- Fat doesn’t make you fat and is actually healthy!
- Tallow is stable at high heats making it perfect for cooking
- Rich in Stearic Acid and Conjugated Linoleic Acid which promote health
- Tastes amazing!
Not long ago, in nearly every kitchen around the world, you would have found that almost all the fats used for cooking were of animal origin such as Beef Tallow. It has only been recently, since the time of the ‘food guidelines’, that we have moved away from these prized foods – to the extreme detriment of our health it would seem. Among the commonly used fats, beef tallow was a very common fat. If you look up many recipes pre-1900’s, you’ll undoubtedly see it on most pages – it was even used for McDonald’s fries! So, let’s revisit this ancestral food and see why we moved away from animal-based fats and why we could benefit from getting back on 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 is allowed to cool and become hard again, making it extremely shelf stable, just like butter or coconut oil. And like these other types of fats, it is high in saturated fats which is why it is solid at room temperature. Saturated fats fit tightly together not allowing much space, so when it cools it hardens due to this chemical structure. It’s thanks to this high saturated fat content that it is ideal for cooking as it makes it much more stable against heat, unlike polyunsaturated fats such as seed oils. Unfortunately, the high saturated fat content is also what is given animal-based fats a bad name.
Fat is Not Bad
Ever since Ancel Key’s conducted his (controversial and cherry-picked) 7 countries study, fat was wrongly demonised as being the cause of cardiovascular diseases – it’s likely not [2,3,4]. We can’t dive into all of that here, but I would recommend reading Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise to learn more. Along with saturated fat comes of course the other wrongfully accused nutrient, cholesterol. For ages (and somehow still today) many people belief cholesterol causes heart disease. The truth is that the science has not shown this and in fact even the American Heart Association had removed their restriction on dietary cholesterol intake because no correlation could be found with heart disease . On the contrary, those who consume very little fat and cholesterol may be at increased risk of neurodegenerative disease, immune dysfunction and increased mortality .
Good vs Bad Fat
Ironically, the very thing that people were told to switch to, vegetable and seed oils, are likely one of the primary culprits to the chronic disease epidemic we see worldwide today. These oils are extremely high in polyunsaturated fats from the omega-6 family which can be more inflammatory and are highly unstable and prone to oxidation. When we consume excess amounts of these omega-6 fats, they become part of our cell membranes all throughout our body, affecting cellular health, and lasting many years disrupting healthy cellular function. This may lead to all sorts of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, poor skin health, liver disease and cancer [7,8,9]. Whereas when we consume adequate amounts of saturated fats, we tend to have more saturated fats in our cell membrane which, as stated above, are more stable and less prone to oxidation.
Stearic Acid, CLA and Vitamins
One particular saturated fatty acid found in Tallow is Stearic Acid. This fatty acid has been shown to have many benefits to health such as improved post-prandial lipid levels, anti-inflammatory functions, improved skin health and more [10,11]. Another healthy fatty acid found in Tallow is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – particularly in grass fed beef. This has been shown to improve weight less and metabolic health and cardiovascular health, among others [12,13]. Being an animal-based fat, Tallow is also a source of fat soluble vitamins A, E and K, all associated with various health improvements from improved skin health to reduced cancer risk!
Safe Cooking and Amazing Taste
Not only is Tallow healthy for you, but it tastes amazing as well! There is a reason why our ancestors used Tallow for cooking so religiously. With a high smoking point above 400 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s the healthiest and tastiest option for sautéing or frying, but you can use it for just about any cooking that requires fat/oil. Natural tallow has a savoury taste to it that works well with most dishes, but we also offer infused Tallow with a range of flavours that you can experiment with to get even more flavour out of tallow. Now stop being afraid of fat and go enjoy the amazing health benefits of animal-based nutrition!