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pork rinds

Are Pork Rinds Keto? Your New Favorite Low-Carb Snack

Pork rinds are the perfect keto snack… 

But they aren’t only good for snacking. Pork rinds are also a great substitution for many high-carb foods like breadcrumbs. 

Pork rinds are high in fats and contain zero carbs, which fits into the ideal keto macro breakdown for ketosis

In this article, you’ll learn:

What Are Pork Rinds?

Pork rind is the skin of a pig that can be either roasted or fried for eating. Pork rinds, when fried, look like rice crackers or puffy grain sack. This keto-friendly snack doesn’t look like it has any affiliation to pork, but it does. 

Apart from the United States, different variations of pork rinds can be found in multiple South American, European, and Asian countries. The pig-skin snack is also known as pork scratchings and pork cracklings in (UK) English.

How Are Pork Rinds Made?

The preparations vary by cuisine as pork rinds can be either roasted or fried with options to render the pork skin by baking, boiling, smoking, or drying before frying.

If we choose to boil the pork skin as the first step, then the recipe looks something like this:

After boiling the skin, it is divided into pellets (bite-size pieces), then chilled for at least four hours to solidify the subdermal fat [1].

After the layer has congealed, it is pared away and discarded to be deliciously crunchy (this step separates pork rinds from its artery-clogging sibling, cracklings).

To remove as much moisture as possible, the pork rind pellets are dried in a low-heat oven for approximately eight hours using a mesh tray over a drip pan and a low-heat oven. Larger pork rind manufacturers often use industrial-sized dehydrators that retain only a small amount of water to give the snack its puffiness. 

After the drying process, pork rinds are ready to fry. Cookers heat up oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit to deep-fry the pork rinds. Within about 15 seconds of hitting the hot oil, the little moisture that’s left in the skin evaporates, which sounds like popcorn being cooked in a microwave.

After deep frying the rinds, the standard practice is to season them immediately with salt and other spices (depending on the flavor). After cooling, the pork rinds are ready to be consumed.

Are Pork Rinds Healthy?

Due to the fact that it’s basically deep-fried pig skin, you might wonder if pork rinds are healthy. That’s a fair question.

Contrary to what’s commonly believed, meals that have been fried or contain fats in high amounts are not unhealthy. Scientific studies have already concluded that saturated fats shouldn’t be blamed for conditions, such as heart disease [2].

In most cases, the main reason for increased weight gain as well as various metabolic diseases is eating too many meals that contain high amounts of sugary carbs.

One ounce of pork rinds contain absolutely zero carbohydrates along with 17g of protein and 9g fat. The same serving of potato chips contains only one-ninth of the protein in pork rinds [3].

According to Harvard, protein makes you feel full longer, while fat works with hormones in your body to tell you to stop eating. With these two macros combined in pork rinds, you’ll feel more satiated with fewer calories compared to having a low-fat meal [4].

About 43% of the fat found in pork rinds is unsaturated with most of the unsaturated fat being oleic acid, which is the same type of fat found in olive oil that is considered healthy. Also, 13% of the total fat content of pork rinds is stearic acid, which is considered a harmless saturated fat since it doesn’t raise cholesterol levels.

Are Pork Rinds Keto-Friendly?

Absolutely! Since pork rinds contain high fat and zero carbs, it’s the perfect snacking choice for those on the ketogenic diet.

If you have reached the upper limit of your daily carb intake that’s allowed for keto-ers, pork rinds serve as a great choice that won’t impact ketosis. 

Replacing High-Carb Foods and Ingredients With Pork Rinds

Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet with 25-50g of daily carbohydrate intake allowed for the average dieter. You must drastically cut down your daily carb consumption, which means potato chips, popcorn, and other high-carb snacks are a no-no. 

Popcorn

Popcorn is a hit (especially while binge-watching Netflix). But if you are on keto, popcorn isn’t a keto-friendly snack because it contains 74g of carbs in a 100g serving.

So instead of filling a large bowl with popcorn, fill it with crispy pork rinds instead. You’ll still get the great salty and crunchy texture you’re craving, but without all the carbs.

Potato Chips, Crackers, Pretzels

Similar to popcorn, pork rinds are a delicious keto-friendly alternative to potato chips, crackers, and pretzels.  

Breadcrumbs

Pork rinds can be ground into a breadcrumb consistency and be used as a low-carb substitute. Use it for making meatballs, or as breading for fried chicken. Check out our Chicken Parmesan recipe for a delicious Parmesan-Pork Rind breading.

Your New Favorite Keto Snack

If you haven’t yet given pork rinds a try, we strongly recommend that you snag a bag the next time you’re at the grocery store. They offer macros that are perfect for low-carb and keto diets, plus are more satiating than the myriad of high-carb options on store shelves.

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