T Nation

Tallow


#1

Anyone use it? How does it compare to coconut oil i.e. inflammation, benefits, etc.


#2

i just bought 25 pounds of beef fat trimmings from a local butcher for 25 dollars today. I am rendering it now.

In my opinion Tallow/beef fat is the only real zero toxin food. Aside from your protein needs and ideal carb dose, you could literally get all of the rest of your calories from beef fat and tallow. It is almost impossible to oxidize in or out of the body so it can not form oxidized triglyceride particles (which cause cell death and ageing and arterial scarring).

I think that you can get too much butter, and even Ghee, though you can eat a lot of it.

Beef fat/tallow for one is about 25% oleic acid (the good thing in plant/olive oils).
It also has stearic acid which is like the saturated fat variation of linoleic (omega 6) and llnoolenic (omega 3) so I think it might compete with lineoleic for enzymes and prevent some inflammatory end products. Of course it replaces other oils which may have negative points.
It is also high in butyric acid which protects the gut and gut flora.

According to wiki, here is the fat breakdown of butter:

Saturated fatty acids:
Palmitic acid: 31%
Myristic acid: 12%
Stearic acid: 11%
Lower (at most 12 carbon atoms) saturated fatty acids: 11%
pentadecanoic acid and heptadecanoic acid: traces

Butterfat is a triglyceride (a fat) derived from fatty acids such as myristic, palmitic, and oleic acids.
Unsaturated fatty acids:
Oleic acid: 24%
Palmitoleic acid: 4%
Linoleic acid: 3%
alpha-Linolenic acid: 1%

Here is tallow or beef fat:
Saturated fatty acids:
Palmitic acid (C16:0): 26%
Stearic acid (C18:0): 14%
Myristic acid (C14:0): 3%
Monounsaturated fatty acids:
Oleic acid (C18-1, ω-9): 47%
Palmitoleic acid (C16:1)]: 3%
Polyunsaturated fatty acids:
Linoleic acid: 3%
Linolenic acid: 1%

I will point out a few things here.

  1. There is some concern that myristic acid is a little too high in butterfat to make it a 100% go-to fat. Butterfat has 12% myristic while tallow just 3%. Other than the relatively high myristic of butter these are two great food sources.

  2. They both contain palmitoleic monounsaturated fatty acids which improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.
    I don’t believe that coconut has palmitoleic

  3. They both have good stearic acid content. Stearic acid in addition to possibly being anti-inflammatory also lowers LDL.

  4. Butter is about 1/4 oleic and beef fat is almost 50%! That’s right is is basically like half olive oil with added good saturated fat.

  5. Isolated palmitic has been shown to cause insulin resistance. Some vegan researches used this to basically scare people away from butter and beef fat, however by adding a small amount of oleic acid, the insulin resisting effects are completely cancelled out! Yes, animals evolved in a way to store the RIGHT combination of fatty acids on their bodies.

  6. Butter and Beef both have about 3:1 linoleic to linolenic (omega 6 to 3). Some of the lineleic is CLA as well. So if you got 60% of your daily calories from beef fat you would have about: 7.5 grams of non-CLA linoleic and about 3 grams of omega-3 linolenic, basically the exact perfect amount and ratio of omega 6 and 3. Grass fed is actually more like 5 to 3. Again, animals store the RIGHT not the WRONG combination of fats on their bodies.

Coconut I think has a lot of myristic (19%) and not nearly as much oleic (8%) to balance it out so I would not use it all the time. It DOES have MCTs which have benefits of giving energy and go to the liver directly I think. It also has a LOT of Lauric acid (50%). It is known to raise HDL better than any other fatty acid. It also may be an antiviral.

Myristic, Lauric and palmitic also raise LDL. They are present in all three of these fat sources. Only Beef and butter have the stearic acid to balance out with its LDL reduction capacity.

So beef and butter both have a balance of Palimitic to Oleic to negate insulin desensification. They both have stearic to M-L-P (myrisitc, Lauric, palmitic) to negate the LDL raising effect, and they both have omega 6 and 3 amounts that would have you on a healthy track if they made up the bulk of your calories (you still need to avoid high omega 6 oils).


#3

I realized today that we have people who have a hard time getting enough nutrition on a budget and with food stamps, and yet beef/ungulate fat, which is the primary calorie source that homo sapiens are build to live on, is 3500 calories for a dollar. The grocery store was giving it away to me 2-3 pounds at a time. The packing house sells it for a dollar a pound. And it lasts forever.

Typically it gets trashed.


#4

One more thing I forgot. Butter and beef fat contain animal cell membranes which are high in choline. This also can prevent the development of type II diabetes.


#5

There are some sources for grass-fed beef tallow at reasonable prices, too.

As mentioned, beef fat has an very good to excellent fatty acids profile. Moreso for grassfed than commercial, but even commercial is very good.


#6

Would it coming from grain fed cows change anything?


#7

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
There are some sources for grass-fed beef tallow at reasonable prices, too.

