Is ground pork low in calories?

Ground pork is a versatile and popular meat option that can be used in various dishes like tacos, meatballs, burgers, etc. Many people wonder if ground pork is a low calorie option compared to other types of ground meat. Here is a comprehensive look at the calorie and nutrient content of ground pork.

Calories in ground pork

The calorie content of ground pork depends on the fat content or leanness. Here are the calories for different types of ground pork based on a 4 oz uncooked serving (113 grams):

Type of Ground Pork Calories
Lean or Extra Lean (95% lean) 122 calories
Lean (90% lean) 155 calories
Medium Lean (80% lean) 211 calories
Regular (75% lean) 242 calories

As you can see, the leaner the ground pork, the fewer calories it contains. Extra lean ground pork only has around 122 calories in 4 oz, while regular ground pork has 242 calories.

For comparison, here are the calories for 4 oz of some other popular types of ground meat:

Type of Ground Meat Calories (4 oz uncooked)
Extra Lean Ground Beef (95% lean) 140 calories
Lean Ground Beef (90% lean) 200 calories
Ground Turkey, white meat 180 calories
Ground Chicken, breast meat 140 calories

Based on these comparisons, extra lean ground pork (95%) generally has slightly fewer calories per 4 oz serving compared to the leanest ground beef or ground turkey. Overall, ground pork is moderate in calories compared to other ground meats – not as low calorie as chicken breast, but also lower in calories than higher fat ground beef mixes or other types of higher fat sausage.

Fat content of ground pork

The calorie content of ground pork is directly related to the fat content. Here are some details on the fat in different types of ground pork:

Type of Ground Pork Total Fat (grams per 4 oz serving)
Lean or Extra Lean (95% lean) 2.5g fat
Lean (90% lean) 7g fat
Medium Lean (80% lean) 12g fat
Regular (75% lean) 15g fat

Extra lean ground pork contains only about 2.5 grams of fat per 4 oz serving. This is a minimal amount of fat and contributes to its lower calorie count. Regular ground pork contains 15g of fat per serving, the majority of which is saturated and monounsaturated fat. The type of ground pork chosen makes a major difference in fat and calorie content.

Protein in ground pork

In addition to being moderate in calories and fat compared to some other ground meats, ground pork is an excellent source of protein. A 4 oz serving of ground pork provides around 22 grams of protein. This amount provides 44% of the recommended daily value for protein.

Having a high protein food like ground pork can help keep you feeling fuller for longer after eating. The protein in ground pork is complete, meaning it provides all of the essential amino acids your body needs from food. Ground pork protein supports muscle growth and maintenance, wound healing, and overall health.

Vitamins and minerals

Along with its protein content, ground pork provides important vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Thiamin – 14% DV
  • Selenium – 33% DV
  • Zinc – 28% DV
  • Vitamin B6 – 22% DV
  • Niacin – 24% DV
  • Vitamin B12 – 12% DV
  • Iron – 8% DV
  • Phosphorus – 15% DV

Ground pork contains a variety of B-vitamins, including thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. These B-vitamins help support energy metabolism and red blood cell production. The zinc in ground pork supports immune function, while the iron helps transport oxygen in the blood. Ground pork also provides the antioxidant mineral selenium.

Uses for ground pork

Given its mild flavor and versatility, ground pork can be used in many recipes in place of or along with ground beef or turkey. Here are some delicious ways to use ground pork:


Ground pork makes a juicy, flavorful taco filling. Simply brown the ground pork along with taco seasoning. Fill warmed corn or flour tortillas with the pork, then top with salsa, avocado, shredded lettuce, cheese, and other favorite taco toppings.


Mix ground pork with breadcrumbs, parmesan, herbs, egg, and seasoning to make tasty oven-baked meatballs. The meatballs can then be used in sandwiches, over pasta, or with marinara sauce.


For a comforting meatloaf, blend together ground pork, ground beef, onions, breadcrumbs, ketchup, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, and any additional seasonings. Form into a loaf, bake, slice, and serve.


