This is the part I love; pork tenderloin is diet food.  If you are a carnivore working on controlling your weight then you are painfully familiar with boneless skinless chicken breasts.  They were fun for the first few weeks and by now you are sick of looking at them.  An equivalent amount of grilled pork tenderloin is lower in calories and fat than chicken breast and has nearly the same amount of protein.  There is absolutely no reason to not be cooking this stuff.

One of the challenges when trying to compare the nutritional analysis of different foods is that the portion sizes are never consistent between products and there is no solid benchmark as to what the sizes mean.  I have tackled this problem by taking the nutritional information for various lean proteins and scaling them against a standard grill classic, a Johnsonville Bratwurst.  According to Johnsonville, a single serving of a bratwurst weighs 82 grams, contains 260 calories, 21 grams of fat and 14 grams of protein.  So how do the traditional lean proteins stand up against this benchmark?  The information is given below assuming a 82 grams serving size.

Food                                                  Calories                Fat          Protein

  • Bratwurst                            260                         21g         14g
  • Chicken breast                    135                         3g           25g
  • Pork tenderloin                   120                         3g           21g
  • Canned tuna in water         104                         2g           18g
  • Tofu                                      83                           1g           8g
  • Egg Whites                          40                           0              7g

I believe the tenderloin deserves a little more appreciation on this front with nutritional qualities similar to chicken breast and tuna fish.  Repeated studies have demonstrated that eating protein helps you feel full longer than eating an equivalent caloric amount of carbohydrates.  Supposedly this is because it takes the body longer to break down and digest proteins than carbs.  The trick is to increase your protein intake while keeping your fat intake at a minimal level.  I will humbly suggest that eating pork tenderloin fits that description perfectly.   Obviously if you are making fried tenderloin sandwiches or are wrapping it in bacon then you can throw these numbers out the window.

There is another underappreciated aspect of tenderloin on the diet front, that of creativity and fun.  At its core, the key to successfully losing weight involves diet and exercise.  One of the things that make this hard is that dieting is very stressful.  We are constantly being reminded, either by others or ourselves, of all the things we should not eat.  The end result is a monotonous diet of egg white omelets and grilled chicken salad (no dressing please) that no sane person can tolerate for more than a few weeks.  The leanness of tenderloin allows us to have another creative, delicious outlet to break the stressful monotony of dieting.  Does pork tenderloin stuffed with spinach and feta cheese served with sides of herb roasted new potatoes and grilled summer squash sound like diet food to you?  It should.