Is Butter And Lard Healthy?

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Animal Fats Vs. Vegetable Oils

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.

Here’s today’s viewer question:

@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.

8 Fatty Foods That Make You Skinny

However, in that list I didn’t include butter or lard.

But does that mean butter or lard are not healthy?

Not necessarily.

I’ll explain that in a bit.

But first.

Ask Your Grandparents What They Cooked With

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:

  • butter
  • lard
  • tallow

These animal fats, along with coconut oil and egg yolks, are primarily associated with saturated fats.

Unfortunately, based on a lot of flawed studies from the 1900s, some people today still think saturated fat equals clogged arteries.

Avoid These Unhealthy Sources Of Fat

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.

Is Butter Healthy For You?

Is Butter And Lard Healthier Than Vegetable Oils?

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:

  • vitamin A
  • CLA
  • butyrate

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.

What About The Lactose In Butter?

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.

Butter Nutrition Facts (1 tbsp serving):

  • Calories: 102
  • Protein: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fat: 11.5g

Butter Fat Breakdown:

Now let’s breakdown the type of fat found in butter.

  • Saturated Fat: 63%
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 26%
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4%

Is Lard Healthy For You?

Is Butter And Lard Healthier Than Vegetable Oils?

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.

Lard Nutrition Facts (1 tbsp serving):

  • Calories: 115
  • Protein: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fat: 13g

Lard Fat Breakdown:

Now let’s breakdown the type of fat found in lard.

  • Saturated Fat: 38%
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 46%
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 11%

As you can see, lard is actually higher in monounsaturated fat, although most people consider it to be primarily a saturated fat.

Is Tallow Healthy For You?

Is Butter And Lard Healthy?

Tallow is a rendered from the fat of beef or lamb.

Tallow Nutrition Facts (1 tbsp serving):

  • Calories: 115
  • Protein: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fat: 13g

Tallow Fat Breakdown:

Now let’s breakdown the type of fat found in tallow.

  • Saturated Fat: 50%
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 41%
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4%

Is Vegetable Oil Healthy For You?

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.

The Best Cooking Oil For High Heat

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.

These polyunsaturated vegetable oils are also higher in omega 6 fatty acids, which may also lead to more inflammation and insulin resistance.

The most commonly used vegetables oils for cooking include:

  • Canola oil (rapeseed oil)
  • Sunflower oil
  • Soybean oil

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.

soybean oil

Soybean Oil Nutrition Facts (1 tbsp serving):

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fat: 14g

Soybean Oil Fat Breakdown:

Now let’s breakdown the type of fat found in soybean oil.

  • Saturated Fat: 15%
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 22%
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 57%

Bottom Line:

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.

Canola Oil vs Coconut Oil vs Olive Oil For Cooking

Do We Cook With Butter And Lard?

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:

  • Saturated Fat: 11%
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 71%
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 14%

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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Question Of The Day:

  • Do you use butter or lard to cook with?
  • What type of cooking oil do you use?

Share your experiences in the comment section below.

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