Pork rinds “not a significant source of protein”

Why do labels on pork rinds, cracklins, etc. always have a note that says “Not a significant source of protein” when they clearly have (according to that same label) a decent amount of protein, at least for a snack?

They don’t contain all the essential amino acids in the proportions that make a complete protein so some (or all) of it goes to waste.

Some people on “paleo” and Atkins diets think pork rinds are just the ticket, since they contain no sugar/carbohydrates. According to WebMD:

A 14-gram (0.5-ounce) serving of plain pork rinds contains:

  • 80 calories
  • 9 grams of protein
  • 5 grams of fat (7% of daily value)
  • 0 grams of carbohydrates
  • 0 grams of fiber
  • 0 grams of sugars
  • 270 milligrams of sodium (11% of daily value)
  • 20 milligrams of cholesterol (6% of daily value)

Combine pork rinds with those packaged jerky sticks you can get at convenience stores, and voila! health food.

Thanks for the interesting link. I’ve never knew of the distinction between complete & incomplete proteins before. For some time I’ve always considered beans an acceptable source of protein.

As to the pork rinds, while not a significant source of protein, I’ve found them to be a significant source of a disgusting fatty aftertaste.

I found the following quote in this page from the FDA

I don’t have a clue what digestibility corrected amino acid score is, but I’m figuring Pork Rinds kind of suck at it.

I also checked a can of refried beans, no such declaration, so even though beans are incomplete protein, they do better on the FDA scorecard than pork rinds, which should be complete protein, being meat based.

I wonder what foods are required to put that on the label. Lots of things are not a signficant source of protein. Coffee, for example, and apples, and red wine.

You get complete protein if you combine them with rice.

Thank you! :+1:

Beans, by themselves, are not a complete protein. But beans combined with most grains are, and the typical Western diet is so high in grains that they can be basically taken for granted.

This is also why nearly every culture on the planet has some staple food that’s a combination of a grain and a legume: Rice and beans, daal bhat, succotash, hummus and pita, peanut butter sandwich, etc.

I don’t think this is the answer. “Significant” and “complete” are different words with different meanings.


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The ‘typical Western diet’ is anything but high in (whole) grains, and it is the bran or germ that contains most of the nutrients including a lot of the protein. The grain-derived processed foods that are a staple of Western diets contain mostly carbohydrates, hydrogenated fats, and a paltry amount of incomplete proteins, with no indigestible fiber and often added sugars like high fructose corn syrup that produce appealing flavor but offer little in nutrient value.

If people at legumes and ‘brown’ (i.e. whole gain) rice, barley, or quinoa (which is a pseudocereal but contains complete proteins) with some greens and squash or melon they’d be doing pretty well nutritionally. Most vegans I’m known don’t have anything like this kind of nutritional balance in their diet.

As for pork rinds, they are basically the same nutritional void as potato crisps save for having somewhat more protein but being equally packed with near lethal amounts of sodium.


Some people who follow these diets also use crushed pork rinds in the way that other people use breadcrumbs. MHO: That’s about all they’re good for.

Does it help if I dip them in sour cream?

There’s a common myth (very popular with anti-vegans and the carnivory ideologies arising from the ‘Manosphere’) that ‘incomplete proteins’ are somehow just completely ignored by the digestive system and that protein only counts if it has all of the essential amino acids present together in one meal

Adam Ragusea explains quite well here how that’s not really the case:

Still better than chicken rinds, in my experience.

Ranch yankee, RANCH!

Ha! I just had those at the gas station a few days ago. Never seen them before. They’re okay, but pork rinds are better. Freshly fried chicken skins are the bomb, though.

The myth has its origins in a more “granola” past, however. Frances Moore Lappe made a huge splash in 1971 with her recipe book/manifesto “Diet for a Small Planet.” She herself was clear that obsessing about the exact proportions of amino acids in various vegetarian foods was not where she wanted people to focus; rather she wanted people to take a more eco-friendly approach to the world’s resources. However, with all good but ultimately-shown-to-be-incorrect scientific intentions, her original book (and its companion “Recipes for a Small Planet”) pushed the idea of complementary protein very strongly. All the recipes very precisely noted which proteins were being paired, in what amounts, to obtain “complete” protein in one meal.

My vegetarian tendencies became firmly entrenched early on as a result of those books, but I fretted about making sure I was mixing different types of protein properly. I was immensely relieved to learn years later that you don’t really have to be that careful.

I enjoy these from time to time. Never noticed that statement on the label. And even if one agrees it is always there, the completeness of the protein does not make the amount insignificant. So not a good explanation. Lots of natural protein sources lack some amines.

Although I would hesitate to call it a healthy snack, like dried meats it is high in protein and salt, and may satisfy. They gave their place.