Are Pork Chops Good For Weight Loss?

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Are Pork Chops Good For Weight Loss?

Are pork chops good for weight loss? Yes, when prepared wisely and eaten in moderation, pork chops are okay to include in a balanced and healthy diet.

Packed with lean protein and essential nutrients, these cuts of meat can provide a satisfying meal without breaking your calorie bank.

However, like all foods, the devil is in the details. How you choose to cook your pork chop, the portion size, and the cut of meat all play a significant role in determining whether your pork chop is a friend or foe to your waistline.

So, let’s get to the meat of the matter and find out how this delicious cooked meat stacks up when it comes to weight loss.

Nutritional Value of Pork Chops

As per the USDA 1 cup of cooked pork chops contains the following nutrients:

Serving size: 1 cup (134 g)

  • Calories: 283

  • Protein: 37 g

  • Fat: 14 g

  • Carbs: 0 g

  • Sugar: 0 g

The Potential Benefits of Pork Chops for Weight Loss

Now, let’s take a look at the brighter side of the coin. Can eating fresh lean pork chops really be a useful tool in your weight loss arsenal? Absolutely! Let’s dive into the details and see exactly how this flavorful protein can contribute to your weight loss journey.


Let’s start with the fact that protein, which pork chops are rich in, is known to be incredibly satiating.

When you eat a meal with protein, it fills you up quickly and helps you stay full longer, compared to carbohydrates or fat. But why is this the case?

Well, protein reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and boosts peptide YY, a hormone that makes you feel full.

In other words, protein puts up a pretty solid fight against those mid-afternoon snack cravings.

And if you’re not frequently reaching for high-calorie snacks, you’re more likely to stay within your calorie budget, which is crucial for weight loss.

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)

a person checking the temperature of a food cooking

It turns out that eating can actually burn calories. Yes, you read that right!

This phenomenon is known as the thermic effect of food, which is the energy our bodies use to metabolize food. Not all foods are equal in this aspect, though.

Protein has a higher TEF compared to fats and carbs, meaning it requires more energy to digest.

So when you enjoy a lean pork chop, your body is expending more energy (or burning more calories) to digest it compared to other nutrients.

This increased energy expenditure can contribute to weight loss over time.

Muscle Maintenance

a muscular man without his shirt on

When we talk about weight loss, what we’re really interested in is losing fat, not muscle.

However, when you’re in a calorie deficit (which is necessary for weight loss), your body could potentially break down muscle for energy.

This is where protein, like that found in lean pork chops, comes into play.

Consuming enough protein helps protect your muscles and encourages your body to use fat for energy instead.

Preserving muscle is essential because muscle is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even at rest.

So, maintaining or even building muscle can help increase your resting metabolic rate, further supporting your weight loss efforts.

An abundance of Vitamins and Minerals

a woman with a pan

Alongside its commendable protein profile, pork chops also contain an array of vitamins and minerals.

One of these is selenium, a potent antioxidant that plays a critical role in maintaining your immune system and thyroid function.

Also, pork is a fantastic source of B vitamins, particularly B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6, and B12.

These essential nutrients contribute to energy production and the maintenance of brain function, among other bodily processes.

Including pork in your weight loss diet ensures you’re not missing out on these vital nutrients.

Low Glycemic Index (GI)

a magnifying glass with the text glycemic index on it

Pork has a low glycemic index, meaning it has minimal impact on your blood sugar levels.

Low-GI foods help maintain steady blood sugar, which is crucial for avoiding those sugar highs and lows that can trigger overeating.

By incorporating low-GI foods like pork into your diet, you’re setting yourself up for a more sustained and balanced energy release, helping to keep those hunger pangs at bay.

Downsides of Consuming Pork Chops for Weight Loss

As with everything in life, moderation is needed. While you can eat pork chops in your weight-loss diet, it’s also essential to be aware of the potential pitfalls.

Fat Content

Some cuts, like pork belly or even a ribeye pork chop, can be pretty hefty in the fat department. But why does this matter?

Well, fat is the most calorie-dense macronutrient, with 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for proteins and carbs.

This means that a fatty pork chop can quickly turn into a calorie bomb, potentially undermining your weight loss efforts if not accounted for in your daily calorie intake.

