Since the advancement of civilization, advent of factories and refinement of food products, we started sermonizing on the evils of harder oils and fats. Animal fat was shunned on account of its high content of saturated fats and low ratio of polyunsaturated fats. Traditional foods and cooking recipes were termed hazardous to health and a “refined” way of eating became the norm. The more refined we turned, the more processed our foods became. Margarine, processed vegetable oils and refined products reigned over traditional foods like butter, ghee, lard, beef tallow, coconut oil and olive oil. But things are changing now, thanks to the enlightening studies and books on the goods of animal fats and ills of processed foods.
Nourishing Traditions: In her book Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon talks in detail about the full spectrum of healthy foods and not-so-healthy foods. Based on the research done by Weston A. Price, she gives healthy fat recipes, explaining why animal fats and harder oils like butter, lard, beef tallow, coconut oil and olive oil are not heart-killers as we think. Price, a dentist and nutritionist, investigated several groups to find out which is evil – taking traditional diets or civilized/processed foods. His findings revealed that people who resorted to the traditional way of cooking and consumption of animal fats and oils lived hale and healthy while those who took refined food succumbed to a lot of diseases, especially cholesterol-related, heart ailments (inspite of it).
Based on Price’s findings, Sally Fallon detailed the nourishing traditional foods of America and the good they bring to the Americans in the book. The book also illustrates with real life studies and instances, how the projected conditions of hyper-cholesterol and arteriosclerosis do not stem from intake of saturated fats, but from processed, unsaturated fats.
Why beef tallow is not evil: Tallow is rendered beef fat. This fat, called Suet, is taken from the kidney and loin area of the cows. Kidney fat of grass-fed cows make good tallow, compared to the industrial, grain-fed ones. Tallow, when rendered, is stable at room temperature and has a high degree of saturation (56%). Unlike hydrogenated vegetable oils, it has a high smoke point (40 to 45 degree Celsius) which makes it ideal for any kind of deep frying.
Tallow is an excellent source of niacin, vitamins B6, B12, K2, selenium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and riboflavin. Grassfed beef tallow contains high ratio of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is a cancer-resistant agent. Contrary to the popular conception, tallow is good for health as tallow fat is similar to the fat/muscles in the heart. Recent studies have shown that human beings need at least 50% of saturated fats like tallow and lard to keep the heart pumping hale and healthy. Tallow from pasture-raised cows also contains a small amount of Vitamin D, similar to lard. It is also a good source of K2 in its suet form.
Tallow nutritional facts: According to the findings of USDA, beef tallow consists the following amounts of fats, proteins and carbohydrates:
Beef Tallow (USDA #04001) – per 1 serving cup:
- Calories – 902
- Total Fat – 100g
- Total Carbohydrates – 0g
- Dietary Fiber – 0g
- Sugars – 0g
- Cholesterol – 109mg