Pork Rinds Are ‘Back,’ But Are They Worth It?
By Sara Butler
I’ve recently noticed a much larger presence of a snack I thought had been lost to history, at least where I live in the midwest: the pork rind. Of course, now you see them gracefully packaged as “chicharrones” or “bacon rinds,” both of which sound much more refined and exotic than the prevailing description when I was a kid.
I don’t have much experience with pork rinds, as I’ve always kind of thought of them as, well, unappetizing. I remember my grandmother snacking on them, but this was a woman who was a product of the Great Depression, so head cheese was also a solid part of her diet.
It seems like pork rinds are making a comeback and that got me thinking, which is a dangerous pastime in itself. Knowing what we do now about fats and protein, are pork rinds a good snack choice? At The Joint Chiropractic, we’re nothing if not thorough. Here’s what you need to know about pork rinds and whether they’re a smart snack for your overall health or an old fad made new that you should let fall back into the pages of snack history.
Pork Rinds: How They’re Made
How are pork rinds made? This might be a question right up there with how hot dogs are made, but we’ll just keep going.
Pork rinds are made from pork skin, a byproduct of pork processing procedures. The skins are frozen and then sold to companies who produce pork rinds, where they are then boiled to render the fat and soften the skin. After that, the excess fat is scraped away, and the skin is cut into small pieces. Next, it’s dehydrated until it becomes brittle. After that, the dried rind is deep-fried to produce its crispy and puffy texture. Seasoning is applied in the final step before being packaged.
That wasn’t so bad, was it?
Pork Rinds: The Nutritional Breakdown
Pork rinds have likely become a more sought-after snack because of the low-carb and keto diets people ascribe to. After all, one thing that pork rinds have going for them is that they’re high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
In general, a single, two-ounce serving will be about 300 calories with 35 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat. You’re also getting a whopping 1,000 milligrams of sodium. They don’t contain any fiber and there are no discernable vitamins or minerals in your favorite pork rind, either.
You also have to be on the lookout for the artificial colors, preservatives, and flavor enhancers added to some pork rinds.
Pork rinds are a calorie-dense snack that is also high in saturated fat and sodium. If they’re your go-to munchie, then you may find yourself struggling to control your blood pressure and you may also notice that you’re packing on a few pounds. These factors can increase your risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
If you like pork rinds, then simply have them in moderation. Also, compare the nutritional information on the back of the bag between different brands. Some won’t have a bunch of additives and those should be the pork rinds of choice in your diet. Look for brands with lower sodium content, too. And always remember: At the end of the day, pork rinds are highly processed snacks, and the more you can limit highly processed foods in your diet, the healthier you will be.
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