I have noticed a particular “keto” snack food popping up on Instagram lately. Not in an ad, but rather my local stores are promoting the fact that they have brought this keto snack to their shelves. I will preface this by saying I live in Northern Ontario where it seems everyone is on some version of a “keto” diet. I hear others talking about their latest keto recipes quite often while I’m grocery shopping. My thoughts on keto are very similar to these. As with any new food product, keto or not, I always read the labels.
My earlier posts on food labels shed light on how important actually reading labels can be. We are presented with health-washed information on a regular basis and can easily fall prey to it. The producer of this keto snack does not claim keto on their packaging but does use the keto hashtag on all their Instagram posts. During my search it appears the stores that bring the product in are either keto focused or have a large keto customer base.
So what is this keto snack food? It contains 6-7g of fat, 0-1g of carbohydrate and 11g of protein per 20g serving and the company has listed on their website (verbatim) “we use the freshest ingredients with no preservatives” which I found interesting as the snack food is pork rinds. Yes, pork rinds. Pig skin, deep fried in lard and covered with salt and spices. Keto, sure. Nutritious, no.
While its true animal hides are rich in collagen, ones that have been deep fried are no longer beneficial to consuming. The fact that they are claiming not to use any preservatives really intrigued me so I read over their ingredient labels. They offer a variety of flavours and you better bet I found not only preservatives but flavour enhancers and artificial colours too.
Some of their “fresh” ingredients include:
- Dextrose (sugar, likely from GMO corn)
- Toasted soya flour
- Maltodextrin (likely from GMO corn, can negatively impact gut bacteria)
- Hydrolyzed soy protein
- Torula yeast (another name for MSG)
- FD&C Yellow #6
- FD&C Red #40
- Modified food starch
- Sodium diacetate (controls mold and bacteria in foods a.k.a a preservative)
- Mono sodium glutamate
- Disodium inosinate (similar to MSG)
- Disodium guanylate (simialr to MSG)
- Hydrolyzed vegetable oil
- Caramel colour E150 (not in the same category as food dyes but can cause stomach upset)
The crazy thing to me is, people are going wild over these. One look through the Instagrams of the producer and the stores that carry it and you’ll see tons of excited comments and emojis. Clearly, those interested in this product do not care about the lack of micro-nutrients and the artificial, processed ingredients. The simplest offering is a plain flavour which contains none of the above ingredients, just pork, lard and salt.
Now, I did come across one flavour (ketchup) that had a special note beside it informing consumers that as of April 2019, they removed the Red dye #40 from their seasoning to replace it with more natural ingredients (beet powder). There is mention of them chaning their formulas as time permits. I can only hope this is coming from a place of education on their part and if not, hopefully consumers pressured them to clean up their product. As consumers become more educated, producers will be forced to shift with the demands and change their products.
Remember, if something comes in a package, you have to read the labels to find out what you might actually be consuming. Count your chemicals.