Variability in the contents of pork meat nutrients and how it may affect food composition databases

Food Chem. 2013 Oct 1;140(3):478-82. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.11.085. Epub 2012 Nov 29.


Pork meat is generally recognised as a food with relevant nutritional properties because of its content in high biological value proteins, group B vitamins, minerals especially heme iron, trace elements and other bioactive compounds. But pork meat also contributes to the intake of fat, saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and other substances that, in inappropriate amounts, may result in negative physiologically effects. However, there are relevant factors affecting the content of many of these substances and somehow such variability should be taken into consideration. So, genetics, age and even type of muscle have a relevant influence on the amount of fat and the contents in heme iron. Also the composition in fatty acids of triacylglycerols is very sensitive to the contents of cereals in the feed; for instance, polyunsaturated fatty acids may range from 10% to 22% in pork meat. The content of other nutrients, like vitamins E and A, are also depending on the type of feed. Some bioactive substances like coenzyme Q10, taurine, glutamine, creatine, creatinine, carnosine and anserine show a large dependence on the type of muscle. This manuscript describes the main factors affecting the composition of pork meat nutrients and how these changes may affect the general food composition databases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Fats / analysis
  • Female
  • Male
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Proteins / analysis
  • Swine


  • Fats
  • Proteins