Preparation Method

two women cooking in the kitchen

You could start with the leanest cut of pork, but if it takes a dive into a deep fryer or gets breaded before hitting your plate, the calorie count skyrockets.

Certain cooking methods, like frying or breading, can add significant amounts of unhealthy fats and extra calories to your meal.

What’s more, high-temperature cooking methods can lead to the formation of harmful compounds like advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which have been linked to inflammation and chronic disease.

Always ensure your pork chops are thoroughly cooked, as raw or undercooked pork can lead to foodborne illnesses.

Sauce and Seasonings

multiple bowls of sauces laying on a brown surface

Let’s say you’ve selected a lean cut, and cooked it using a healthy method, but then you slather it in a high-sugar, high-fat sauce.

This could essentially undo your good intentions. Sauces, while often enhancing the flavor, can bring a slew of hidden calories, sugars, and sodium.

Portion Sizes

This is a significant point to consider. Even if your pork chop checks all the boxes – it’s lean, cooked healthily, and lightly seasoned – overconsumption can still derail your weight loss journey.

Remember, the key to weight loss is creating a sustainable calorie deficit, and that includes portion control for all foods, even those high-quality proteins.

Potential Sodium Content

a spoonfull of salt with the text eat less salt on it

Depending on the method of processing and preparation, pork chops can contain significant levels of sodium.

High sodium intake can lead to water retention and potentially contribute to increased blood pressure.

As a result, even if they’re low in calories, very salty pork chops might not be the best choice for those trying to lose weight, especially if they are watching their sodium intake due to health concerns.

Incorporating Pork Chops into a Balanced and Healthy Weight Loss Diet

So, how can you include pork chops in your diet without feeling guilty? The answer lies in mindful meal planning. Let’s explore how to make pork chops a delicious and nutritious part of your weight loss regimen.

Selecting the Right Cut

If weight loss is the goal, you’ll want to gravitate toward the leanest cuts of pork. Center-cut pork chops and pork tenderloin are often the go-to options.

These lean cuts will give you a substantial protein boost without the extra fat and calories found in fattier cuts like pork belly.

Cooking Methods Matter

Once you’ve chosen your lean cut, the next step is how to cook it. Grilling, broiling, and baking are the methods that keep the calorie count low while still bringing out the delicious flavor of the meat.

In fact, grilling can even help drain off excess fat, further reducing the calorie count.

On the other hand, deep-frying or breading can add extra calories and unhealthy fats.

So save the deep-fried pork chops for special occasions and enjoy your grilled or broiled chops as part of your regular weight loss plan.

Flavor Without the Fuss

Herbs, spices, and low-calorie sauces can add plenty of flavor to your pork chop without derailing your diet.

You might marinate your chop in a mix of garlic, rosemary, and olive oil, or you could top your grilled chop with a squeeze of fresh lemon or a light glaze of low-sugar BBQ sauce.

Remember, sauces and marinades can sneak in hidden calories, sugars, and sodium, so be sure to measure them and count them in your daily intake.

Portion Control is Key

Even with the leanest cut and the healthiest cooking method, portion sizes are still crucial.

A portion of meat is typically 3 ounces (about the size of a deck of cards), which provides plenty of protein without overdoing the calories.

Incorporating a portion of pork with a variety of colorful veggies and a complex carb, like sweet potato or brown rice, can provide a balanced, satisfying meal that supports your weight loss goals.

Balance with Other Proteins

Variety is the spice of life, and the same goes for your diet. Balance your pork intake with other lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, or plant-based proteins.

This will ensure you get a wide range of nutrients and keeps your diet diverse and enjoyable.

Alternatives to Pork Chops For Weight Loss

Not a big fan of pork chops or looking for more variety in your protein sources? No problem! There’s a plethora of alternatives that can equally support your weight loss journey. Let’s delve into some worthy replacements you might want to consider.

Chicken Breast

two pieces of chicken breast on a pan

This lean meat might be the first alternative that springs to mind and for good reason.

Skinless chicken breast is low in fat, high in protein, and rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Its versatility in recipes is a big plus, too.

Whether it’s grilled, baked, or thrown into a stir-fry, chicken breast is a nutritious and satisfying alternative to pork chops.

