What is tallow, and is it suitable for the Keto diet?

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What is tallow, and is it suitable for the Keto diet?

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Tallow is a cooked and pure raw beef fat collected from around the cow’s kidneys and loins. People melt it and remove the impurities to use for cooking. 

Tallow is healthy because of its nutritional benefits and fat composition: 50% saturated, 42% monounsaturated, 4% polyunsaturated. Since tallow is a healthy fat, it is excellent for the keto diet.

People are making tallow a part of their diets again since studies have shown this fat is healthier than plant-based oils. 

The Benefits of Beef Tallow

Tallow contains Vitamins A, D, E, B12, K, and Omega-3. It’s high in monounsaturated fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and antioxidants. 

It can be heated at high temperatures without creating harmful free radicals.  

Tallow samples tested contained up to 25% polar compounds (oxidation products) after 40 hours of continuous heating at 180°C. 

According to a controlled lab study, after just 6 hours of heat at 180°C, sunflower oil contains over 20% polar compounds. Other benefits include:

  • Anti-inflammatory: conjugated linoleic acid contains properties that reduce body inflammation.
  • Stronger body: CLA improves the immune system, boosts energy, and helps better control blood sugar.
  • Protects from infections: beef tallow contains palmitoleic acid, which has antimicrobial properties.
  • Supports the nervous system: Choline is a nutrient found in tallow that converts into neurotransmitters for regulating body functions such as breathing and heart rate. Its healthy fatty acids also help protect nerve cells.
  • Helps the body burn fat: healthy fats release a hormone called glucagon, which is responsible for burning stored fat and using it to boost energy.
  • Better skin: tallow is high in vitamins that are great for your skin, such as vitamin E, D, and K. They help create healthy cells, balance skin tone, minimize damage caused by sun exposure, prevent wrinkles, and more.
  • Sustainability: Tallow is also a byproduct of cattle farming, so no fancy resources are required. Plus, you can make it at home by removing and melting the fat from meat.

Tallow is keto-friendly

The ketogenic diet is high in fats and low in carbohydrates, but that doesn’t mean you can eat any fat. 

Instead, you should look for healthy fats such as nuts, olive, avocado, and coconut oil. Among these healthy fats is beef tallow, and using it for cooking can help you reach your fat goals. 

Uses for tallow

  • Cooking: it’s an excellent alternative for butter and oils. It also leaves your food tasting great.
  • Soap bars: tallow hardens and lathers well.
  • Moisturizers: tallow is used in most body butters because it contains the same fatty acids as your skin and is easily absorbed. The saturated fats in it contribute to skin regeneration and repair.
  • Dog food: you can use beef tallow to make yummy treats for your pets.
  • Candles: tallow is more affordable than beeswax.

Tallow is easy to make

People make tallow through a process called rendering, which consists of melting raw fat. There are two ways you can do this:

  • Dry rendering: Fat pieces are left to melt on low heat until they become liquid. Don’t let the fat burn, as it will leave a bad taste in the tallow. As soon as you stop hearing crackling and popping, stop rendering. Use a cheesecloth and mesh strainer to strain the grease after it has cooled. Keep it in a glass jar, such as a mason jar.
  • Water rendering: Cover the pieces with water, boil them, extract the liquid fat, and pour it into a heat-resistant container. You will notice the liquid will get darker. Strain the liquid to remove all cracklings. Once cooled, place the fat in the refrigerator to harden overnight. Separate the tallow from the water in the morning. Here’s an easy recipe to follow.

Where you can find tallow

If you can’t make it yourself, some farmers sell tallow for an affordable price. You can also find rendered tallow in health food stores or specialty grocery stores. You can also buy it off of Amazon

But the best way is to find a farmer that raises 100% grass-fed cattle. 

If you are making tallow, look for high-quality beef fat from a local butcher or farmer. Look for pasture-raised cows and ask for leaf fat. 


Tallow is a healthy and straightforward way to incorporate good fat into your diet. Even if you don’t follow a keto diet, switching to tallow will benefit you.

Research has shown that fat is not necessarily unhealthy, as some people believe. 

For example, low-fat diets do not reduce the risk of heart disease, according to researchers. In fact, a high-fat diet leads to fewer cardiovascular events. 

Tallow prevents diseases like breast and prostate cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes. So cooking with tallow should be on your list of things to do.

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