Pork rinds are a popular snack, especially among those following a low-carb or keto diet. They’re crispy, crunchy, and satisfyingly salty.
But are they causing more harm than good?
Some people report experiencing bloating, gas, and other digestive issues after eating pork rinds.
In this article, we’ll explore whether or not pork rinds really do cause gas and what other potential health concerns you should be aware of before reaching for that bag of crunchy goodness.
So, let’s dive in and investigate the truth behind this beloved snack.
Do Pork Rinds Cause Gas?
The short answer is yes, pork rinds can cause gas. This is because they are high in fat and low in fiber, which can slow down digestion and lead to bloating and gas.
Additionally, some people may be sensitive to the processing methods used to make pork rinds. They are a highly processed food, which means they may contain additives and preservatives that can irritate the digestive system.
It’s also worth noting that everyone’s digestive system is different. Some people may be able to enjoy pork rinds without any issues, while others may experience discomfort.
If you’re experiencing gas or bloating after eating pork rinds, it may be worth cutting back or eliminating them from your diet to see if your symptoms improve.
What Are Pork Rinds?
Pork rinds are a popular snack made from the skin of a pig. They are also known as chicharrones and are consumed in various parts of the world, including the United States, Mexico, and other countries. Pork rinds are made by first simmering pig skin in water until the fat has rendered and the skin has shrunk in size. The skin is then cut into small pieces called “pellets” and chilled to remove any excess fat. The pellets are then partially dehydrated in an oven for eight to 10 hours, removing most of their moisture. Finally, the pork skin is deep-fried at high temperatures, causing it to puff up into a crispy snack. Pork rinds can be seasoned with salt, spices, sauces, or other flavorings. They have a savory, pork flavor and eat like a bacon-flavored chip. Pork rinds are especially popular among low-carb diets because they are high in protein and fat but low in carbohydrates. However, they can cause gas and bloating due to their high-fat content and low fiber content. Additionally, some people may be sensitive to the additives and preservatives used in processing pork rinds.
The Low-carb And Keto Craze
The low-carb and keto diet craze has led to a surge in popularity for pork rinds. As a snack that is high in protein and fat, and contains zero carbs, pork rinds are a perfect fit for those following a low-carb or keto diet plan.
The Atkins Diet, developed in the 1960s by cardiologist Robert C. Atkins, is a high-protein, high-fat diet that strictly restricts carbs. The keto diet, on the other hand, emphasizes high-fat foods with about 60 to 80% of calories coming from fat. It provides some protein and less than 50 grams of carbs a day. The paleo diet is based on foods similar to those eaten by prehistoric humans who were hunters and gatherers.
Pork rinds are a great substitution for many high-carb foods like breadcrumbs. They are high in fats and contain zero carbs, which fits into the ideal keto macro breakdown for ketosis. Fans of keto and low-carb diets enjoy pork rinds as a low-carb substitute for potato chips or pretzels.
However, it’s important to note that not all pork rinds are created equal. Some brands may contain additives and preservatives that can irritate the digestive system. It’s crucial to understand the factors that can make a naturally-healthy product — such as fried pork skin — unhealthy. Look for pork rinds that are fried in animal fat (i.e., lard), coconut or avocado oil, made from pastured or responsibly-raised pigs, and contain simple ingredients you can recognize.
The Link Between Pork Rinds And Gas
As mentioned earlier, pork rinds are high in fat and low in fiber, which can slow down digestion and lead to gas and bloating. When food moves slowly through the digestive system, it can ferment and produce gas as a byproduct. This can be especially problematic for individuals with digestive issues or those who are sensitive to certain foods.
In addition to their nutrient composition, the processing methods used to make pork rinds may also contribute to gas and bloating. Highly processed foods often contain additives and preservatives that can irritate the digestive system and lead to discomfort.
It’s important to note that not everyone will experience gas or bloating after eating pork rinds. Some individuals may be able to tolerate them without any issues, while others may need to limit their intake or avoid them altogether.
If you’re experiencing gas or bloating after eating pork rinds, it may be helpful to keep a food diary and track your symptoms. This can help you identify any patterns or triggers and make adjustments to your diet as needed.
Other Potential Health Concerns
In addition to potential digestive issues, consuming pork rinds may also lead to other health concerns. Pork rinds are high in sodium, which can contribute to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. They are also high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can raise LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
Furthermore, consuming too many processed snack foods like pork rinds can lead to weight gain and obesity. A study found that people who ate more ultra-processed foods had a higher body mass index (BMI) and more excess weight. Excess weight, particularly visceral fat stored in the abdominal area, is linked to insulin resistance and an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.
While pork rinds can be enjoyed as a tasty snack in moderation, it’s important to be aware of their potential health concerns and to balance them with a healthy diet that includes plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables.
Tips For Enjoying Pork Rinds In Moderation
If you enjoy eating pork rinds and want to continue including them in your diet, it’s important to do so in moderation. Here are some tips for enjoying pork rinds without overindulging:
1. Use them as a topping: Instead of snacking on pork rinds out of the bag, try using them as a crunchy topping on roasted vegetables or a salad. This way, you can enjoy their flavor without consuming too many calories or sodium.
2. Compare brands: When purchasing pork rinds, it’s important to compare brands. Look for ones that are lower in sodium and free of artificial flavors and colors. Be sure to read the nutrition label carefully to ensure that you’re choosing a healthier option.
3. Eat them alongside other foods: Pairing pork rinds with other foods can help to balance out their high fat content. For example, you could enjoy them with a side of fresh vegetables or a piece of fruit.
4. Choose organic, pasture-raised pigs: Most pork rinds are made from the skins of pigs that are raised on large-scale conventional pig farms. However, some smaller, organic pig farms make pork rinds. If you’re concerned about conventional pig farming practices, look for brands that are made from organic, pasture-raised pigs.
5. Don’t rely on pork rinds as a main source of nutrition: While pork rinds can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation, they should not be relied upon as a main source of nutrition. Be sure to incorporate a variety of nutrient-rich foods into your diet to ensure that you’re meeting your body’s needs.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the flavor and crunch of pork rinds without overindulging or experiencing digestive discomfort. Remember to listen to your body and make adjustments to your diet as needed.