Also Read: Are Chicken and Rice Good for Weight Loss?


fried fish served on white plate

From salmon and tuna to cod and halibut, the sea offers a fantastic array of protein-rich options.

Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can support weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness.

Lighter fish like cod or halibut are leaner but still pack a solid protein punch.

Also Read: Are Tamales Good for Weight Loss?


cooked turkey laying on a table

Turkey is another lean white meat that can serve as a substitute for pork chops.

Skinless turkey breast is similar to chicken in terms of its nutritional profile, being low in fat and high in protein.

Plus, it’s a great source of tryptophan, a precursor to the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin, which could potentially help curb emotional eating.

Also Read: Is Spam Good for Weight Loss?

Plant-Based Proteins

different dished made out of plant based foods

Don’t overlook plant-based proteins. Foods like tofu, tempeh, lentils, chickpeas, and edamame are high in protein and fiber, helping you to feel full and satisfied.

Plus, they’re packed with an array of other nutrients, adding to the nutritional diversity of your diet. And no, you don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to enjoy these foods!

Also Read: Are Protein Pancakes Good for Weight Loss?

Lean Red Meats

cut pieces of lean meat laying on a cutting board

Even red meats, often painted with a broad “unhealthy” brush, can have a place in a weight-loss diet when chosen wisely.

Lean cuts of beef or venison, for example, can provide high-quality protein along with nutrients like iron and vitamin B12.

Remember, red meats are typically higher in saturated fat than their lean white counterparts, so they should be enjoyed in moderation.

Also Read: Is Salami Good for Weight Loss?

Pork Chops Cooking Techniques for Weight Loss

While pork chops have the potential to be a part of a healthy weight-loss diet, the way you prepare them can make all the difference. Here are some healthier cooking techniques for pork chops:


Grilling is a great way to prepare boneless pork chops because it requires minimal added fat. It also imparts a smoky flavor that can reduce the need for calorie-laden sauces or marinades.

Remember to grill over medium heat to prevent the outside from charring before the inside is fully cooked.


Baking is another healthy option. It’s a hands-off method that doesn’t require additional fat. You could create a simple rub with herbs and spices to add flavor without adding calories.


Similar to baking, roasting bone-in pork chops in an oven can help to lock in moisture and flavor without the need for added fats or heavy sauces. Pair it with a side of roasted veggies for a full, balanced meal.


If you prefer a quick and easy method, try stir-frying your pork chops.

Cut them into small, thin strips and quickly stir-fry them with a variety of colorful veggies, add a bit of sweet chili sauce for a kick of flavor without adding too many extra calories.

Opt for a non-stick pan to minimize the amount of oil needed.


Marinating pork chops can tenderize the meat and infuse it with flavor. Opt for low-calorie marinades that use ingredients like mustard, vinegar, citrus juices, herbs, and spices.

Avoid high-sugar marinades as they add unnecessary calories and can cause the meat to burn.

Trimming the Fat

While some fat is necessary for flavor and moisture, you can trim the visible fat from the edges of the pork chop to reduce the overall fat and calorie content.


So, are pork chops good for weight loss? The answer depends largely on the cut, preparation, and portion size.

Incorporating lean pork chops into a balanced diet can provide high-quality protein and other essential nutrients while still supporting weight loss goals.

However, variety in protein sources remains key to a healthy, sustainable diet.

The next time you’re planning a weight-friendly meal, don’t shy away from that pork chop – just remember to keep it lean and flavorful!


Is pork OK to eat on a diet?

Yes, lean cuts of pork can be a part of a balanced diet, especially if you’re aiming for high-quality protein intake.

Is pork or chicken better for weight loss?

Both lean cuts of pork and chicken can be included in a weight-loss diet. Chicken breast might have slightly fewer calories, but the difference isn’t substantial enough to make a definitive call.

Is pork good for losing belly fat?

Pork, like any protein-rich food, can aid in weight loss if consumed as part of a balanced, calorie-controlled diet and combined with regular exercise. However, there’s no specific food that targets belly fat alone. Weight loss tends to occur across the body as a whole.

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Rahul is a professional nutritionist certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and a personal trainer certified through the American Council of Exercise (ACE). He has a special interest in the science of nutrition and how it can impact the body.

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