Pork tenderloin is a lean and versatile cut of meat that can be a delicious and healthy addition to any meal. Knowing the calorie content of pork tenderloin can help with meal planning and ensuring a balanced diet. In this article, we will examine the calorie content of a 4 ounce serving of roasted pork tenderloin.
Pork Tenderloin Overview
Pork tenderloin, sometimes called pork fillet, is a long, narrow cut of meat from the loin section of the pig. It is very tender and lean, with little marbling or fat compared to other cuts of pork. Pork tenderloin is easy to cook since it cooks quickly and has mild flavor that pairs well with many seasonings and sauces. It can be prepared many ways including roasting, grilling, sautéing, or baking. A 4 ounce uncooked portion is a typical single serving size.
Calories in Pork
The calorie content of pork depends on the cut, with fattier cuts like pork belly having more calories per ounce than leaner cuts like tenderloin. In general, pork is considered a high-protein, moderate-fat meat. A 3 ounce portion of cooked, lean pork contains around 200 calories. So a 4 ounce uncooked portion would have around 130 calories before cooking. However, the calorie content changes once the meat is prepared.
Calories in Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Roasting is a dry-heat cooking method that uses the oven’s ambient heat to cook food. Roasting brings out the natural flavors in pork tenderloin while producing a delicious browned exterior. The calorie content of roasted pork tenderloin depends on a few factors:
Weight Before and After Cooking
Pork tenderloin loses moisture and shrinks during the roasting process. A 4 ounce raw portion may yield around 3 cooked ounces after roasting due to this moisture loss. The calorie density becomes concentrated into a smaller portion after cooking.
Cooking Method and Temperature
Dry heat methods like roasting generally add little or no extra fat or calories. However, the internal temperature at which the pork is roasted to will impact moisture loss. Pork roasted to higher temperatures near 160°F will lose more moisture than pork roasted to 145°F. Higher moisture loss concentrates more calories into less cooked meat.
The browned exterior created when pork roast adds complex flavors through the Maillard reaction. It also causes the pork to lose additional water weight through evaporation. More browning means more moisture loss and higher calorie density.
Simple seasonings like herbs, spices, salt, and pepper have negligible calories. But roasted pork tenderloins can also be coated in oil, breadcrumbs, or sauce before roasting which adds additional calories. Any glazes or sauces added after cooking also increase the calorie content of the finished dish.
Nutrition Facts for Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Based on the above factors, a 4 ounce raw portion of pork tenderloin roasted to an internal temperature of 145°F with a moderately browned exterior will yield around 3 cooked ounces with the following nutrition facts:
As the table shows, a 3 ounce portion of roasted pork tenderloin contains about 190 calories and 25g of protein, along with 8g of fat. The majority of the fat is unsaturated. Roasted pork tenderloin is considered a lean source of protein and makes a satisfying low-carb meal.
Let’s compare these nutrition facts to other cooking methods and portion sizes for pork tenderloin:
4 Ounce Raw Weight Roasted to 160°F Internal Temperature
Roasting to 160°F instead of 145°F causes more moisture loss and concentration of calories into a smaller portion. The nutrition facts would be approximately:
4 Ounce Raw Weight Pan-Seared
Pan searing also causes moisture loss through evaporation and browning. The nutrition would be similar to roasting at higher heat:
6 Ounce Raw Weight Roasted to 145°F
A larger 6 ounce raw portion roasted to 145°F internal temperature would have:
So the calorie total scales up with larger portion sizes while maintaining the ratios of macronutrients.
Health Benefits of Pork Tenderloin
Besides its mild taste and lean protein content, pork tenderloin offers several health benefits:
High in Thiamin
Pork contains the B vitamin thiamin, which helps turn nutrients into energy and keeps the nervous system healthy. A 3 ounce serving of pork provides 11% of the recommended daily value.
Source of Selenium
Selenium is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. Pork contains more selenium than many other meats.
The potassium in pork helps regulate fluid balance, nerve signals, and blood pressure. A typical serving provides 7% of the recommended potassium daily.
