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Jan 11, 2010 03:48 PM

18% meat protein in meat and don't understand.


So, my mother in law often send food our way that she buys and don't like (...) and this week is "seasoned pork loin center steak" it's from a grocery shop near by with no brand name on it. It came already frozen with some spices in the middle of the steak.

Under the name you can read "18% meat protein"
On the ingredient list, 1st is pork, second is salt, and the the list of spices and a bunch of preservative with names only chemists of this world understand.
What I don't understand is, why did they wrote 18% meat protein?
Isn't meat protein already? or is meat protein some sort of fake meat?

This is probably a stupid question but, I never buy meat already prepared. I always go to the butcher and I see what I buy and if I say "Beef" I know I will get beef and season it myself so I know what's in it.

Also, would the preservative be bad for me if I have thyroid problems?

Thanks Chow people!

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  1. The amount of protein contained in a cut of meat will vary somewhat depending on the cut, but meat is mostly water so the percentage of protein will be surprisingly low.

    Example (from the USDA SR21 nutrient database):

    Pork, fresh, enhanced, loin, tenderloin, separable lean and fat, raw
    NDB No: 10951 Date: 1/11/2010 18:19
    Measure: 100 gram
    Gram weight (edible portion): 100.00 g
    Refuse: 3%
    Nutrient Units Value
    Water g 76.10
    Energy kcal 109
    Energy kj 456
    Protein g 20.16
    Total lipid (fat) g 3.14
    Ash g 1.54
    Carbohydrate, by difference g 0.00
    Fiber, total dietary g 0.0
    Sugars, total g 0.00
    Calcium, Ca mg 5
    Iron, Fe mg 0.91
    Magnesium, Mg mg 23
    Phosphorus, P mg 286
    Potassium, K mg 519
    Sodium, Na mg 239
    Zinc, Zn mg 1.72
    Copper, Cu mg 0.102
    Manganese, Mn mg 0.010
    Selenium, Se mcg 34.7
    Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 0.0
    Thiamin mg 0.745
    Riboflavin mg 0.333
    Niacin mg 6.382
    Pantothenic acid mg 0.819
    Vitamin B-6 mg 0.746
    Folate, total mcg 0
    Folic acid mcg 0
    Folate, food mcg 0
    Folate, DFE mcg_DFE 0
    Vitamin B-12 mcg 0.52
    Vitamin A, IU IU 0
    Vitamin A, RAE mcg_RAE 0
    Retinol mcg 0
    Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 0.21
    Vitamin K (phylloquinone) mcg 0.0
    Choline, total mg 77.7
    Betaine mg 2.9
    Fatty acids, total saturated g 1.045
    4:0 g 0.000
    6:0 g 0.000
    8:0 g 0.000
    10:0 g 0.001
    12:0 g 0.001
    14:0 g 0.034
    15:0 g 0.001
    16:0 g 0.642
    17:0 g 0.007
    18:0 g 0.358
    22:0 g 0.000
    Fatty acids, total monounsaturated g 1.198
    14:1 g 0.000
    15:1 g 0.000
    16:1 undifferentiated g 0.067
    17:1 g 0.000
    18:1 undifferentiated g 1.112
    18:1 c g 1.092
    18:1 t g 0.020
    20:1 g 0.018
    22:1 undifferentiated g 0.000
    Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated g 0.503
    18:2 undifferentiated g 0.424
    18:2 n-6 c,c g 0.413
    Nutrient Units Value
    18:2 t,t g 0.011
    18:3 undifferentiated g 0.014
    18:3 n-3 c,c,c g 0.014
    18:3 n-6 c,c,c g 0.000
    18:4 g 0.000
    20:2 n-6 c,c g 0.012
    20:3 undifferentiated g 0.001
    20:4 undifferentiated g 0.052
    20:5 n-3 g 0.000
    22:5 n-3 g 0.000
    22:6 n-3 g 0.000
    Fatty acids, total trans g 0.032
    Fatty acids, total trans-monoenoic g 0.020
    Cholesterol mg 49
    Tryptophan g 0.212
    Threonine g 0.905
    Isoleucine g 0.992
    Leucine g 1.717
    Lysine g 1.869
    Methionine g 0.555
    Cystine g 0.233
    Phenylalanine g 0.847
    Tyrosine g 0.767
    Valine g 1.053
    Arginine g 1.341
    Histidine g 0.871
    Alanine g 1.183
    Aspartic acid g 1.972
    Glutamic acid g 3.218
    Glycine g 0.908
    Proline g 0.815
    Serine g 0.871
    Hydroxyproline g 0.052
    Alcohol, ethyl g 0.0
    Caffeine mg 0
    Theobromine mg 0
    Carotene, beta mcg 0
    Carotene, alpha mcg 0
    Cryptoxanthin, beta mcg 0
    Lycopene mcg 0
    Lutein + zeaxanthin mcg 0
    Vitamin E, added mg 0.00

    3 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Like you and me, it is 70+% water.

      2. re: hannaone

        I cooked the meat tonight and it ended up being so dry and salty. Tasted nothing like pork. Bleh, never again!

        Thanks for your answer.

      3. The other answers here make sense but are misunderstanding the label's use of the word "protein". I'm going to quote the research book "Processed Meats: Improving Safety, Nutrition, and Quality" and then explain in more detail what the label is telling you.
        "When the protein content was reduced to 8% small fat loses started to appear[....]. It should be mentioned that 8% is a very low level and not used for practical reasons, as well as because of legal requirements. Raising the amount of meat proteins reduced fat and fluid losses in beef [when cooked]. A high protein level formed a denser protein network within the batter, and helped restrict fat and fluid migration out of these products."
        The book is discussing the effect of lowering the amount of animal tissue used in the batters of processed foods on the quality of the food once cooked. The higher the % on the label, the more animal tissue in the food. The reason you do not see this on Prime brand chicken breast is because that meat has not been processed. It is 100% animal proteins. Certain foods, especially seasoned pork products can be highly processed without losing too much of the original flavors and textures. Basically, if you see something that says 14%, 18%, 20% etc. "meat protein" the company is telling you that the original meat has been altered and only that percentage is the amount of animal proteins present in the new product. *In Canada it is against the law to offer anything less than 14% to consumers.* Even though it might look like a butcher fresh pork loin, it might be a highly processed food that has been shaped to appear familiar. For health reasons, make sure to check your labels.