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are pork rinds healthy?

by (3631)
Updated about 13 hours ago
Created April 24, 2011 at 10:28 PM

i just bought a bunch of chicharrones from the mexican butcher-counter nearby (definitely conventionally raised factory-pork).

does anyone think pork rinds are healthy to any extent? are they something to avoid? from what i understand they are super high in protein - is it poor-quality? can the body utilize it? do you have some straightforward info on the the PUFA situation? let's assume i'm talking about pork rinds fried in their own fat, as these are.

i just ate a ton of em, and i'm feeling a little grossed out.

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3979 · November 15, 2012 at 7:37 PM

I did this once. I felt gross too, but I think it's because I basically just ate pure fat.

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8004 · June 29, 2012 at 3:12 PM

THANK YOU, FED!! YES! So many people freak out about the n-6 in pork fat, but the fact is, it's *mostly* monounsaturated and saturated. Yes, there's a little bit of PUFA in it, but the vast majority of prk fat is SFA and MUFA. People concerned about fats really *really* need to get their hands on Mary Enig's book Know Your Fats.

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3631 · November 05, 2011 at 3:44 AM

yeah, kewpie, i kind of doubt it -- i mean, that would be like cooking bacon in veggie oil - it doesn't make any sense. i imagine a vat of raw "rinds" (ew) cooks right down to become a vat of grease pretty quick. [On the other hand, there are lots of things about processed food that don't make any sense to me so who tf knows..]

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7223 · November 05, 2011 at 1:13 AM

Interesting that so many people have mentioned seeing them fried in seed oil. I've never seen that even once. I'm hardly a connoisseur; I've only have them a few times when I needed a snack on a long car ride (should have prepared better, I know). Which brands, if any, are cooked in seed oils?

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17949 · July 27, 2011 at 3:33 AM

It's a ratio between saturated/monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that tends to determine it. Coconut oil has only a bit of polyunsaturated fat and when you cook it at high heats it doesn't oxidize. I'm not sure how lard would work out but it definitely has some protection.

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19469 · July 26, 2011 at 11:02 PM

The label always reads "not a significant source of protein", but I never connected the dots, so I appreciate your response. Thanks for teaching me something new!

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3631 · July 26, 2011 at 10:28 PM

oh, thanks! this was one of my first posts a few months ago as a noob meat-eater! I'm much more comfortable now -- i know a bit more about fatty-acids, and since i posted this I learned that the protein listed on the label isn't used by the body as an energy source, it's mostly collagen and is processed kind of like gelatin -- has beneficial amino acids... or something... i already forgot, but whatever. I have eaten them a couple times since april, but still prefer to avoid CAFO stuff.

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3631 · July 26, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Thanks Uncle! I posted this when i was just a wee baby meat-noob Now I'm getting more comfortable with the whole thing. I did eventually study up on the 'skins a bit, when i didn't get the answers i was looking for here. (re macros etc). They're ok. I *usually* avoid 'em, because even though i can get them from the butcher, fried in their own fat, they're still forshizz corn-fed CAFO - and for me that's the part what makes 'em hard to swallow.

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493 · July 26, 2011 at 7:25 PM

they're also great added to chili - AWESOME!

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3631 · April 26, 2011 at 12:35 AM

weellll, i did eat a shit-ton of them, but i'm not *worried*. I'm wondering if/hoping they are BENEFICIAL in some way. And fwiw, SURELY i am amongst the least 'nit-picky' on this site, from what i can tell... I've learned an entirely new lexicon in the week i've been here.. I mean, Holy acronymaniacalocity - nit-pickin is the name of the game! ;P thanx for the breadcrumb replacer tip - follow my pork rinds trail as i retreat into the forest!

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3631 · April 26, 2011 at 12:26 AM

weellll, i did eat a shit-ton of them, but i'm not *worried*. I'm wondering if they are BENEFICIAL in some way. And pahleeze -- fwiw, SURELY i am amongst the *least* 'nit-picky' on this site, from what i can tell so far. I have learned an entirely new lexicon in the week i've been here! Holy acronymaniacalocity! ;)

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1169 · April 26, 2011 at 12:03 AM

They get softer, chewy, and delicious, but the texture may not be for everyone.

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3631 · April 25, 2011 at 6:47 PM

i'm pretty relaxed.. i reckon my body can process some crap every so often. i was just hoping someone would have some information about the macro-nutrients. initial googling prompted some questions about the proteins; more digging is necessary. i'll get to it later, then update, since nobody seems to know/care. thx for the encouraging comments. :)

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3631 · April 25, 2011 at 6:45 PM

i'm pretty relaxed.. i reckon my body can process some crap every so often. i was just hoping someone would have some information about the macro-nutrients. initial googling prompted some questions about the proteins; more digging is necessary. i'll get to it later, then update, since nobody seems to know/care. thx for the encouraging comments. :) ps @Bree the pre-packaged ones are not always cooked in lard apparently.. (mine were fresh & fried in lard).

