4 Health Risks Associated With Eating Pork

health risks of eating pork

Pork is consumed in different parts of the world, either in the form of the red meat itself or processed meat. Processed pork products like bacon, salami, sausages, and hot dogs are popular as they are easy to make and convenient.

Although these pork products have been used for several years now, there are several health risks associated with its consumption due to the way it is handled or even cooked. Infected pigs can pose a serious threat to your health and must be consumed in moderation or avoided. Otherwise, cooking it well is a good way to kill the bacteria and virus that it carries.


Health Risks Associated With Eating Pork

Here are a few reasons that may make you want to avoid eating pork:

1. Trichinosis

uncooked and infected pig meat can lead to trichinosis


The roundworm Trichinella spiralis can infect animals, including pigs. Eating raw or undercooked meat of these infected animals can cause Trichinosis. The infected meat contains immature worms or trichinella cysts that grow into adult roundworms in the intestine that multiply and enter the blood stream. These worms can affect your heart, lungs, brain, diaphragm, and also the brain.1 2

Trichinosis can cause muscle weakness or pain, fever, diarrhea, heart problems, and cramps. When eating pork, ensure that it is cooked properly to avoid health problems as in severe cases, trichinosis can also lead to death. Additionally, smoking, salting, and drying pork doesn’t kill the worms.


2. Hepatitis E

pigs are the primary carriers of hepatitis E virus

Hepatitis E is a liver disease that is caused due to the Hepatitis E virus. Pigs can be the carriers of this virus, and eating the undercooked or raw meat of an infected animal can lead to serious health problems in humans.3 Symptoms of hepatitis E infection include loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, dark urine or jaundice. 4


Food products that contain raw pork liver can harbor the Hepatitis E virus.5 Pregnant women must be careful as consuming infected pork can have serious complications, even death of the mother and fetus.6

3. Cancer

eating too much pork can lead to colon cancer


Processed meat is preserved by smoking or salting, that can lead to the formation of carcinogens and in turn, lead to the development of cancer. Red meat, like pork, is linked to colorectal or bowel cancer as it contains a compound called heme iron that can damage the lining of your colon.7 8 Furthermore, processed meat and red meat consumption are also associated with pancreatic cancer.9

To reduce the risk of cancer, limit your consumption of pork products to 18 ounces per week.10


4. Heart Diseases

saturated fats increase the risk of heart diseases

Other than increasing your weight, saturated fats have negative impacts on your heart health. They increase the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the body, therefore increasing the risk of developing heart diseases.11


Processed meat like sausages or bacon is more harmful than the red meat as it contains more amount of saturated fat and is usually fried for consumption. If you are already at the risk of heart diseases or have a history, try to avoid pork products completely.