Ground pork burgers have a slightly sweet, mild taste. Add whatever burger toppings you enjoy, like cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mustard, or special sauces.


Use lean ground pork when making a pot of hearty chili. The pork mixes nicely with beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, garlic, and other standard chili ingredients. Garnish with shredded cheddar or green onion.


Asian-style pork dumplings are made by wrapping ground pork and finely chopped vegetables in a dumpling wrapper. The dumplings are then steamed, pan-fried, or boiled.

Breakfast patties

Make breakfast more interesting by forming ground pork into patties and cooking up a few as an alternative to bacon or sausage links. They pair nicely with eggs and hash browns.

Is ground pork healthy?

In moderation, ground pork can be part of a healthy diet. Here are some of the main benefits of ground pork:

  • High in protein – excellent source of filling, muscle-building protein
  • Contains important vitamins and minerals like B12, zinc, and selenium
  • Relatively low in calories compared to higher fat ground meats
  • Versatile and can be used in many types of cuisine
  • Tender texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor

When choosing healthy options, look for extra lean or lean ground pork (at least 90% lean) to get more protein and less saturated fat per serving. Limit processed types of ground pork like bacon or sausage due to their higher sodium levels. As with any meat, practice proper food safety by thoroughly cooking ground pork to an internal temperature of 160°F.

Low calorie ground pork recipes

Here are some recipes using extra lean ground pork to keep the calorie content lower:

Zucchini Lasagna with Pork

Layers of sliced zucchini stand in for lasagna noodles in this lighter take on classic lasagna. The cheesy pork and tomato filling provides plenty of flavor. Use part-skim ricotta and mozzarella cheese to further reduce the calories.

Ground Pork Lettuce Wraps

Sauté lean ground pork in a pan along with shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, sliced scallions, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil. Spoon the filling into crisp lettuce leaves for a fresh, protein-packed meal.

Ground Pork and Vegetable Stir Fry

Stir fry extra lean ground pork with your favorite mix of chopped veggies like bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms, and carrots. The pork provides substance while the veggies add nutrients and volume.

Pork and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Bake bell peppers stuffed with quinoa, ground pork, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, and seasonings for a delicious one-dish dinner. The quinoa adds whole grains and protein to bulk up the filling.

Is ground pork good for weight loss?

Ground pork can play a role in weight loss plans when eaten in moderation. Choosing lean cuts and incorporating preparation methods like baking, grilling, or stir frying can help keep calories under control.

Ground pork is a high protein food, which can promote weight loss in several ways:

  • Increases satiety between meals
  • Helps retain and build calorie-burning lean muscle mass
  • Takes more energy for the body to digest than carbs or fat
  • Causes a slight boost in metabolism when eating extra protein

Aim for about 4-6 oz of lean ground pork 1-2 times per week as part of a reduced calorie meal plan for weight loss. Pair with plenty of non-starchy vegetables, whole grains, beans or lentils, and healthy fats from foods like avocado, nuts, or olive oil.

Precautions for eating ground pork

While ground pork can be healthy in moderation, there are some precautions to keep in mind:

  • Avoid undercooked pork, which may contain harmful bacteria. Cook to an internal temperature of 160°F.
  • Limit intake of processed ground pork products high in sodium like sausage, bacon, or hot dogs.
  • Choose lean or extra lean ground pork and drain fat during cooking to reduce saturated fat intake.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked ground pork due to risk of foodborne parasites.
  • Consult your doctor if you have a condition like gout that requires restricting high purine foods like pork.

As long as you choose lean cuts and practice proper cooking temperatures, ground pork can be enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet. Pair with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and healthy oils for the most benefits.


Ground pork is moderate in calories and fat compared to other types of ground meat. While not as lean as chicken breast, extra lean ground pork contains around 25-30% fewer calories per serving compared to regular lean ground beef. Ground pork is also an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. For maximum health benefits, choose at least 90% lean ground pork, cook thoroughly to 160°F, and incorporate into a diet focused on whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and healthy oils.

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