If pork rinds are a staple on your table every time you host a get together, you may want to find an alternative. Made by curing and frying the skin of pigs, it's no wonder that pork rinds are loaded with calories and fat. Like many other processed foods, pork rinds have high amounts of bad fats, cholesterol and sodium, which can be problematic for your health.
Information on Calories
Pork rinds are loaded with calories. A small 1-ounce serving, weighing a little over 28 grams, has nearly 155 total calories. Over half of the overall calories, more than 80 of them or roughly 53 percent, come from fat. On the other hand though, all of the remaining calories are from protein. Pork rinds are naturally free of carbohydrates.
For every ounce of pork rinds you snack on, you'll get nearly 9 grams of total fat. You can have some fat in your diet, although only 20 to 35 percent of your calories should come from it, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. In the case of a 2,000-calorie diet, you can have 44 to 78 grams of fat -- 400 to 700 calories from fat, because fat has 9 calories per gram. If 2,000 calories is normal for you, just 1 ounce of pork rinds takes up 12 to 20 percent of your fat allotment for the entire day.
The Worst Components
You'll get lots of unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol from pork rinds. When these dangerous food components combine, they are more likely to raise your low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, than if either one is present alone. Low-density lipoprotein raises your total cholesterol, clogs arteries and can increase your risk of heart attack. To protect your heart, limit yourself to no more than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fat. That's a maximum of 200 calories from saturated fat, or 22 grams a day, states the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. You also shouldn't have more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol either. One ounce of pork rinds contains over 3.2 grams of saturated fat and 27 milligrams of cholesterol. This takes up about 15 percent of the saturated fat you can have for the day for a 2,000-calorie diet, in addition to 10 percent of your cholesterol allowance.
Pork rinds are also high in sodium, yet another component that can be dangerous for your heart by increasing blood pressure. Food manufacturers often use salt while curing pork skin and then add even more for flavor during final processing. As long as your blood pressure is normal and you don't have any risk factors for heart disease, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 reports that you can have up to 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily. (But you'll have to reduce that down to 1,500 milligrams, if you're at risk of having heart problems. An ounce of pork skins contains about 515 milligrams of sodium, taking up 22 to 34 percent of your allowance, depending on the category in which you fall.