On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, we’re answering the following viewer question, is butter and lard healthy?
Let’s compare animal fats vs vegetable oils based on their nutrition facts and the breakdown of saturated fat vs. monounsaturated fat vs polyunsaturated fat.
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So with all that said, let’s get into it.
@SaraSmile1984 on Snapchat asks: What is your opinion of cooking with animal fats such as grass fed butter and lard? Is butter and lard healthy compared to vegetable oils?
First of all, don’t be afraid to eat fat.
The right types of healthy fat are essential for:
Here’s a video where I shared 8 of my favorite sources of healthy fat.
However, in that list I didn’t include butter or lard.
But does that mean butter or lard are not healthy?
I’ll explain that in a bit.
If your grandparents are still around, go ask them what they use to cook with.
More than likely, the answer would be animal fats, specifically:
Unfortunately, based on a lot of flawed studies from the 1900s, some people today still think saturated fat equals clogged arteries.
During this time, vegetable oil producers created and heavily marketed that vegetables oils, which contained man made industrial trans fats, were a healthier alternative to saturated fats.
So the question is, is butter and lard healthier than vegetable oils?
Let’s analyze and compare each one, starting with butter.
Now I’m pretty sure you are all familiar with what butter is.
If not, butter is a dairy product made from cow’s milk or cream.
Butter is high in:
As explained in this video post, CLA is a type of fat that may reduce body fat and improve your immune system.
Butyrate is a type of fat that may improve digestive health and decrease inflammation.
Butter also has a smoke point of 300-350F, meaning it’s better for cooking over lower heat.
Lastly, if you like butter, but avoid dairy because of the lactose, I have some good news.
Butter is very low in lactose, coming in at only 0.04 – 0.5 grams.
Compare that to a glass of dairy milk, which contains 9-14 grams of lactose per cup.
Now let’s breakdown the type of fat found in butter.
Lard is a rendered from the fat of pig.
Bacon fat could be considered a type of lard, although the lard you would buy from a store would have more of a neutral flavor.
In addition fat, lard is a great source of choline, which may help reduce heart disease.
When buying lard, look for lard from organic, pasture raised pigs.
Lard has a higher smoke point of 375F.
This means it can be used in frying, baking, and sautéing, without being oxidized.
Now let’s breakdown the type of fat found in lard.
As you can see, lard is actually higher in monounsaturated fat, although most people consider it to be primarily a saturated fat.
Tallow is a rendered from the fat of beef or lamb.
Now let’s breakdown the type of fat found in tallow.
Since I already did an entire video post on the best cooking oils, and why you should avoid vegetable oils, I don’t want to go into too much detail about that in this video post.
However, to sum it up, vegetable cooking oils are more unstable, especially when you heat them up.
This can create more oxidation and free radical damage in the body.
The most commonly used vegetables oils for cooking include:
Fortunately in 2015, the FDA banned trans fats, however, crisco’s first ingredient is still the unstable soybean oil.
Now, let’s quickly do the same analysis on soybean oil as we did with butter and lard.
Now let’s breakdown the type of fat found in soybean oil.
From a macronutrient perspective, all these sources of fat are fairly equivalent in calories and fat content.
However, it’s the type of fat that is the issue.
Unlike animal fats such as butter and lard, vegetable oils are higher in inflammatory omega 6 fats.
This imbalance of omega 3 to omega 6 fats may lead to further inflammation and obesity.
This is one of the main reasons why cooking with animal fats or healthier cooking oils such as avocado oil, is healthier than vegetable oils.
With all that said, we don’t usually cook with butter or lard, but I am open to it.
I just prefer to cook with avocado oil since it has a higher heating and smoke point of 500F, and a healthy fat ratio:
Although when I’m making bacon, sometimes I will cook the eggs in the bacon fat, and on occasion I’ll add butter to a bagel if I’m having a cheat meal.
Bottom line, cooking with butter and lard is healthier than vegetable oils.
Just make sure you’re eating an organic grass fed butter and lard from organic, pasture raised pigs.
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Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.