss of fat mass. There were no significant effects on other metabolic parameters. Regular consumption of lean fresh pork may improve body composition.
Keywords: BMI; body composition; cardiometabolic health; pork.