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12359 · April 25, 2011 at 4:10 PM

I eat some as a paleo 'treat' now and then - they are cooked in lard. They are delicious and crunchy and salty - perfect for those chip cravings. I would recommend them in moderation - but I"m with Tomas - RELAX!!!

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20411 · April 25, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Worrying about a few pork rinds is really nit-picking. I wouldn't "pig out" on them, but from time to time, they are fine. Better than diving into the bag of Fritos! My wife uses crushed pork rinds as a replacement for bread crumbs in some recipes (meatloaf, chicken cutlets).

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78407 · April 25, 2011 at 2:48 AM

skin food is good for you. Provides that nothing else was added, you did yourself a favor. Relax.

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3631 · April 25, 2011 at 2:20 AM

I've been missing the crunch factor of chip-like food since giving up corn in january. They really hit the spot for a minute, but i started getting squeamish about them. I still really wish someone would say something about skin-as-food. Is it or ain't it??

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3631 · April 25, 2011 at 2:19 AM

@sherpa-melissa: i bought my pork-rinds from the butcher (as i'm sure you read); they were made fresh, in-house, and fried in their own fat (noting this again for those of you who aren't strong readers). They tasted pretty darn porky to me. baconish? maybe? Hard for me to gauge -- I'm pretty new to meat. I can't comment on the conventional/packaged ones, this is my first adult pork-rind experience. Mine were cut more thinly than the kind i've seen in bags, and they were curly, and  nothing at all like styrofoam. They were super crunchy, and sort of had some yummy fatty bits on them.

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3976 · April 25, 2011 at 1:34 AM

Melissa, they remind me of heavily salted fried styrofoam that gets gummy and sticks to my teeth. Definitely no bacon or even meaty taste when I've had them, and I think they are usually fried in seed oil (someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this) and the kinds that are flavored usually have MSG in them. Obviously, I'm not a fan...

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3976 · April 25, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Not only does it support Big AgriBiz, but these are animals that not only live poorly, but are fed poorly and pumped with chemicals and antibiotics to keep their horrific lifestyles from killing them. Alas, the same can be said for most commercial bacon and anything else that isn't grassfed (and there is a level of greenwashing that goes on with some of that, too). Also, are they fried in seed oil? Personally, I've always perceived them to be as non-food as a Little Debbie cake, but lots of people here swear by them. To each their own. I'd rather snack on celery or something similar.

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3631 · April 25, 2011 at 1:09 AM

I'm curious where you buy your shoes, Richard. It would be fantastic to find a humane source of leather.

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3631 · April 25, 2011 at 1:06 AM

I don't need to google that; thanks for the reminder though. I guess after only recently deciding to mindfully accept animals as food source after nearly 20 years of believing they were anything but, i let curiosity get the best of me at the bodega. I'd still like to hear from anyone who would like to weigh in on the nutritional value of the unethical skin i ate.

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18701 · April 25, 2011 at 12:27 AM

I have never had a pork rind in my life, what are they like? It seems like they would be like bacon puffs, but I have no idea why.

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3631 · April 24, 2011 at 10:40 PM

yum.. they don't get rubbery!?

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19469 · July 26, 2011 at 9:32 PM

Pork rinds are my go-to snack on long road trips where other options may be limited. Look on the label and if it reads "fried out pork fat" (or "fried out pork fat with skin attached" if they are "cracklins") and salt as the only two ingredients, then, at least from a health perspective, I say go for it.

The primary fat in pork is mono-unsaturated, the same "heart-healthy" fat that gets such a good rap when it is found in olive oil, macadamia nuts, avocados, etc. This also means that it is resistant to high-temperatures (the smoke point of lard is 370 degrees Fahrenheit) and less likely to be oxidized. The rest of the fat is primarily saturated with only about 10% coming from polyunsaturated fatty acids.

To be sure, the treatment of factory farmed animals is horrendous and I don't condone their practices, but life is full of compromises and not one of us is guiltless.

are-pork-rinds-healthy?

(Here's a link to a quick post I did about pork rinds a while back)

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8004 · June 29, 2012 at 3:12 PM

THANK YOU, FED!! YES! So many people freak out about the n-6 in pork fat, but the fact is, it's *mostly* monounsaturated and saturated. Yes, there's a little bit of PUFA in it, but the vast majority of prk fat is SFA and MUFA. People concerned about fats really *really* need to get their hands on Mary Enig's book Know Your Fats.