As mentioned, beef fat has an very good to excellent fatty acids profile. Moreso for grassfed than commercial, but even commercial is very good.[/quote]

Any links available?


#8

I think that from what I’ve seen, grass fed has about 2% linoleic and 1% linolenic, while grain fed has about 3% linoleic and 1% linolenic.


#9

I’m not dead positive on this but seem to recall higher CLA content from grass fed, and to the eye I’d think more carotenoids in the fat. It certainly tastes better.

US Wellness Meats has an online listing for grassfed beef tallow that seems a good price.

I get it from a local farmer who also supplies the beef.

With commercial beef, the linoleic acid may be a little higher than the above 3%. Again I’m not dead positive, would have to go back and check references, but for sure feeding dried distillery waste grain drives up the linoleic content higher than just feeding corn. Not more than 4% though.


#10

cool thread, I do all my cooking with either beef dripping or coconut oil, so this has been music to my ears


#11

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
I’m not dead positive on this but seem to recall higher CLA content from grass fed, and to the eye I’d think more carotenoids in the fat. It certainly tastes better.

[/quote]

Yea my first try was from grain fed ribeye steaks that they gave me at the grocery store, and it came out very white. This time, I found out it was scrap fat from a grassfed cow that a local farmer had brought in for packaging as a single item and the fat was a little bit golden hued. It looks like I got about 12 pounds out before I called it quits.

They will also give away marrow bones.


#12

Bill do you see a limit needed for butter, butter fat from cream or ghee?


#13

LONG time reader, never posted, finally had to chime in on this topic. So are we saying that beef fat has virtually no drawbacks, and there is little practical difference between grass-fed and regular beef fat? How about fat that is in the beef when it is cooked? Am I just as well off buying 70/30 vs 80/20 ground beef, and keeping the fat in it rather than pouring most of it off?

If I do pour it off, can I store it in the refrigerator and use it for other cooking, consuming, etc.? I mostly use coconut oil that way currently (put it in my morning coffee, use it for cooking omelets, spinach, etc.).

Fascinating topic!


#14

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
Bill do you see a limit needed for butter, butter fat from cream or ghee? [/quote]
I’ve never thought about a limit for these. And have definitely never seen a study which would prove a reason to limit their percentage, as percentage of total fat intake.

I thought your theoretical reasoning made sense.

As entirely personal opinion just based on summing up information and using personal judgment, I think “needed” would be too strong a word. I expect a person could do just fine on these as the sole fat source, and better than most do with their choices of fat source. But I don’t think it would be optimal to make these the sole fat choice. Beef fat, coconut oil, olive oil (not really so much for the fatty acid profile which is fine, but more for the sake of getting the dissolved materials), macadamia oil, and natural-feed/no-soy animal fat in general all have so much to be said for them that I do really expect dividing fat intake among such sources is better, but there are no studies to show it versus for example dairy fat alone, or beef fat alone, etc.


#15

Ankorbolt, and aspect of those ground beef products is that you get more protein for your money with 93/7 or 90/10 beef than with 80/20 and the 90/10 has plenty of fat already for dietary purposes. I never did the comparison with 70/30 but suppose it could be a similar situation.

You can indeed use the fat for other cooking.

Seriously I’d buy the grass-fed tallow instead though: the taste difference for other cooking is drastic, or at least is with the grass-fed tallow I use.


#16

Is there theoretically or practically any problem with the ALA in beef fat getting oxidized during rendering? As I remember from organic chemistry, when you mix two or more organics you lower the melting point but you raise the boiling point, smoke point and volitility.

Also what about eggs with ALA and also DHA? Does cooking them basically make them toxic? I am thinking too that the vitamin E may protect them.

I guess cooking salmon would have similar issues.

Boiling water temperatures should be OK.

Another thing with butter is that if you brown it you get AGES.


#17

I’m not familiar with the process by which the tallow is separated but don’t see why it would have to be particularly high temperature. An example explanation of how to do it oneself ( http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2012/02/how-to-render-beef-tallow.html ) doesn’t require particularly high temperature. At least with regard to my grass-fed product, it certainly seems undamaged. Oxidized fats taste bad; if the bad taste isn’t present, which it ordinarily is not with cooking eggs, there’s no evidence of issue. I haven’t seen anything showing that ordinary cooking of eggs oxidizes the fatty acids in them.


#18

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
olive oil (not really so much for the fatty acid profile which is fine, but more for the sake of getting the dissolved materials)
[/quote]

could you elaborate on this, please?


#19

I just meant that you can get plenty of oleic acid without consuming olive oil at all. Olive oil has no fatty acid that’s otherwise hard to get.

Extra virgin olive oil though has dissolved materials in it though such as and particularly oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol which are valuable.

So while in terms of getting a good balance of fatty acids, it’s a perfectly fine oil to include, but unnecessary. So I said “not so much for the fatty acid profile, which is fine.” The reason that couldn’t be satisfied by other fats would be getting the dissolved materials.


#20

Biotest needs to market grass fed beef tallow, maybe getting it through U.S. Wellness meats. I’d have an order up constantly for it.