The modern world treats animal fat as garbage and foods rich in animal fat as potentially harmful or dangerous. Every other ad or health journal or food recipe claims that saturated fat is bad for the body. Many health enthusiasts swear by unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are said to increase bad cholesterol and the rate of cancer and heart disease. Obesity, heart attacks and all types of serious diseases are associated with red meat, pork and all other animal fat. What more, tallow or lard, (food processing communities say), should be shunned as poison.
Accusations against saturated fats: There are several accusations against saturated fats like tallow: Beef tallow is linked to cholesterol and heart disease. Hence, consumption or use of it in cooking should be avoided. This is because, saturated fat is linked to high cholesterol and high cholesterol in turn, is linked to increased rate of heart disease. Since it is believed that the fat around the heart is highly saturated, it is said that heart-attacks happen if there is a build up of saturated fat in the arteries. This mostly occurs when foods rich in saturated fat like tallow are consumed regularly.
Animal fat is no garbage: At least that is what the recent studies say. If one analyzes the use of fats in the food items in America, one can identify that most of the current food items are rich only in unsaturated fat or vegetable oils. The whole fast food industry now runs on vegetable oil and not on animal fat. With too much of processing, the United States food industry has eliminated saturated fats from the palates of people. Then, why do people of this century are prone to increased number of heart problems than their ancestors (who were nothing but meat eaters)? If meat like tallow or lard was the cause for coronary heart disease, then why do people who don’t take meat fall victims to it?
There are several rebuttals against the myths that claim saturated fats to be the primary reasons for heart attacks. As a saturated fat, beef tallow is especially very beneficial to human body. Here are a few reasons why it is good to health:
1. Saturated fats are heart-killers: Studies prove that saturated fats have nothing do with heart problems. The Framingham Heart study states that the more saturated fat and the more cholesterol one ate, the lower the person’s serum or blood cholesterol. It also asserts that the people who ate most saturated fat were the least in weight and were physically very active. Another Harvard based study (in 2001) says, “The amount of saturated fat in the diet may have little if any bearing on the risk of heart disease.” A study by Weston A. Price Foundation on the Masai tribes in Africa too proves the same. The Masai men, born meat-eaters, are one of the leanest and most active people among the African tribes. They had the lowest cholesterol levels inspite of taking 60 percent saturated fats daily. However, it was noted that when the Masai men moved to cities and ate modern processed food, they became obese and developed higher rates of cholesterol.
2. Heart fat and beef fat don’t go together: The Framingham study as mentioned in the book Nourishing Traditions states that the fat in the heart muscles is exactly similar to the one present in beef. Unlike the general assumption that too much of this fat will lead to the clogging of arteries, it has been proved that the human heart needs such fat like tallow to keep itself hale and healthy.
3. Saturated fats spoil us: No. In fact, saturated fats are no more in our food. If one looks at the top fats eaten in the 19th century, one can find butter, coconut oil, lard, tallow and olive oil. If one looks at the top fats eaten today, one can find only corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil and olive oil and none of the saturated fats. This shows that inspite of eliminating saturated fats like tallow from food, people have become victims of CHD. This brings us to the conclusion that heart diseases are in no way linked to saturated fats like beef tallow.
4. Tallow is unhealthy: Not at all. As a saturated fat, tallow is an energy-giving food with many antimicrobial properties. With about 50% monosaturated fat, it has a positive impact on cancer and reduces carcinogenic cell growth. Grass-fed beef fat has high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is good for cholesterol levels.