It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Ask Dr. Gourmet

Is turkey better for you than pork?

Why is turkey better for you than pork?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a sliced pork tenderloin

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:

Age faster with processed meats
Will eating more vegetables reduce the risk associated with red meat?
Red Meat is Fine! Redux
Prostate Cancer
Colorectal Cancer

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet