Are pork rinds or veggie chips better on a keto diet?
Considering total carbs
On a low-carb keto diet, the most important thing is to keep the carbs low. We measure carbs by looking at the total grams of carbohydrates, not subtracting fiber or sugar alcohols. We don’t use the net carb method because it assumes you won’t absorb fiber or sugar alcohols and that sugar alcohols have no impact on your metabolism. In a low-level ketogenic diet, like the keto diet, we always use total carbs. Net carbs mean more carbs, and the lower you go on carbs, the more likely you’ll be in a fat-burning mode called ketosis. If you’re trying to lose fat or fix diabetes, you want to be in that fat-burning mode to burn off body fat and keep blood sugars low.
When I search for veggie chips, I find a product called “Garden Veggie Straws” with 15 grams of total carbohydrates in one ounce (one serving). My experience is that most of my patients need to stay under 20 grams of total carbs per day to stay in ketosis. Just looking at the grams of total carbs doesn’t tell me all the information I need. I must look at the serving size. The serving size here is 1 ounce, but there are 7 servings in the container. If we had this whole bag, it would be 105 grams of total carbohydrates. That is way over your limit; you are going to have to burn through all of those carbs before your body is going to give up any of its own fat. You wouldn’t want to eat a whole bag of this, but even one serving is still 15 grams of carbs. If we look at how many grams there are per straw, to stay under 5 grams, you could only have two. That might not be very realistic.
Pork rinds contain zero grams of total carbohydrates. Some may have salt and flavorings, so just be sure to avoid sugar. Since pork rinds have no carbs, they don’t raise blood glucose or insulin and are considered a non-fattening food in the context of a low-carb diet. You could have as many pork rinds as you want until you’re comfortably full. We also don’t really need to look at the serving size if there are zero carbs. It doesn’t have the metabolic and hormonal impact that those veggie straws do.
Veggie chips vs pork rinds
When comparing the two, veggie straws are limited due to their carb content, while pork rinds have no limit. I wouldn’t want you to just eat pork rinds. It’s best to focus on meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, and eggs as the primary sources of nutrition on a low-carb diet. Snacking should be occasional, but after a few days on the diet, most people find they are not hungry, and the urge to snack diminishes. Pork rinds do come in handy if you are looking for something crunchy. You can always have raw veggies like celery. I didn’t grow up eating pork rinds, I was taught how to eat pork rinds by one of my patients in North Carolina. He taught me to put Tabasco sauce on them or use them as a chip substitute that you can dip in things like sour cream, French onion dip, ranch dip, salsa, or guacamole.
Remember, there’s no forbidden food on a keto diet, but if it contains carbs, you can’t have much of it and stay in a fat-burning mode.
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