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Are Pork Rinds Healthy?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 02/19/2018

Pork rinds are a popular snack made by deep-frying pig skin. They are keto-friendly and a surprisingly healthy alternative to regular potato chips and pretzels.


Contrary to common belief, pork rinds can be part of a healthy diet if you choose minimally processed fried pork skin without synthetic ingredients. In fact, pork rinds are on the Healthy Keto® Food List!


If you want to eat pork rinds, it’s crucial to understand how to select the best quality products. Let’s talk about what to look for when choosing pork rinds—and how to use them in delicious keto recipes.

Plain pork rinds

Are pork rinds good for you?


Pork rinds, or pork scratchings, are made from rendered pig skin that has been boiled, dehydrated, and deep-fried, resulting in a puffed and crispy texture.


Because pork rinds are carb-free and have an excellent fat-to-protein ratio, pork rinds are perfect for keto diets and work well in many low-carb recipes.


Although pork rinds don't have significant amounts of beneficial vitamins, they are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, saturated fat, collagen, and selenium.


Eating pork rinds is healthier than snacking on potato chips and other processed snack foods high in carbs, trans fats, and artificial ingredients.


However, most pork rind products are ultra-processed and high in sodium or monosodium glutamate (MSG), a food additive commonly found in fast food and junk foods. MSG intake is linked to health problems, including migraines, high blood pressure, headaches, and chronic fatigue. 


To enjoy pork rinds as part of a healthy and nutritious diet, choose organic products that are minimally processed, MSG-free, low in sodium, and contain no artificial flavoring or preservatives.


Watch the video below to learn how to select the best quality pork rinds on a Healthy Keto diet. 

Three reasons to have pork rinds on keto


Pork rinds are great for keto; they are carb-free, high in protein, and rich in healthy fats.  


Here are three reasons why you can enjoy deep-fried pig skin as part of your Healthy Keto® diet. 

 

1. Rich source of healthy fats

Pork rind fat is a rich source of monounsaturated fat and oleic acid, the same fatty acid that makes olive oil and avocado oil so nutritious and healthy.


Monounsaturated fats and oleic acid raise heart-healthy HDL levels and lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol, which is linked to an increased risk of arterial plaques and heart disease.


Oleic acid is a fatty acid that helps your body to reduce C-reactive protein levels, a substance produced in your liver in response to inflammation. Healthy C-reactive protein levels lower the risk of inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and asthma. 


2. Packed with collagen 

Protein is an essential macronutrient needed for countless body functions, muscle development, and overall health and well-being.


Pork rinds are an excellent source of collagen, a protein crucial for forming and maintaining healthy bone, muscle, and tendons. Dietary collagen intake improves skin hydration and elasticity and has been found to reduce signs of aging, including wrinkles.  


3. Support weight-loss

Pork rinds are naturally carb-free, making them keto-approved and a healthy snack alternative to potato chips, popcorn, or crackers.


Compared to high-carb snack foods, pork rinds won't raise your blood sugar levels and will keep insulin production balanced. Insulin stimulates fat storage, and keeping insulin levels low helps you to lose weight and maintain a healthy waistline. 

fried pork skins

How to use pork rinds in keto recipes


Pork rinds are perfect if you are doing keto and craving a savory snack. Just remember that pork rinds provide a lot of energy, and snacking too much can quickly lead to weight gain–so it’s best to keep snacks to a minimum.


But pork rinds aren’t just a great alternative to potato chips. They’re versatile and a keto-friendly ingredient that adds flavor and crunch to many keto recipes.


Here are some ideas on how to use pork rinds in keto recipes:


  • Pork rinds are an excellent keto-approved alternative to breadcrumbs and can be used to coat meat, fish, and vegetables. If you love pork chops, try these delicious Pork Rind and Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops.

 

  • Crumble pork rinds in your salads, soups, and stews for texture and crunch.


  • Rather than using chips, pork rinds’ crispy texture is perfect for scooping up your favorite keto dips and salsas.


  • If you are craving nachos, pork rinds are the perfect tortilla chips substitute. Check out these fantastic Pork Rind Nachos! You can also try these Keto Pork Rind Nachos if you prefer your nachos a little spicier. 


  • Craving a low-carb pizza? Not a problem! Crushed pork rinds baked with cheese make a fantastic pizza base.

  

Always choose minimally-processed products without artificial additives. You can also make your own pork rinds at home! Fresh, homemade pork rinds can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

deep-fried pig skin snack

Key takeaways


Pork rinds are keto-friendly and an excellent ingredient for low-carb recipes. Their crispy texture makes them a perfect alternative to breadcrumbs, tortilla chips, and croutons.   


Pork rinds are surprisingly healthy. They’re rich in heart-healthy fat and a great source of collagen, which is crucial for maintaining healthy skin and bones.


Many store-bought pork rinds are highly processed foods containing potentially harmful artificial flavors and synthetic MSG. Read labels and choose minimally-processed pork rinds to promote a healthier body.



FAQ


1. What are pork rinds? 

Pork rinds are made by baking or deep frying pork skins. To achieve their distinct crispy and puffed-up texture, pig skins are usually boiled and have any excess fat scraped away.


2. Are pork rinds healthy to eat?

You can enjoy pork rinds as part of a healthy and nutritious diet. 


Pork rinds are a rich source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated fat, saturated fat, and oleic acid. Oleic acid is the same fatty acid found in heart-healthy olive oil and linked to healthy cholesterol levels and reduced inflammation.


2. Can I have pork rinds every day?

You can add moderate amounts of pork rinds to your recipes daily. 


However, remember that pork rinds are energy-dense, and eating too many can lead to unwanted weight gain.


3. How many carbs are in pork rinds?

Pork rinds contain zero grams of carbohydrates.


4. Are pork rinds keto-friendly?

Pork rinds are perfect for keto. They are carb-free and have an excellent fat-to-protein ratio. 


Incorporating pork rinds into your keto recipes is a great way to add texture and crunch. They are also excellent alternatives to potato chips, tortilla chips, croutons, and bread crumbs. 


5. Can I use pork rinds as breading?

Yes, crushed pork rinds are fantastic for breading meat, fish, poultry, or even veggies. If you’re craving breaded chicken, make sure you try these delicious Keto Pepperoni Pork Rind Chicken Bites


6. Are pork rinds bad for cholesterol?

Pork skin does contain some cholesterol, but you don’t need to be concerned that eating pork rinds will raise your cholesterol levels. 


It was previously believed that dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease. However, this notion has long been refuted, and research confirms that dietary cholesterol generally has little to no impact on your cholesterol levels.

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