Are Pork Scratchings Bad for You?
Well… Are we going to be able to answer this one? Of course.
I must be slightly biased simply because of the fact that I run this website. I don’t think pork scratchings are bad for you. So you may ask, if this is the case, then why am I writing this blog post? Well, it’s a sort of search engine optimisation experiment. And it’s a question I feel that I can help answer. Let’s see how it goes.
The question I see asked all over the place, in so many different ways is…
- Are Pork Scratchings bad for you?
- Are Pork Scratchings good for you?
- Are Pork Scratchings unhealthy?
- Are Pork Scratchings healthy?
- Are Pork Scratchings full of fat?
- Are Pork Scratchings high in salt content?
- etc. etc.
If these are the questions, then surely the obvious answer is ‘pork scratchings are bad for you’. Why are people asking? It’s because outwardly, the answer is ‘yes’, but they are so delicious then I think I need to check before I write them off completely.
Before we set this assumption in stone, we may want to look a little deeper into this subject. Let’s read on before we make up our minds.
The problem with generalised questions like these is that there are far too many variables.
The answer is not about the pork scratchings. The answer is about food, it’s about diet, it’s about health, it’s about YOU. It’s about a lot of things.
So let’s take a look at what’s in a normal bag of scratchings…
- Pork Rind (which is pig skin and fat and maybe a few hairs)
- Salt (most of the time)
- flavourings (sometimes)
- MSG (sometimes)
Is it about the amount of fat?
Yes, pork scratchings do have a high fat content. Usually knocking around the 50% mark. But this by itself, can’t be a reason NOT to eat something. Roasted Peanuts have about the same fat content as pork scratchings. Avocado has about the same fat content as pork scratchings. Butter is all fat. Olive oil is famously part of a healthy diet and that’s 100% fat. So the fat content of a food is a red herring. It’s not totally relevant.
The following ‘quote‘ seems to be all over the web, on loads of scratchings websites.
Chief dietician at St George’s hospital in London, says:
“Two-thirds of all the fat in a pork scratching is actually mono and polyunsaturated fats, beneficial for heart health, with 13 per cent of its fat coming from stearic acid, a type of saturated fat that doesn’t raise cholesterol levels. Because what you’re eating is effectively concentrated collagen from skin, it has an amazingly high protein content to keep you feeling full, and benefits muscle and bone health.”
But where did these websites get this info from?
I originally found this info on Twitter back in 2017. I can’t find where the original came from. Most of the other websites that also refer to this quote, don’t add any citation of where they found the info, so I presume they all got the info from me! Read my original post here.
So, as we now know, there’s good fat and bad fat. It looks like pork scratchings have a lot of fat, but also, a lot of good fat. That’s a relief.
Is it about the amount of salt?
What is salt? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt
Why do we need salt in our diet?
Your body uses salt to balance fluids in the blood and maintain healthy blood pressure, and it is also essential for nerve and muscle function. It’s impossible to live a life without any salt (you’ll die!).
Salt: the facts https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/salt-nutrition/
If you have high blood pressure and should be avoiding salt and you go and eat 30 bags a day… then yeah, probably… eating pork scratchings is not going to help your already bad situation.
But, if you are fit and healthy and like the odd bag every now and then, then pork scratchings are probably OK to eat.
REMEMBER: Never take medical advice from a pork scratchings website.
Is it about the flavourings?
In this case, flavourings can’t be the reason that people think pork scratchings are bad for you. Because flavourings are in everything.
Is it about the MSG?
Another red herring.
MSG is naturally found in many foods. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20151106-is-msg-as-bad-as-its-made-out-to-be
Is it about all of the ingredients?
Yes. I think that people perceive pork scratchings to be bad for you because they have a high-fat content, are salty, may contain added flavourings and MSG. Perception by its very nature is all about the way that you look at something. Let’s read all the information and see if our perception has changed.
The obvious culprit may not be the actual culprit
I heard a story once – I can’t back it up – I can’t find a corroborating article, but I will try to (soon).
People were talking about how pesticides were bad for you?
It seems obvious that pesticides are bad for you. They kill stuff. they might kill me.
This is how the argument went…
If an orange has pesticides on the skin, then it shouldn’t be a problem, because you don’t eat the skin.
But suppose (for some strange reason) you ate a lot of orange skin then there may be a pesticides problem.
But the funny thing is…
Let’s say you eat the whole orange, skin and flesh, all of it.
And you kept on eating oranges until you became very ill.
You would be affected by the amount of Vitamin C way before you were affected by the pesticides.
Eating a lot of anything is bad for you.
So, how do we define what’s good and what’s bad for you?
Once that’s sorted, we can answer the original question, Are Pork Scratchings Bad for You?
Everything in moderation
(Yes, I know there are exceptions to this)
So, as long as you aren’t eating loads of any one thing or type of thing, it shouldn’t be a problem.
REMEMBER: This is not medical advice.
You should not class this as medical advice
Never take medical advice from a pork scratchings website.
Read my original posts here: