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Chicharon and Diabetes

Posted on September 29, 2012 | No Comments on Chicharon and Diabetes

Pork rinds, pork scratching, pork cracklings, cuerito or also famously known as chicharon in the Philippines is a snack made by frying the dried skin (rind) and fat of a pork or pig. Incidentally, the local term chicharon was originally from Spain because it was the Spaniards who introduced chicharon in the country.

When it comes to Chicharon, there is a wide confusion among diabetics if this snack is good for one’s diet. Some people claim the chicharon is a healthy food snack for diabetics because of it is a protein-rich sources, which technically have no glycemic index value because of it has no carbohydrates. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a food’s carbohydrates is broken down into sugar. Since, chicharon has no GI, it is therefore a viable snack for diabetic patients because it doesn’t cause sugar to increase unless of course the chicharon had flavoring agents, which may have a carbohydrate content. In lieu of which, people think that chicharon is good for diabetics, which however is not entirely true.

While pork rinds have no GI value, its consumption should nevertheless be controlled as they are rich in saturated fat and trans fat, which are both harmful to one’s health. Saturated fats are fats derived from animals which are solid at room temperature. They raise bad cholesterol levels. Trans fats are unsaturated fats usually in preservatives which both raise bad cholesterol levels and decrease good cholesterol levels. Hence, both saturated fats and trans fat increases a person risk in developing cardiovascular diseases. In fact, some studies suggest that saturated fat may in fact increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Moreover, pork rinds like most another snacks contain lots of calories which on the other hand can lead to obesity. Finally, the sodium or salt content in chicharon is more than thrice than those of a typical junk food like potato chips. Sodium is not directly bad for diabetes but it helps induce thirst, thereby prompting a person to drink water or any kind of beverage. Sodium also facilitates the retention of water in the body. Thus, too much sodium can equally lead to weight gain as well as heart diseases.

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