What is Tallow? 9 Reasons You Should Eat It (+ Benefits)
Beef tallow is a staple in the carnivore diet. In this post I’m going to tell you what tallow is, the 9 main benefits of eating tallow and how to make it.
Not only will beef tallow improve the taste of your food, it has major benefits. Tallow is:
- More stable than polyunsatured, toxic oils
- High in vitamins
- Non dairy
- High in fat, which may increase how much fat you burn (through glucagon)
- Has CLA, which may improve your immune system
Beef tallow used to be a staple in people’s kitchens but has been replaced by cancer causing seed oil sludge.
You’ve been brainwashed into fearing fat. But it turns out humans have evolved because of fat.
Read more to find out about the benefits of tallow.
Tallow Definition: What is Beef Tallow?
Beef tallow is rendered beef fat. It is cooked slowly over low heat and becomes a liquid, which you can store into containers, then later used for cooking. I will share how you can make tallow at home below.
At the start of the 20th century tallow was the most common fat used for cooking.
However, with the rise of Crisco, the AHA and the anti fat dietary dogma, tallow was replaced with polyunsaturated seed oils like Canola Oil.
The Food Pyramid in the 1970s was the nail in the coffin. It was deemed irrefutable that animal fats cause heart disease and had to be substituted for polyunsaturated seed oils.
Well that myth has been debunked. As we now know, Ancel Keys’ study disparaging fat was flawed. And Mark Hegstead, the head of nutrition at the USDA, was bribed by the sugar industry to shift the blame for bad health away from sugar and onto saturated fat [*].
Not only is animal fat not harmful. It may be beneficial to your health.
The real cause of heart disease was the toxic seed oils that replaced beef tallow and animal fats in the diet.
If you’re still cooking with seed oils, there’s nothing more important you can do in your life than switching to beef tallow. Seriously. Close your computer, dump your canola oil in the garbage where it belongs. And go buy some tallow.
Beef Tallow Nutrition
Beef tallow is purely fat. It has no carbohydrates or protein. But it does have vitamins that are stored in the fat as I will discuss more below.
History and Uses of Tallow
Before the masses were brainwashed by Ancel Keys, tallow was the most common fat for cooking. Tallow was prized for its stability, taste and availability. It was used for everything from frying to adding flavor to soups and stews.
Tallow was loved by chefs because it has a very high smoke point beyond 400 F and it does not go rancid like other oils. Because of its high saturated fat content, it’s very stable.
Tallow was ubiquitous. This may repulse some, but it was also used for soaps, moisturizers and candles.
It’s part of my mission to restore tallow to its glory days.
9 Benefits of Eating Tallow
Fat made us who we are today. So it’s no coincidence that adding fat to your diet has major benefits.
Here are 9 other health benefits of eating tallow.
#1. Source of Vitamin A, D and E and Fatty Acids
The fat soluble vitamins are the most important vitamins. Fat is required to absorb them and thus they are present in significant amounts in the fat of beef.
Nutrients are vital for all cellular function. They play a role in everything from growth to immune support, to brain function. Many also have antioxidant properties that can protect against diseases like cancer and Alzheimers. [*] [*].
Fatty acids like DHA and AA are critical for brain growth and neuronal function.
If you had to pick one food to survive in nature, it would be the fat.
The following four are present in beef tallow:
- Vitamin A: Tallow has more Vitamin A than muscle meat and bone marrow [*]. Vitamin A is essential for cell differentiation, skin and eye health and immune system function
- Vitamin D: Plays a role in calcium absorption. Stimulates cells differentiation. Immune system health. 77% of American’s are deficient in Vitamin D [*]
- Vitamin E: Potent antioxidant. Prevents LDL from getting oxidized. Vitamin E intake tends to be lower in Alzheimer’s patients [*].
- Vitamin K: Cofactor of binding to calcium, which helps prevent artery calcification. Activation of MGP which inhibits calcification. Increased Vitamin K intake is associated with lower rates of heart disease [*]
- Many fatty acids, including palmitoleic acid, an antimicrobial fat [*], omega 3s and omega 6s.
#2 Beef Tallow May Increase Fat Burning
Paradoxically, eating more fat may increase how much fat you burn.
Our body has two major hormones that regulate blood glucose and nutrient storage: Insulin and Glucagon. The two are antagonists. Insulin is a storage hormone. Glucagon is a nutrient mobilization hormone.
Ketosis occurs when Glucagon is high and Insulin is low. The high ratio between glucagon and insulin signals to your body to release nutrients from storage — i.e. body fat — and burn them for energy.
Protein increases both insulin and glucagon secretion. Fat is the only macronutrient that only increases glucagon.
Thus, if you want to burn more fat on the carnivore or keto diet, increasing, not decreasing your fat intake may be better.
Additionally, beef tallow is high in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). Conjugated linoleic acid is a fatty acid unique to ruminants.
In this meta-analysis of 18 studies, it was shown that CLA increased body fat loss [*].
#3 Beef Tallow is More Stable Than Other Cooking Fats
The fatty acid profile of beef tallow is 50% saturated fat, 42% monounsaturated fat and 4% polyunsaturated fat.
Saturated fatty acids are saturated with Hydrogen atoms and only have single bonds. Whereas unsaturated fatty acids have multiple double bonds.
These double bonds make the fatty acids unstable.
When the AHA — i.e. the mouthpiece for Procter & Gamble — brainwashed us into fearing saturated fats, we replaced them with these unsaturated seed oils such as Canola oil and Sunflower oil.
This is one of the main vehicles that has driven our health off a cliff.
And this was great for the big consumer companies. The seeds were traditionally a waste product, so they were cheap.
As a result, of the fear he created, soybean oil consumption increased 1000x in the 20th century. Linoleic acid now is 8% of calories
What are the consequences of this shift? Well, you are what you eat. .
Between 1959 and 2008, Linoleic Acid in human fat tissues increased by 136% [*]. In this meta-analysis, the average concentration of linoleic acid in human fat tissue was 25%.
People are walking canola oil bottles.
Because of the double bonds, these fatty acids are very unstable. When you cook with seed oils you blast your food with cancer causing radicals.
The scarier part is that even at body temperature linoleic acid can oxidize and cause free radicals [*]. So if your body fat is composed of linoleic acid, you’re basically a microwave causing radioactive destruction internally.
Free radicals and the toxic breakdown products of Linoleic acid like HNE are implicated in almost every disease pathology.
Vegetable oils have been linked to all of the following diseases:
- Insulin resistance
- Heart disease
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune disorders
- Leaky gut
Beef tallow on the other hand has very high oxidative and thermal stability. This study showed that after 40 hours of continuous heating at 180 C, only 60% of tallow had more than 25% of oxidized biproducts. Whereas after just 6 hours at 180 C, sunflower oil was over 20% oxidized [*].
#4. Tallow is Affordable
Beef tallow is highly affordable and easy to make at home.
Eating more fat will also cut down your protein intake and help you spend less.
#5. CLA May Protect against Breast Tumors and Colon Cancer
The CLA in beef tallow may protect against metastatic breast tumors.
Animal studies consistently show that CLA reduces mammary tumor metastasis. Relatively low levels of CLA are required for mice to experience these benefits. In this study, mammary tumor growth was suppressed when the researchers replaced vegetable fat with beef tallow.
Additionally, studies in rats have shown that a 10% beef tallow diet suppresses colon cancer [*]
#6. Saturated Fat May Be Good for You
Saturated fat may have longevity increasing benefits. Some stem from the stability discussed above. But there are many more too.
For instance, people in Hong Kong consume 695 grams per day of meat. That even puts Ron Swanson to shame.
At that rate, you’d expect them to be practically rolling down the street and dropping like fleas from heart disease. But they actually have the world’s longest life expectancy at 84.5 years [*].
This study pictured below depicted similar results. Saturated fat intake is negatively correlated to heart disease in Europe.
This can be explained a number of ways:
- Increased saturated fat intake tends to reduce carbohydrate consumption, which really causes heart disease
- Saturated fats tend to be higher in fat soluble nutrients, Vitamins A, D, E and K. Increased Vitamin K intake is associated with lower rates of heart disease [*]
- Reduced vegetable oil consumption
- Half of the fat in your brain is saturated. It is indispensable to cognitive function.
