Thursday, February 4, 2010

Are Pork Rinds Bad For Us Really?

I was looking up a recipe that uses pork rinds and came across a post by Dana Carpender, one of my favorite low carb cookbook authors. I've had some people giving me funny looks when I've told them some of the things I've made with pork rinds lately (after all, aren't pork rinds bad for us?). Here is part of what Dana wrote that I thought was rather interesting....

"It’s no surprise that 1 ounce of plain pork rinds has no carbohydrate. But you may be surprised to learn that pork rinds have almost twice as much protein as they do fat. You’ll get 8.8 grams of fat, and 17 grams of protein, almost as much as three eggs! 155 calories. All of this makes pork rinds quite satisfying –– a 1 ounce bag should keep you full for hours.
More surprising, over half the fat in pork rinds is monounsaturated. 4.1 grams of the fat in pork rinds are monounsaturated, and another 1 gram is polyunsaturated. Just 3.3 grams are saturated fat, though I should add that I am convinced that natural saturated fats are a healthy food.
By comparison, 1 ounce of potato chips has almost the same calorie count –– 152 calories –– with 15 grams of high-impact carbohydrate. They have 9.8 grams of fat –– a gram more than the pork rinds –– and just 1.98 grams of protein. All this adds up to a predictable blood sugar roller-coaster –– and the hunger that comes with it.
Potato chips have less monounsaturated fat than pork rinds –– just 2.7 grams. The saturated fat content is nearly the same, at 3.1 grams. All of this adds up to pork rinds being a healthier and far more filling snack choice than potato chips.
How about other snacks? Corn puffs have 15.3 grams of carb, with only 2.15 grams of protein. They contain 9.8 grams of fat, and 157 calories. You knew these weren’t a healthy snack, right? Pretzels have been touted as a healthier alternative, because they’re low fat –– but they have 22.5 grams of carb in one ounce, all of it from refined white flour. Only 2.6 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fat –– you’ll be hungry again very soon.
Nuts and seeds make good low carb snacks, with plenty of healthy fats, protein, and minerals, and fiber that pork rinds lack. But if you’re keeping your carbs to “induction” levels –– 20 grams a day or less –– pork rinds are a better choice.
So despite their reputation, pork rinds are a perfectly respectable food, offering more in the way of nutritional value and hunger satisfaction than most things that come in cellophane bags."

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