Pork is one meat type that polarizes public opinion. Some people incorporate pork as their staple source of protein, primarily due to taste and availability while others refrain pork absolutely by citing reasons such as religious objections or its nutritional content.
Meanwhile, pigs also happen to be one example of an animal where most of their body parts are edible, ranging from the skin, legs, loin, belly, shoulder, head, and even internal organs such as its intestines. Out of those areas, a wide variety of products have been made for example ham, bacon, steak and sausages. These are the 21 Scientific Health Benefits of Bacon.
On this article we will be mainly discussing about pork skin or pork rind as its proper culinary term.
About Pork Rinds
Pork rinds or pork skin is commonly consumed as a snack, in which it is fried or roasted on pork fat. Raw pork rinds have high fat content, and frying cause the fat of the uncooked rind to render up until the point it shrinks considerably. Frying pork skin is also another method to make the typically hard texture of the pig skin to be tender and edible.
Pork rinds exist across the globe with some cultural differences, which among them are:
- Chicharon (Philippines and Mexico)
- Khaep Moo (Thailand)
- Zhi zha (China)
- Grattons (France)
- Torresmos (Portugal and Brazil)
- Knabbelspek (Netherlands and Belgium)
- Schweinekrusten (Germany)
- Pork Scratchings (England)
Just like any typical snack foods of your favorite, pork rinds are high on sodium and fat. However, at the same time they are also low in carbohydrate and have been regarded as an alternative snack for Atkins diet patients. Here are the other nutritional benefits that pork skin possesses.
So, here are the health benefits of eating pork skin:
- Rich Protein Source
Being an animal product, pork rinds are obviously a source of protein. According to an article by Men’s Health, pork rinds with a serving quantity of 28g contains approximately 9x the protein than those found on potato chips. Despite that pork rinds cannot fulfill your daily protein intake as it lacks sufficient quantities of amino acid.
- Low on Carbohydrate
Low carbohydrate food possibly means a better chance for you to lose weight. Carbohydrates contain weight gaining calories, and it becomes fattening once glucose or fat is being added to it. A 2014 article on Men’s Health claimed that pork rinds can have a carbohydrate level for as low as 0%.
- Contains the Same Kind of Fat as in Olive Oil
More health benefits of eating pork skin – The same article on Men’s Health also claimed that of all fat inside pork skin, 43% of them are unsaturated, in which majority of those unsaturated fats are oleic acids. Oleic acids are natural lipids found in various animal and vegetable oils, including olive oil. Here are also the 9 benefits of extra virgin olive oil for weight loss.
- It Doesn’t Raise Blood Sugar Levels
Pork rinds don’t raise blood sugar levels for the simple reason because it doesn’t contain any sugars or carbohydrates.
- It Has Plenty of Sodium
Sodium is beneficial for the critical systems of the human body. Sodium helps regulate absorption of glucose as well as body fluid levels, improves brain function, maintains a healthy heart, eliminates excess carbon dioxide as well as maintaining skin health.
- It is Also Diet Friendly
Who would have thought that pork skin is also diet friendly? Pork skin is suitable for those undergoing the Atkins Diet. Atkins Diet limit carbohydrates from sugar, so that the body burns fat in return of energy. That energy or otherwise known as “fuel” ensures constant energy supply while maintaining fullness all throughout the day, so you can still feel full while losing weight at the same time.
The main difference in between Atkins diet and the conventional low calorie high carbohydrate diet is that Atkins diet emphasizes steady sugar levels, less fat storage and low craving, whereas the latter one focuses on fluctuating sugar levels, increase in both fat storage and cravings.
Health Risks of Pork Rind
Just like the meat, pork rind is also prone to the disadvantages pork meat has. Pork rind itself carries these three health risks.
Every piece of pork rind that you munch on can have as much as 9 grams of fat. In the case of a 2000 calorie diet, you are allowed 44-78 grams of fat, which is equals to 400-700 calories. Meanwhile, only 20-35% of your daily calorie intake can come from fats. If you practice 2000 calorie diet every day, 1 ounce of pork rind takes up 12-20% of the daily fat allowance.
Pork rind is filled with unhealthy saturated fats as well as cholesterol. If these two hazardous substances combine, they will raise your low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL furtherly cause an increase in cholesterol levels, clogs blood arteries and increases risk of heart attack. An ounce of pork rind contains more than 3.2 grams of saturated fat and 27mg of cholesterol.
Again, if you do a 2000 calorie diet every day, an ounce of pork skin takes up daily saturated fat and cholesterol allocation by 15% and 10% respectively. To find out more, here are the other health risks of high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol.
And if you are bound to be affected by cholesterol’s negative effects, these are some foods that lower cholesterol level.
Sodium-rich pork skin affects your heart by increasing blood pressure. To make things worse, producers add flavouring and all sorts of substances during the production of pork rind snacks. Normal people can take 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily, whereas those with the risk of heart problems are only allotted 1,500 milligrams of daily sodium consumption. An ounce of pork skin contains approximately 510mg of sodium, which occupies 22-34% of your daily sodium allowance, depending on your health conditions.
These are the other 5 effects of high sodium level.
Precautions When Consuming Pork Rind
- Do not bother consuming it if you have religious objections or heart diseases.
- Consume moderately given its health risks it possesses. It would be much better if you have pork skin once in a while.
Indeed, that’s all the health benefits of eating pork skin and its risks.