Black pudding is this year's kale — or is it?
Like fashion and beauty trends, there always seems to be a newly appointed superfood every year. And while we all probably remember when acai berries, quinoa and kale took the food world by storm, this time it seems like black pudding is actively stealing the spotlight.
But before images of yummy dessert puddings flood your mind, know that black pudding is actually a type of sausage that is commonly consumed (think English breakfast) throughout Europe. And often served grilled and deep-fried, this protein-rich sausage is actually made from pork fat and or pork blood.
And yes, anything made with pork blood doesn’t exactly sound remotely appetizing, however, some food blogs and online zines are lauding the obscure breakfast staple as the next best super food to try.
So, is this really the next big thing in health food? We’ve asked both nutritionists and health experts to weigh on the topic below.
What’s the deal with black pudding?
Unlike the breakfast sausages we are normally accustomed to, black pudding is a type of blood sausage that is made from a combination of pork fat, beef suet and pork blood. And while it may be an acquired taste, some experts say that it’s high levels of protein, iron and zinc are what’s really making it popular online.
“Black pudding contains a high amount of protein, iron and zinc,” explains clinical nutritionist Dr. Scott Schreiber. “It is low in carbohydrates, making some believe that it’s the next big superfood.”
But aside from being low carb and protein benefits, other experts note that black pudding can also be high in calories and fat, making some dietitian’s skeptical of it’s so-called superfood status.
“From a nutrition standpoint it's difficult to classify blood pudding or blood sausage as a superfood,” says Toby Smithson Spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “While it may be a good source of protein and iron, it is very high in fat, sodium and saturated fat.”
And that’s not all. Experts like Dr. Schreiber also caution against consuming foods like this regularly, as eating too much processed meats often contribute to heart disease, and increased risk of cancer.
“Black pudding also contains high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, all known to promote heart disease,” he says. “In addition, sausage, a primary ingredient, is highly processed had been associated with increased risk of cancer and put into the same category as cigarettes by the World Health Organization.”
Should you try it?
Like practically anything else that’s trending, superfood trends come and go. And while black pudding definitely offers a protein and iron boost, most experts warn against consuming large amounts of processed meats, making them extremely skeptical of the newfound trend.
“As a dietitian I would not consider black pudding a health food as it is essentially a processed meat,” explains Rene Ficek, Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating. “Like sausage and bacon, this means it is going to bowel cancer. A desolate and is high in saturated fat and cholesterol making it an unhealthy food for heart health.”
But most importantly, Marci Clow, MS, Registered Dietitian, and Senior Nutritionist at Rainbow Light advises consumers to be weary of the ‘superfood’ labeling and trends in general, as they can be extremely misleading, and not to mention confusing.
“Referring to any particular food as a superfood may give the impression that it is healthier than other foods,” Clow says. “And although there is not an official legal definition, I usually define a superfood as one which is a natural nutritional powerhouse, that provides significant levels of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.”