Is there enough protein in your diet?

Published 9:00 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

Do you pay attention to how much protein you eat at each meal? A new study suggests that when it comes to weight loss and healthy aging, getting enough protein at mealtimes is important.

Duke University researchers found obese women who ate adequate or high amounts of protein, including nutrient-rich lean pork, as part of a six-month weight-loss diet not only lost weight, they improved their ability to get around, too.

“There’s no magic bullet when it comes to weight loss,” said Connie Bales, professor in medicine at Duke University. “But our research suggests a higher-protein, lower-calorie diet, including lean pork, could be a viable solution — especially for older women who are most at risk.”

While most Americans eat the majority of their protein at dinner, researchers suggest there could be benefits to spreading protein throughout the day. In this study, women ate 30 grams of protein at each meal with two of the meals including lean pork. Choices like tenderloin, low-sodium ham, chops and lean ground pork are among the seven cuts of pork that meet the USDA guidelines for “lean” by containing less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams of meat. In fact, pork tenderloin has the same amount of fat as a skinless chicken breast.

The next time you fire up your grill, try these lemon-basil pork chops. Serve up protein for dinner while tapping into summer flavors.

Visit porkbeinspired.com and Smithfield.com for more pork-inspired recipes, intriguing flavors and nutritional information.

Grilled Lemon-Basil Pork Chops with Lemon-Basil Orzo

Serves: 4

4 bone-in ribeye pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick

3 small lemons

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

8 ounces orzo

Salt and pepper, to taste

      

Directions

Zest and juice lemons. In small bowl, combine lemon zest and juice, olive oil, garlic, and basil. Set aside 3 tablespoons of mixture. Transfer remaining mixture to large resealable bag and add pork. Set aside for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Prepare orzo according to package. Drain and return orzo to pot. Stir in reserved lemon-basil mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Prepare a grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil grate. Remove pork from marinade and discard. Salt and pepper the pork and grill until internal temperature reaches 145 F, about 4 minutes per side. Remove chops from grill and let rest 3 minutes. Serve with orzo.