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19469 · July 26, 2011 at 11:02 PM

The label always reads "not a significant source of protein", but I never connected the dots, so I appreciate your response. Thanks for teaching me something new!

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3631 · July 26, 2011 at 10:28 PM

oh, thanks! this was one of my first posts a few months ago as a noob meat-eater! I'm much more comfortable now -- i know a bit more about fatty-acids, and since i posted this I learned that the protein listed on the label isn't used by the body as an energy source, it's mostly collagen and is processed kind of like gelatin -- has beneficial amino acids... or something... i already forgot, but whatever. I have eaten them a couple times since april, but still prefer to avoid CAFO stuff.

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50 · July 26, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Many other cultures also eat pork rinds and they have not turned-out (% wise)to be as obese as Americans. These people are not dropping dead due to eating pork rinds, perhaps due to more active lifestyles. These cultures use most of the animal and do not waste, perhaps out of nesecity.

Pork rinds are tasty if prepared right from the start, and adding other condiments make for great dishes (e.i. cooked as soups [tomatillo/grn chile or tomatoe base/cilantro] with vegatables and as a snack right out of the bag it is hard to beat (add lime & a little hot sauce, yummy).

For those of you who are disgusted by them, it is not surprising from a society that doesn't like to see whole fish on their plates, as if cows never had heads and were always choice-cut steaks. Economic advantage is fomentation for mass-production of chickens which, most of us eat ignoring the filthy industry practices of raising chicken (in grossly populated coops with feces and other dead birds). I also wonder how many disgusting man-made chemicals (hot-dogs, lunch meats, fast-foods, frozen meals, etc.) we consume daily and through-out our lifetime, the same ones that make us really ill and we in turn export to the world.

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18671 · April 25, 2011 at 12:12 AM

Pork fat is very healthy, even though the omega 6 is higher than is probably optimal. I do worry that the high heat involved in deep frying -- if that's how they were prepared would damage the PUFAs. Most of the fat, though, is saturated or monounsaturated.

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17949 · July 27, 2011 at 3:33 AM

It's a ratio between saturated/monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that tends to determine it. Coconut oil has only a bit of polyunsaturated fat and when you cook it at high heats it doesn't oxidize. I'm not sure how lard would work out but it definitely has some protection.

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30 · June 29, 2012 at 3:05 AM

Actually pork rinds are a reasonable snack if you want to look at the nutrition facts and if you consume meat products. Historically pork rinds could only be found in the fried and packaged ready to eat variety. Pork rinds are actually pieces of pork skin that are produced in a process called rendering. Rendering is actually cooking the pork skins with some salt added as a preservative. This process removes 70% of the fact and a hard pellet is produced. The shelf life of the pellet is 9 months and does not require refrigeration. To make the packaged ready to eat pork rinds, they are fried in lard (or some type of oil) to puff them up. As they flow through the cooker they actually absorb fat which explains why these pork rinds have 60% more fat than microwave pork rinds. Many manufacturers then add seasoning which includes salt, seasonings and sometimes MSG to enhance flavor. The shelf life of the fried pork rind is now reduced to 3 months due to oxygen exposure and the additional fat in the product. Julia's Southern Foods makes a brand called Carolina Gold Nuggets where no additional seasoning is added and they have less sodium and obviously no MSG. One of the related sites which also addresses fullness factor and a nutrition comparison of microwave pork rinds to other sites is Chef Curly Tail.

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1300 · April 25, 2011 at 12:09 AM

I would do nothing to support factory pig farming (or other animals). These are intelligent animals who are treated horrifically. Google Pig factory farm (You Tube). Not an option.

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3976 · April 25, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Not only does it support Big AgriBiz, but these are animals that not only live poorly, but are fed poorly and pumped with chemicals and antibiotics to keep their horrific lifestyles from killing them. Alas, the same can be said for most commercial bacon and anything else that isn't grassfed (and there is a level of greenwashing that goes on with some of that, too). Also, are they fried in seed oil? Personally, I've always perceived them to be as non-food as a Little Debbie cake, but lots of people here swear by them. To each their own. I'd rather snack on celery or something similar.

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3631 · April 25, 2011 at 1:09 AM

I'm curious where you buy your shoes, Richard. It would be fantastic to find a humane source of leather.

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3631 · April 25, 2011 at 1:06 AM

I don't need to google that; thanks for the reminder though. I guess after only recently deciding to mindfully accept animals as food source after nearly 20 years of believing they were anything but, i let curiosity get the best of me at the bodega. I'd still like to hear from anyone who would like to weigh in on the nutritional value of the unethical skin i ate.

