If you’re a fan of crunchy snacks, you may have come across pickled pork skins, also known as pork rinds.
These crispy treats are a popular snack in many cultures and are often touted as a low-carb, high-protein snack option. However, with concerns about processed foods and high sodium content, you may be wondering if pickled pork skins are actually healthy.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the nutritional value of pickled pork skins and whether they can fit into a healthy diet. So, grab a bag of your favorite snack and let’s dive in!
Are Pickled Pork Skins Healthy?
Pickled pork skins, also known as pork rinds, are a snack that has been enjoyed for centuries. They are made by frying the skin of a pig until it becomes crispy and then seasoning it with various spices and flavors.
One of the main benefits of pickled pork skins is that they are low in net carbs, making them a popular snack choice for those following a ketogenic diet. They are also free of non-keto ingredients such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, and highly refined oils.
However, it’s important to note that pickled pork skins are a highly processed food. Processed foods tend to have more fat, sugar, and salt than fresh, unprocessed foods. People also tend to consume more calories when eating highly processed foods.
In addition, pickled pork skins are high in sodium. If you eat a 2-ounce bag, you’re consuming up to 50% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for sodium. When your diet is high in sodium, more water is pulled into your bloodstream. This increases the amount of blood and blood pressure, which can harm your blood vessels and organs.
Pickled pork skins are also high in saturated fat and cholesterol. This unhealthy combination can raise your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels — the “bad” kind of cholesterol.
What Are Pickled Pork Skins?
Pickled pork skins, also known as cueritos, are a popular snack in Mexican, Venezuelan, and Spanish cuisine. They are made by pickling the skin of a pig in vinegar and spices. The vinegar helps to preserve the pork skin while also giving it a tangy flavor. The spices used can vary, but often include bay leaves, coriander seeds, black pepper corns, red pepper flakes, oregano, and marjoram.
While pickled pork skins may be low in net carbs and free of non-keto ingredients, they are still a highly processed food. This means that they are high in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol. It’s important to consume them in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
Nutritional Value Of Pickled Pork Skins
When it comes to the nutritional value of pickled pork skins, it’s important to consider their macronutrient and micronutrient content. One serving of pickled pork skins (about 14 grams) contains approximately 80 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein.
In terms of micronutrients, pickled pork skins are a good source of selenium, a mineral that plays a key role in immune function and thyroid health. They also contain small amounts of other minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium.
However, it’s important to note that pickled pork skins are not a significant source of vitamins. They contain trace amounts of B vitamins such as niacin and thiamin, but they do not provide significant amounts of vitamin C or vitamin A.
It’s also important to consider the % Daily Value (DV) when looking at the nutritional value of pickled pork skins. The DV tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet based on a 2,000 calorie diet. One serving of pickled pork skins provides around 4% of the DV for protein and 2% for fat.
Health Benefits Of Pickled Pork Skins
While pickled pork skins do have some drawbacks, they also offer some health benefits. One of the main advantages of pickled pork skins is that they are a good source of protein. They provide about 18 grams of protein per ounce (28 grams), making them a great snack choice for those who need to increase their protein intake.
Pickled pork skins are also an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, with about 7 grams of fat per ounce. This type of fat is considered healthy and can help lower bad cholesterol levels in the body. Additionally, pork rinds made of deep-fried pig skin (or baked sometimes) also have about 5-7 grams of collagen protein per half-ounce serving, which aids the body’s cellular communication, immune response, and tissue repair process.
Another benefit of pickled pork skins is that they are a carb-free snack, which makes them appealing to those on a low-carb diet. They are also free from sugar, artificial sweeteners, and highly refined oils, making them a healthier alternative to other processed snacks.
Potential Drawbacks Of Pickled Pork Skins
While pickled pork skins may be a popular snack, they do come with some potential drawbacks. One major concern is that they are high in calories, sodium, and saturated fat. Consuming too much of these nutrients can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
In addition, pickled pork skins are a highly processed food. Highly processed foods are often loaded with salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. These ingredients can contribute to a wide range of health problems, including obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Another potential drawback of pickled pork skins is that they are often made from factory-farmed pigs. Factory farming can be harmful to the environment and can lead to animal cruelty. Additionally, some pickled pork skins may contain additives or preservatives that are not healthy for human consumption.
Finally, it’s worth noting that pickled pork skins are a banned item in some countries due to the potential for introducing foreign animal diseases. This means that if you travel internationally with pickled pork skins, you could face fines or other penalties.
How To Incorporate Pickled Pork Skins Into A Healthy Diet
While pickled pork skins may not be the healthiest snack option, they can still be incorporated into a healthy diet in moderation. Here are some tips on how to enjoy pickled pork skins without overindulging:
1. Portion control: Limit your intake of pickled pork skins to a small serving size, such as a handful or two.
2. Pair with healthy foods: Pair your pickled pork skins with healthy foods such as fresh vegetables or fruit to balance out the high sodium and fat content.
3. Use as a topping: Use pickled pork skins as a crunchy topping for salads or soups instead of eating them on their own.
4. Make your own: If you’re up for a challenge, try making your own pickled pork skins at home using fresh, unprocessed ingredients and healthier oils.
5. Choose wisely: When purchasing pickled pork skins, look for brands that use healthier oils like avocado or coconut oil and have lower sodium and fat content.