Lean Source of B Vitamins
In addition to thiamin, pork contains B vitamins niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 for metabolic health. The nutrients are more concentrated in lean cuts like tenderloin.
Provides Iron for Energy
The iron in pork helps transport oxygen through the blood to cells. A serving of roasted pork provides around 15% of the recommended daily iron.
Cooking Methods for Pork Tenderloin
Roasting is just one of many healthy and delicious ways to prepare pork tenderloin. Consider these other cooking methods:
Grilling imparts a smoky, savory flavor. Use indirect heat and grill to an internal temperature of at least 145°F. Brush on a glaze in the last 10 minutes if desired.
Cook sliced pork tenderloin in a skillet with a bit of oil over high heat until browned but still pink inside. The browning gives great caramelized flavor.
Baked pork tenderloin remains very juicy and tender. Coat it in breadcrumbs, herbs, or rub for added texture and flavor. Bake at 425°F until the center reaches 145°F.
Browning then Simmering
Searing the tenderloin locks in flavor. Finish cooking by simmering in sauce, broth, or chili until cooked through.
Use the low, moist heat of a slow cooker to produce fall-apart tender pork. Add sauce ingredients and cook on low 4-6 hours.
Tips for Cooking Pork Tenderloin
Follow these tips to ensure properly cooked, flavorful pork tenderloin every time:
Use a Meat Thermometer
This provides the most accurate way to know when pork reaches a safe internal temperature of at least 145°F. Place in the thickest part.
Let It Rest
Allow the roasted or grilled tenderloin to sit 5-10 minutes before slicing to allow juices to redistribute evenly. This makes the pork extra moist.
Pound to Even Thickness
Pounding helps tenderloin cook evenly. Place plastic wrap over the meat before gently pounding.
Ensure the browned exterior sear is caramelized but not burnt. Use a bit of oil in the pan and allow a few minutes per side over high heat.
Always slice pork tenderloin across the grain. This results in short muscle fibers for tenderness.
The tenderloin dries out quickly if cooked past 150°F. Remove it from the heat source at 140°F to account for carryover cooking.
Recipes for Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Here are some mouthwatering recipes for roasted pork tenderloin:
Simple Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Coat tenderloin with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme. Roast at 425°F 25-35 minutes until internal temperature reaches 145°F.
Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze
Roast alongside potatoes and carrots. Brush with glaze of balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and rosemary in the last 10 minutes.
Spicy Dry Rub Pork Tenderloin
Coat tenderloin with spices like chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and brown sugar before roasting.
Honey Dijon Pork Tenderloin
Whisk together olive oil, honey, mustard, lemon, and garlic. Roast the coated tenderloin 30 minutes at 400°F.
Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables
Roast colorful vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, and peppers alongside the pork. Toss in olive oil, garlic, and herbs.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the calories in pork tenderloin:
Is pork tenderloin healthier than chicken breast?
Pork tenderloin and chicken breast both provide lean protein options. Per ounce, pork tenderloin has slightly more calories and fat than chicken breast. But overall they have comparable nutritional profiles.
Can I cook pork tenderloin from frozen?
It is best to thaw frozen pork tenderloin in the refrigerator before cooking. Cooking without thawing may result in uneven cooking.
Should I brine pork tenderloin before cooking?
Brining helps keep pork tenderloin juicy, but is not required. Dry rubs and marinades also infuse flavor and moisture.
What is the difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin?
Pork loin comes from higher up on the pig’s back. It is larger and thicker with more fat and marbling. Pork tenderloin is a thin, elongated muscle near the ribs.
How long does pork tenderloin last in the fridge?
Raw pork tenderloin lasts 3-5 days refrigerated and 4-6 months frozen. Cooked pork lasts 3-4 days refrigerated and 2-3 months frozen.
A 4 ounce raw portion of pork tenderloin yields around 190 calories when roasted to an internal temperature of 145°F with moderate browning. This converts to about 3 cooked ounces containing 25g protein. Roasting brings out delicious flavor in this lean and versatile cut of meat. Pork tenderloin can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation and prepared through low-fat cooking methods. Knowing the calorie and nutrition information allows for proper meal planning to meet dietary needs.