The Original and Best: Tallow, Your Healthy Fat
Tallow is nature’s original healthy fat, packed with energy to support the. body and help it absorb the fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K.
Not that long ago, in nearly every kitchen worldwide, most of the fat used for cooking was of animal origin, such as beef tallow. It is only recently that we have moved away from these foods. Let’s examine why we stopped eating animal-based fats and how we might benefit from getting back to them.
What is beef tallow?
Beef tallow is a rendered form of fat, typically derived from suet (the fat around the kidneys). It is gently cooked at low temperatures so that it melts, and then cooled until it hardens. This makes it extremely shelf stable, just like butter or coconut oil.
Like these other fats, it is high in saturated fat, which is why it solidifies at room temperature. Saturated fats fit tightly together, not allowing much space, so when they all cool, the mass hardens. This high saturated fat content makes it ideal for cooking makes it much more stable against heat, unlike polyunsaturated fats such as seed oils. Unfortunately, the high saturated fat content is has also given animal-based fats a bad name.
Good Fat VS. Bad Fat
Ever since Ancel Keys conducted his somewhat controversial Seven Countries Study in the 1960s, fat has been demonised as being the cause of cardiovascular disease, although this is not necessarily true. Without diving into all of that argument here, we do recommend reading The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz if you would like to become more fully informed – this book certainly provides a strong alternative perspective on what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ fat.
Along with saturated fat, cholesterol is another wrongfully accused nutrient. Cholesterol is a type of fat which is present in all animal cells. It is required for most of the major metabolic processes in the human body, such as hormone production.
It is widely believed that cholesterol causes heart disease, but the truth is that the science has not shown this. Even the American Heart Association has removed their restriction on dietary cholesterol intake, because no correlation could be found with heart disease. On the contrary, people who consume very little fat and cholesterol may increase their risk of neurodegenerative disease, immune dysfunction and increased mortality.
A Better Way?
Ironically, polyunsaturated vegetable and seed oils – which were the very thing that people were advised to switch to from the 1960s onwards - are likely one of the culprits behind much chronic disease we see today. Why? Because these oils are high in polyunsaturated omega-6 fats, which can be inflammatory, unstable and prone to oxidation.
When we eat excess amounts of omega-6 fats, they become part of cell membranes throughout the body. This disrupts healthy cellular function over many years, and may lead to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, poor skin health, liver disease and cancer. When we eat adequate amounts of saturated fats, on the other hand, there will be more saturated fats in cell membranes, which are more stable and less prone to oxidation.
Spotlight on stearic acid
An important saturated fatty acid in tallow is stearic acid. This fatty acid has many benefits, including improved post-prandial lipid levels, anti-inflammatory effects and better skin health. Another beneficial fatty acid in tallow – particularly tallow from grass-fed beef - is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
This has been shown to support weight loss and improve metabolic and cardiovascular health. Tallow is also a source of the fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K, which are all associated with a wide range of health benefits, from improved skin and eyesight to a reduced risk of several cancers.
Safe and Delicious
Not only is tallow good for you, it tastes great. With a high smoke point above 200°C/400°F, it is the best option for sautéing or frying, but you can use it for any cooking method requiring fat or oil.
Vital Nutrition Grass-fed Natural Beef Tallow has a savoury taste that works well with most dishes, and we also offer infused tallow with a range of flavours, including Ginger Turmeric, Roasted Garlic and Rosemary.
So - stop being afraid of fat and enjoy the health benefits of animal-based nutrition!
Information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to replace advice or treatment from qualified healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to treat or diagnose. Always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any allergies or diagnosed conditions, or are taking prescription medications, always consult your healthcare professional before taking nutritional or herbal supplements.