You Can't Judge A Pork Rind By Its Cover.

Having been following the ketogenic, low carb high fat (LCHF) diet for some time now, and having found a measure of success, I feel pretty confident about food choices. I enjoy the allowed foods (see an informal two page list here of what those are) and once I got into ketosis found resisting non-allowed, carbohydrate laden foods pretty easy to avoid. As noted in previous posts, eating out and travel haven't proved to be stumbling blocks. Just keep my carbs below about 20 grams a day, moderate protein and eat only when hungry. Got it down pat, right?

Enter devious food marketers.

While on a recent road trip with Lovely Mate - he's also in ketosis and knows what foods are okay to eat and which aren't - we stopped to get some gas. In the bad old days we would have gone inside the attached convenience market to grab some snacks: chips and/or pretzels, maybe some cheese puffs and sodas. You know, travel food! (I cringe when looking back) But, now being old hands at eating low carb, we know better. While I was tanking up the car, he went inside to grab some pork rinds. For the uninitiated, convenience stores are renowned for having the broadest variety of these keto-friendly snacks. They may be called cracklins or chicharrones but all are essentially fried pork skin. No carbs and very crunchy. Some are plain (my least favorite as they tend to be TOO porky for me) while you can find hot & spicy, salt & vinegar, barbecue flavor. You get the idea. So into the store went Lovely Mate, charged with getting something out of our norm.

He returned to the car with a couple of choices and off down the highway we continued. Later, we tried the vinegar and lime. It was a brand I'd not heard of before and they were pretty good. Much less porky and quite light. Yay. That sustained us for the next few hours. When we arrived at our destination, started to unpack and settle in before heading to the beach to dip our feet in the ocean and taking a long walk, we opened the other bag.  "Hot Chili Pepper & Lime Chicha-rrones".


Wow. They immediately tasted different. VERY light and crunchy. We agreed we might have found the winner. Then it happened. We noticed the small print....

My eyes about bugged out of my head. I actually ran to the sink and spat out the fake pork rinds. Then looked at the nutrition info...

Gadzooks! Fortunately, neither LM nor I had eaten more than a couple of these horrid little saboteurs. But the message was driven home. Even if one is pretty well versed in eating low carb, label reading on packaged food is really important. Keep in mind that this package is supposed to be "chicharrones" which is Spanish for pork skins. They were in the same section as the other brands and varieties of actual, true pork rinds. This is a cynical attempt at this company to capitalize on the growing low carb and ketogenic diets. But you can bet we won't be taking any unfamiliar product at face value again.

[As an aside, some folks think looking at the sugar grams listed on the nutrition facts label will tell you if the food is approved. It's not. Carbohydrate grams is the key.]

Eating whole, non-processed foods is always best. But there are times when you just want to ride down the road with your Old Man and munch on snacks and sing along with songs in the radio and laugh. Our search for the perfect pork rind continues. And you can bet we'll be checking them out thoroughly. Fool me once...

If you have a favorite brand or flavor, please share. And be careful out there!

I’ve been fortunate to have exposure to leading researchers, physicians and journalists regarding the ketogenic diet, also known as LCHF (low carb/high fat). We are all responsible for our own choices, including what we put in our mouths. I welcome questions, comments and even civil criticism. I’m still learning. So, if you have something to add, go for it. Thanks!  - Casey