Monday, June 24, 2024

For a healthy snack, there’s nothing like chicharrón. Or is there?

For anyone who enjoys eating chicharrón, or fried pork rinds, the news was too good to be true. And it probably was.

Claims have been made recently by some nutritionists and others that eating chicharrón won’t lead to weight gain and could even benefit a person’s overall health.

Proponents of eating the delicacy found at markets all over Mexico say one of the desirable qualities is its high collagen content, making one feel satisfied sooner during a meal, meaning that less is eaten and weight will be lost.

Chicharrón is also said to have a high unsaturated fat content, considered to help reduce cholesterol, improve bone health and help those suffering from diabetes and heart disease.

Every 28 grams of the pork rind contains 17 grams of protein, a characteristic said to help consumers reach satiety sooner and benefit their muscles as well.

It also has stearic acid, a saturated fatty acid that does not contribute to elevating cholesterol levels in the blood.

But nutritionist Eva Mariana Rodríguez Pineda says the claim that chicharrón is a beneficial food that will not contribute to gaining weight is a questionable one.

“Any excess of calories consumed during a day can lead to gaining weight. There is not a single food item that, on its own, will make you gain or lose weight. What matters in the end is the amount of energy you consume and the amount you use,” she said.

The belief that chicharrón does not impact weight comes from ketogenic diet proponents, the nutritionist said.

The high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet is used by physicians to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.

Fried pork rinds are an acceptable food item in such a diet, said Rodríguez.

The nutritionist was blunt in asserting that the best diet is one that is balanced and includes carbs, fats and protein, and that restricting any of those three main nutrients could lead to poor health.

Rodríguez advised that anyone interested in eating food without restriction should stick with vegetables, as they are low in calories and their fiber content aids digestion.

So where does that leave chicharrón in a healthy person’s diet?

You can eat it, Rodríguez said, but only once in a while.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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