Health Benefits of Beef Tallow

Health Benefits of Beef Tallow | The Superfood You Need

Dive into our latest article about the health benefits of beef tallow. It's not just a cooking fat, it's a path to better health!

Have you ever heard about beef tallow?

If not, it's about time we introduced you to this fantastic food product that has been a part of the human diet for centuries.

Beef tallow, once a common ingredient in kitchens around the world, is making a comeback.

Why, you ask?

It's because more and more people are rediscovering the incredible health benefits that this traditional fat offers. But before we get into the world of beef tallow and its benefits, let's take a step back and understand what it is.

What is Beef Tallow?

Beef tallow, simply put, is rendered fat from beef.

It's the end product you get when you slowly heat beef fat trimmings until all the impurities have been skimmed off, leaving behind a pure, golden liquid that solidifies at room temperature.

How is Beef Tallow Produced?

rendering fat

The process of making beef tallow starts with beef suet, which is the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys of a cow.

This suet is carefully removed, chopped into small pieces, and then slowly heated over low heat.

This low and slow heating process allows the fat to melt away from any connective tissue, and after several hours, you're left with a clear, clean fat that is strained and left to cool and solidify.

Characteristics of Beef Tallow

At room temperature, beef tallow is typically solid and white or off-white in color.

It has a mild, meaty flavor that is less pronounced than other animal fats like lard or duck fat.

One of its key characteristics is its high melting point, which makes it an excellent choice for frying and sautéing.

Grass-fed Tallow vs Regular Tallow

cows grazing on green grass

While all beef tallow offers some level of health benefits, grass-fed tallow is superior.

Cows that are grass-fed produce tallow that is richer in nutrients, including Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a type of fat that has been linked with health benefits such as improved immunity and anti-inflammatory properties (source).

Nutrient Grain-fed Beef Grass-fed Beef
Vitamin E (mg/g muscle) 0.4-0.7 2.12-3.61
Vitamin K (% of muscle) NR 56.9-103.7
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) (mg/g muscle) 133.7-209.3 272.8-463.3

The Health Benefits of Beef Tallow

Beef tallow is not just any fat, it's packed with a wealth of nutrients that your body will thank you for.

From being rich in healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins to promoting skin health and aiding in weight loss, beef tallow is indeed a superfood in its own right.

  • Rich in Healthy Fats: Unlike most commercial cooking oil, beef tallow is high in monounsaturated fats, which are the same heart-healthy fats found in avocados and olive oil. These fats have been associated with reduced levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased HDL (good) cholesterol (source).
  • High in Fat-Soluble Vitamins: Beef tallow is a great source of vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which are fat-soluble, meaning they need fat to be absorbed by the body. These vitamins play crucial roles in everything from maintaining healthy vision to supporting bone health.
  • Contains Stearic Acid: Stearic acid is a type of saturated fat found in beef tallow that has been linked to lower LDL cholesterol levels (source). This is contrary to the popular belief that all saturated fats raise cholesterol.
  • Source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid: Beef tallow contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that has been associated with a host of health benefits, including improved immunity, and anti-inflammatory properties, and may lead to fat burning contributing to weight loss (source).  
  • Supports Immune System: The fatty acids in beef tallow, especially palmitic acid and CLA, have been shown to support the immune system.
  • Promotes Skin Health: The vitamins and fatty acids in beef tallow can help maintain healthy skin. In fact, it's been used as a moisturizer and skin protector for centuries!
  • Aids in Weight Loss: Beef tallow can help you feel satiated, reducing the need for constant snacking. As stated above, the CLA it contains may help your body burn fat more efficiently (source).

Comparison with Other Fats and Oils

variety of oils in glass containers

When compared to vegetable oils, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, and seed oils, beef tallow stands out for its nutrient density and high smoke point, making it ideal for cooking at high temperatures.

While olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil also have health benefits, they don't offer the same range of nutrients as beef tallow. For instance, they lack the high levels of Vitamin D and CLA found in tallow.

Vegetable oils, canola oil, and seed oils, on the other hand, are often highly processed and can contain trans fats, which have been linked to heart disease (source).

Oil Comparison Chart

Oil Nutrient Density Smoke Point (°F)
Beef Tallow Rich in vitamins A, D, K, E, and B12, choline, and CLA[1] 400°F[2]
Coconut Oil Rich in saturated fats, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) 350°F (virgin), 450°F (refined)[3]
Olive Oil Rich in monounsaturated fats (oleic acid), antioxidants, and vitamins E and K 320°F (extra virgin), 420°F (virgin), 465°F (extra light)[3]
Canola Oil Rich in monounsaturated fats, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids 400°F[3]
Seed Oils (e.g., sunflower, soybean, corn) Rich in omega-6 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats 440°F (sunflower), 450°F (soybean), 450°F (corn)[3]
Avocado Oil Rich in monounsaturated fats (oleic acid), polyunsaturated fats, carotenoids, and other antioxidant-rich nutrients[1] 520°F[4]

Beef tallow, coconut oil, olive oil, canola oil, seed oils, and avocado oil each have their unique nutrient profiles and smoke points. Avocado oil has the highest smoke point among these oils, making it suitable for high-temperature cooking.