- Caprylic acid, a saturated fat, strengthens the immune system [*]
- Palmitoleic acid is highly anti-viral and anti-bacterial.
- Saturated fats help build hormones [*]
- Cell membranes are 50% saturated fat
- Saturated fats increase HDL, the “good cholesterol”
- Scientists have now realized LDL particle size matters more than total LDL number. Diets high in saturated fat and low in carbs increase LDL size (which is a positive) [*]
- High fat diets leads to ketosis and reduces oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Because saturated fats don’t have double bonds, they’re more resistant to oxidative damage [*]
- Saturated fats have a glycemic index of 0
Lastly, studies continue to debunk the myth that saturated fat causes heart disease. This review from 2014 looking at 76 studies, found no link at all between saturated fat and heart disease [*]. Here’s a compilation of all the evidence that red meat isn’t bad for you.
#7 Tallow May Benefit Your Skin
It’s commonly suspected that eating a fatty diet will clog your pores and make you look like a pubescent teenager. That’s not the case in my experience.
Our cell membranes are made up of fatty acids. They are ~50% saturated fat. Tallow’s make up is almost identical, which nourishes cell membranes and keep your skin moisturized.
Sebum, the oily substance that moisturizes and protects the skin actually translates to tallow in latin. They are very similar in makeup with both being comprised of triglycerides.
The more fat I eat, the better my skin. A few more explanations:
- High fat diets can reduce inflammation
- Higher fat diets reduce insulin, which is implicated in acne
- CLA is antiviral, antimicrobial and antinflammatory
- Vitamin D and Vitamin E are antioxidants
Also…I have to confess. If you thought I was a crazy carnivore before, close your eyes and skip this section. But rubbing tallow on your skin is incredibly nourishing. The vitamins and fat can nourish your skin and kill unwanted microbes.
It’s basically natures botox.
How do you think my skin turned to porcelain?
#8. Tallow is Tasty
Beef tallow has a delicious taste, and it adds a lot of flavor to food.
It’s not a coincidence either. Your body craves the nutrients and fats. That’s why it tastes so good.
#9. Tallow is “Sustainable”
Not to pile on with the sustainability buzzword, but tallow is much better for the environment than vegetable oils.
The production of certain vegetable oils, like palm oil, leads to widespread deforestation and a high carbon footprint.
Whereas tallow from locally raised, grass fed beef can actually be carbon negative.
Additionally, butchers often throw away tallow (which is absolutely crazy if you ask me…it’s like throwing gold in the dumpster). You can ask many of them for their fat trimmings (get them before they are in the dumpster) and turn them into tallow.
Below is how to make your own tallow.
How to Make Beef Tallow
- Trim the fat off the meat
- Cut into 1 inch pieces
- Put into a stainless steel pot and fill approximately halfway
- Turn the burner on medium and stir every 10 minutes to make sure the heat is applied evenly
- Let it reduce until the chunks melt. This should take approx 30 minutes
- There will be “fried” chunks…these are an awesome snack
- Pour the liquid into containers and refrigerate.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Tallow vs lard: what is the difference between tallow and lard?
Tallow is fat from rendered from beef, while lard is rendered fat from pork.
2. Tallow vs suet: what is the difference between tall and suet?
Beef suet is the fat that surrounds the kidneys, but is often used to describe the fat that surrounds meat organs.
Tallow, as mentioned above, is rendered fat.
When you render suet, it becomes tallow. Tallow is a general term used for rendered beef fat.
3. What is tallow used for?
Aside from cooking, tallow is used for candle and soap-making. You can also use it as a balm to soothe, heal, and nourish your skin.
Beef tallow is a staple of the carnivore diet. You’ve been brainwashed into believing fat and steak are bad for you.
Humans are carnivores and food is information. If you feed yourself what you have evolved to eat you will thrive. If you shock your body with new and processed sludge, your body will revolt.
The choice is yours. The carnivore diet will give you back control of your health.
We’ve talked about a lot here, and I really hope that you get a lot out of this article. It wasn’t easy for me to learn all this information – it took me years to learn about these things and improve my own health.
It doesn’t have to take that long for you. If you want to continue this journey and start improving your health, check out the getting started with the carnivore diet guide I prepared for you by clicking the button below.
It’s time to take back control.