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1169 · April 24, 2011 at 10:37 PM

I eat these once every two weeks. It is conventially raised pork. It is probably riddled with the bad fats. I take a fish oil before eating.

These are superb, by the way, simmered with a tomatillo salsa, served garnished with guacamole and lemon juice.

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493 · July 26, 2011 at 7:25 PM

they're also great added to chili - AWESOME!

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3631 · April 26, 2011 at 12:35 AM

weellll, i did eat a shit-ton of them, but i'm not *worried*. I'm wondering if/hoping they are BENEFICIAL in some way. And fwiw, SURELY i am amongst the least 'nit-picky' on this site, from what i can tell... I've learned an entirely new lexicon in the week i've been here.. I mean, Holy acronymaniacalocity - nit-pickin is the name of the game! ;P thanx for the breadcrumb replacer tip - follow my pork rinds trail as i retreat into the forest!

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3631 · April 26, 2011 at 12:26 AM

weellll, i did eat a shit-ton of them, but i'm not *worried*. I'm wondering if they are BENEFICIAL in some way. And pahleeze -- fwiw, SURELY i am amongst the *least* 'nit-picky' on this site, from what i can tell so far. I have learned an entirely new lexicon in the week i've been here! Holy acronymaniacalocity! ;)

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1169 · April 26, 2011 at 12:03 AM

They get softer, chewy, and delicious, but the texture may not be for everyone.

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20411 · April 25, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Worrying about a few pork rinds is really nit-picking. I wouldn't "pig out" on them, but from time to time, they are fine. Better than diving into the bag of Fritos! My wife uses crushed pork rinds as a replacement for bread crumbs in some recipes (meatloaf, chicken cutlets).

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3631 · April 24, 2011 at 10:40 PM

yum.. they don't get rubbery!?

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10919 · November 15, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Make your own. Pork fat is super cheap and it's really worth the effort. Plus you get a large quantity of -un-hydrogenated lard to cook with the deal. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/06/the-nasty-bits-how-to-make-chicharrones-recipe.html

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10 · November 15, 2012 at 5:09 PM

No hormones are used in U.S. pork production and antibiotics are used sparingly with a "withdrawal" period from slaughter if they have been treated. Also, they rarely spend money on additional fat for frying as pork rinds are usually a byproduct of the rendering process for the skin.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/Pork_From_Farm_to_Table/index.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pork_rind

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1187 · June 29, 2012 at 3:18 AM

These chicharonnes are THE BOMB.

link text

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840 · June 29, 2012 at 3:17 AM

Make you own! So easy and probably cheaper. Crock pot a bunch of raw pork suet until it is slightly browned. Pour most of the fat into a separate container. Stick in the fridge. The next morning you have delicious heaven!

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15385 · July 26, 2011 at 7:23 PM

On the scale of animal fats, pork is supposed to be further down the list than say grass-fed beef or lamb based on its omega 3/6 balance, but I think it is still considered an excellent saturated fat to have. My concern would be what the pig ate before being slaughtered, which would have an effect on the nutritional value of its fat, but in any event, this is way into the "acceptable" range for me.

Store bought pork rinds might be fried in vegetable oils, but I think that pork rinds fried in lard would be a pretty awesome Paleo snack.

I love these things and find them a lot more satisfying than potato chips, so it is harder to overeat with them.

I render my own lard from leaf fat, and after the fat renders, there are little bits of meat and "stuff" left over that fry in the rendered lard. This is close to pork rinds, and are delicious, and my kids fight over who gets to have them!

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3631 · July 26, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Thanks Uncle! I posted this when i was just a wee baby meat-noob Now I'm getting more comfortable with the whole thing. I did eventually study up on the 'skins a bit, when i didn't get the answers i was looking for here. (re macros etc). They're ok. I *usually* avoid 'em, because even though i can get them from the butcher, fried in their own fat, they're still forshizz corn-fed CAFO - and for me that's the part what makes 'em hard to swallow.

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0 · September 17, 2014 at 11:53 PM

Pork and pork fat are not, in any way, healthy for human consumption. Swine are scavengers, they do not sweat, they were put here to clean up the rot on the earth, just like a buzzard, coyote, etc. When you eat swine, you are eating everything the swine has ingested in its lifetime, swine store impurities in their fat...when you eat swine, you are eating those impurities. Its not good for you. Don't eat it. It is marketed as the other white meat because hogs, like chickens, can be farmed on very little land. Its cheaper to raise hogs than beef, lambs, goats...etc...so, they want you to eat it. Don't eat it.

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