Explanation of the Role of Essential Fats

Essential fats, like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are needed for our bodies to function properly. They play crucial roles in brain function, inflammation control, and maintaining heart health.

A fascinating study conducted at the University of Illinois compared the fatty acid profiles of grass-fed and grain-fed beef tallow.

The results were striking!

Grass-fed tallow exhibited 45 percent lower total polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a remarkable 66 percent reduction in omega-6 linoleic acid.

But that's not all - it contained four times more omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid.

The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio? A staggering sixteen for grain-fed tallow, while a mere 1.4 for grass-fed tallow.

It's important to note that beef tallow, regardless of the ratios, is not a significant source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, accounting for only 3.45 percent in grain-fed and 1.9 percent in grass-fed (source). Intriguing, isn't it?

Misconceptions About Animal Fats

Alright, friends, it's time to address the elephant in the room - the misconceptions about animal fats.

Let's debunk some common myths and set the record straight.

The Misconception That Animal Fat Causes Heart Disease

For decades, we've been told that animal fats like beef tallow are bad for us and that they cause heart disease.

But here's the truth: not all animal fats are created equal, and many studies have shown that there is no significant evidence that dietary saturated fat intake is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease (source).

Clarification on Cholesterol Levels and Fat Intake

Cholesterol is a complex subject.

While it's true that some types of fat can raise your cholesterol levels, it's important to know that there are two types of cholesterol: LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) and HDL (the "good" cholesterol).

Saturated fats can raise HDL cholesterol, which can help protect against heart disease.

Moreover, recent research suggests that it's not the amount of cholesterol you eat that affects your blood cholesterol levels, but the specific types of fats in your diet (source).

The Role of Beef Tallow in a Healthy Diet

Beef tallow, when consumed as part of a balanced diet, can contribute to overall health thanks to its nutrient content. Its high smoke point makes it ideal for cooking, and its vitamins and fatty acids provide numerous health benefits.

Cooking With Beef Tallow

Now, let's get cooking! Here's why beef tallow should be your new go-to kitchen fat.

frying fish in pan

Benefits of Using Beef Tallow as Cooking Fat

Beef tallow imparts a rich, deep flavor to dishes that are hard to match. Plus, because of its high smoke point, it's perfect for frying, sautéing, and roasting without breaking down and producing harmful compounds.

Explanation of High Smoke Point and Its Importance in High-Heat Cooking

The smoke point is the temperature at which fat starts to break down and smoke. When a fat reaches its smoke point, it can start to release free radicals that are harmful to your health (source).

Beef tallow fat has a high smoke point (around 400°F or 200°C), making it safe for high-heat cooking.

Comparison With Other Cooking Oils

While olive oil is great for low-heat cooking and salad dressings, it has a lower smoke point than beef tallow, making it less suitable for frying or high-heat roasting.

Vegetable oils, on the other hand, can be highly processed and may contain trans fats.

Tips for Cooking With Low Heat and High Temperatures

When using beef tallow for cooking, remember that a little goes a long way.

Start with a tablespoon or two for sautéing or roasting.

For frying, ensure the tallow is hot enough by dropping a small piece of food in it. If it sizzles immediately, you're good to go!

Other Uses of Beef Tallow

Now that we've explored the health benefits and culinary uses of beef tallow let's venture into other exciting uses.

Hint: Your skin is going to thank you!

soap bars

Benefits of Tallow Soap for Skin Health

Did you know that beef tallow makes an excellent base for soap?

Thanks to its fatty acid profile, tallow soap is incredibly moisturizing and can help maintain the skin's natural barrier. Plus, it's a great eco-friendly alternative to palm oil.

Use of Beef Tallow in Skincare Products

Beyond soap, beef tallow is also used in many skincare products. Its high levels of vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as fatty acids, make it nourishing for the skin. It's been used in everything from lip balms to body lotions and face creams.

Highlight on the Long Shelf Life of Beef Tallow Products

One of the great things about beef tallow is its long shelf life. When stored properly, it can last for years without going rancid, making it a sustainable choice in the world of natural skincare.

Choosing the Right Beef Tallow

Choosing the right beef tallow can make all the difference.

Here's what you need to know:

As we mentioned earlier, grass-fed tallow is higher in nutrients than grain-fed. Look for tallow from grass-fed cattle to ensure you're getting the most health benefits.

Difference Between Beef Tallow and Beef Suet

Beef suet is the raw, hard fat found around the cow's kidneys, while tallow is the rendered version of this fat.

Rendering purifies the suet, removing impurities and water, resulting in a stable cooking fat with a high smoke point.

How to Store and Preserve Beef Tallow

Store your beef tallow in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. It can also be refrigerated or frozen for longer storage. Properly rendered tallows can last for a year or more without refrigeration.

>>RELATED How to Store Beef Tallow for Maximum Shelf Life

Final Thoughts

From the health benefits of beef tallow to its uses in cooking and skincare, it's clear that this traditional fat is a versatile and nutritious addition to a healthy lifestyle.

We encourage you to incorporate beef tallow, especially grass-fed beef tallow, into your diet. Not only does it add depth and richness to your meals, but it also provides essential nutrients that promote health at a cellular level.

In a world where processed foods are ubiquitous, returning to traditional foods like beef tallow can be a step towards better health. So why not give it a try? Your body (and your taste buds) will thank you!

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