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Why is turkey better for you than pork?
I don't necessarily believe that turkey is better for you than pork, nor is it necessarily better for you than any other land animal protein, for that matter.
The research has shown recently that we need to worry less about the type of land animal protein we eat - whether that is beef, chicken, turkey or pork - and eat less of it, period. Even more important than limiting the amount of land animal proteins you eat is limiting the amount of processed meats. For example, turkey sausage is not a great choice just because it is turkey - if you had to choose between the two, you would be better off consuming the same amount of pork tenderloin.
What we have learned is that processed meats are more of a health hazard than the type of meat it is made from. The best strategy for overall health is to reduce the overall consumption of land animal proteins, replacing them with some seafood and more plant based foods. (This does not mean you must adopt a wholly plant-based diet.)
In Mediterranean diet studies the people who are the healthiest are those who consume less meat from land animals (beef, chicken, pork), more seafood, and more vegetables. Those studies generally group all land animal meats together - it doesn't seem to matter what type of meat as long as it is less processed meat.
Here are some articles we've written on the risks of consuming processed meats:
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP