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Is pastured butter more nutritious than lard?

by (432)
Updated November 25, 2014 at 3:46 AM
Created November 05, 2012 at 8:23 PM

In other words which animal fat will give me the most bang for my buck?

Might these animal fats have more vitamins than Grass-fed butter: hog lard, duck fat, buffalo lard, tallow, schmaltz?

Is grass-fed butter really worth the price?

Are there nutrients in grassfed butter that might make it superior to other animal fats?

Are there nutrients in pasture-raised butter that one would have difficulty finding elsewhere?

Is winter raw butter inferior to pasteurIZED(cooked) summer butter?

Should I fill my freezer up with enough pastured butter to last the winter?

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3043 · November 16, 2012 at 3:24 PM

"Pastured" means that the animals were raised on "pasture," or that they had access to grass and were able to forage for food. So, "pastured lard/pork" was not raised in confinement, but most pigs still get supplemental food.

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Other issues about butter: pasteurized or raw, salted or unsalted, cultured or so-called sweet cream. NOI (not otherwise indicated) you will get salted, pasteurized, uncultured; none of which improve the quality and nutrition.

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Fish fat would be the best overall (fish are animals)-if wild fish, like salmon, preferably eaten with the fish. Lamb is next, also preferably eaten with the meat. Assuming you are not able to get seal meat and fat. I found that the lemon flavored fish oil in a bottle can be used mixed with olive oil in salad dressing without any bad flavor/taste. But once you have filled whatever is your need for Omega 3, then better to go for mono fatty acids and collateral nutrients in whatever fats you eat: olive oil, cream rather than butter.

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 3:42 AM

CLA is healthy PUFA resulting from the microbial action in the cows rumen incorporated into the milk.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9
717 · November 06, 2012 at 4:16 AM

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/01/lard-retraction.html "Lard from pasture-raised pigs (and tallow from pasture-raised cows) has about as much vitamin D as summer butter, which is enough to prevent rickets but not enough to make a major contribution to an optimum intake. So while pasture-raised leaf lard is still on my list of good fats, please don't rely on it to provide vitamin D."

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4875 · November 06, 2012 at 3:38 AM

I think the nutrient content is going to depend highly on what the animal was fed.

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26182 · November 06, 2012 at 2:04 AM

Woah, Masterjohn made something up and cited a unspecified source? That's never happened!

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12702 · November 06, 2012 at 12:11 AM

Huh, Masterjohn's citation for vitamin D content is an article on the WAPF blog. That article itself cites an unspecified USDA report, but none of the ones I've looked at have come anywhere near confirming such a significant value. That would be really interesting if pastured lard was a really good vitamin D source, but I remain skeptical.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56
2029 · November 05, 2012 at 11:41 PM

http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/Vitamin-D.html "The second richest source of vitamin D is lard. No, you didn't read that wrong -- lard. Lard ... is over four times richer in vitamin D than its nearest competitor, herring. Granted, the pigs need to be exposed to sunlight to generate vitamin D." The first greatest source mentioned is cod liver oil. This depends on brand/processing though. My own cod liver oil contains only 462 IUs per tsp.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12702 · November 05, 2012 at 11:32 PM

I'm pretty sure lots of fish and fish liver oils beat out lard in the vitamin D department.

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2029 · November 05, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Pastured butter has some vitamin A and a little vitamin E. But you can get a lot more of both of those from other foods. It also contains K-2, which is hard to get from other foods. Pastured dairy is about the best source. It consists primarily of saturated fat with some MUFA.

Pastured lard contains vitamin D (according to this link, it is the best food source available, but as commenters corrected, this may not be true). Pastured tallow also contains D. Lard is about 50% MUFA, about 40% SFA, and about 10% PUFA. Tallow is mostly SFA (60%), a bit less MUFA (35%?), and about 5% PUFA. In many places pastured lard is more accessible/cheaper than tallow, but in my area it's the same price. My digestion is hit-or-miss with pork fat, so I stick with tallow.

I know duck fat is high in monounsaturates compared to butter, but I don't know anything else about its micronutrient value.

ETA: Both pastured tallow and pastured butter contain Conjugated Linoleic Acid. CLA is largly specific to ruminent animals, and is therefore difficult to get from other sources. Since you can get vit D in reasonable amounts from other foods, as commenters suggested, this may be other reason to prefer tallow over lard.

Mercola has a chart for CLA concentration in various foods at this link. I wasn't able to find another source in a cursory google search, and don't have access to the source he used, so take with a grain of salt.

Edited to correct: Information/opinion on vitamin D and lard. Thanks for the feedback!

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56
2029 · November 05, 2012 at 11:41 PM

http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/Vitamin-D.html "The second richest source of vitamin D is lard. No, you didn't read that wrong -- lard. Lard ... is over four times richer in vitamin D than its nearest competitor, herring. Granted, the pigs need to be exposed to sunlight to generate vitamin D." The first greatest source mentioned is cod liver oil. This depends on brand/processing though. My own cod liver oil contains only 462 IUs per tsp.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12702 · November 06, 2012 at 12:11 AM

Huh, Masterjohn's citation for vitamin D content is an article on the WAPF blog. That article itself cites an unspecified USDA report, but none of the ones I've looked at have come anywhere near confirming such a significant value. That would be really interesting if pastured lard was a really good vitamin D source, but I remain skeptical.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26182 · November 06, 2012 at 2:04 AM

Woah, Masterjohn made something up and cited a unspecified source? That's never happened!

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9
717 · November 06, 2012 at 4:16 AM

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/01/lard-retraction.html "Lard from pasture-raised pigs (and tallow from pasture-raised cows) has about as much vitamin D as summer butter, which is enough to prevent rickets but not enough to make a major contribution to an optimum intake. So while pasture-raised leaf lard is still on my list of good fats, please don't rely on it to provide vitamin D."

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3
12702 · November 05, 2012 at 11:32 PM

I'm pretty sure lots of fish and fish liver oils beat out lard in the vitamin D department.

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2387 · November 11, 2012 at 5:13 AM

I honestly don't think anyone knows about grassfed butter. Sure, Weston A Price had good success with pasture butter and perhaps in combination with other things 60-70+ years ago, but I've yet to see chemical tests of today's grassfed butter/ghee or even butter-oil supplements to show they really could be worth a darn by comparison and really are full of cool K2 et al, or that studies have been done that use those materials to prove they are worth a darn.

In other words, when Kerrygold or Pure Indian Foods posts regular test results of their products, or my local farmers for that matter, I don't know their butter really is worth diddly squat over standard store bought.

But I have faith that it does since I am a devout paleo guy.

Just get a variety of animals fats, including butter, in your diet and you will be fine.

(ok why is this being submitted as community wiki?)

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
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2387 · November 11, 2012 at 4:32 AM

I honestly don't think anyone knows about grassfed butter. Sure, Weston A Price had good success with pasture butter and perhaps in combination with other things 60-70+ years ago, but I've yet to see chemical tests of today's grassfed butter/ghee or even butter-oil supplements to show they really could be worth a darn by comparison and really are full of cool K2 et al, or that studies have been done that use those materials to prove they are worth a darn.

In other words, when Kerrygold or Pure Indian Foods posts regular test results of their products, or my local farmers for that matter, I don't know their butter really is worth diddly squat over standard store bought.

But I have faith that it does since I am a devout paleo guy.

Just get a variety of animals fats, including butter, in your diet and you will be fine.

082418f5a6a97580ba2f4780f911fe62
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0 · March 07, 2013 at 12:18 PM

relevant qoute here from mercola.com on the nutritional status of 'pastured' lard -

Pork fat also contains a novel form of phosphatidylcholine that possesses antioxidant activity superior to Vitamin E. This may be one reason why lard and bacon fat are relatively stable and not prone to rancidity from free radicals.8

Bacon fat from pastured pigs also comes replete with fat-soluble vitamin D, provided it's bacon from foraging pigs that romp outdoors in the sun for most of year. Factory-farmed pigs kept indoors and fed rations from soy, casein, corn meal, and other grains, are likely to show low levels of Vitamin D.

It's a Numbers Game...

How much Vitamin D is the question. Most databases suggest 100 to 250 IU per 100 grams, with some of the higher numbers coming from Italy, where even commercial pigs are more likely to see the great outdoors.9-10 However, far higher numbers have been reported, especially for pastured pigs.

According to Dr. Mary Enig, USDA laboratories in the 1980s came up with the figure of 2,800 IUs per 100 grams though that data was never officially reported by the government agency.11 According to her source at the USDA, the agency chose to suppress this information because it wanted the public to think its vitamin D must come from fortified milk and other BigAg products. Whether the 2,800 IUs figure is valid and represents sophisticated laboratory testing still not in common use, or a typographical error for 280 IUs is not known. USDA databases from that period do not even include Vitamin D.

Other unanswered questions involve the Vitamin A content of bacon fat or lard. USDA tables — both the official tables and the unpublished 1980 findings discovered by Dr. Enig – report levels of zero.12-13 Yet a 1948 study showed that Vitamin A deficiency in rats can be corrected with lard. Indeed Vitamin A-deficient rats reversed the deficiency when provided fats that replaced the sucrose in their chow. Even more interesting, those animals fared better than those on the same diet with added Vitamin A palmitate, a synthetic form of A.

Although any fats seemed to help, the effect was most pronounced with lard.14 This makes little sense given the seeming lack of Vitamin A in lard, but a series of studies from the early 1950s identified the presence of a "vitamin A replacing factor" in lard even when Vitamin A itself was not detected.15-19

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
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70 · November 16, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Hold on! Pastured milk, butter and cream means something, but pastured lard?? This must be partly about pasture raised and partly about pasteurized, but sometimes confusing the two.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d
3043 · November 16, 2012 at 3:24 PM

"Pastured" means that the animals were raised on "pasture," or that they had access to grass and were able to forage for food. So, "pastured lard/pork" was not raised in confinement, but most pigs still get supplemental food.

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 3:07 PM

Other issues about butter: pasteurized or raw, salted or unsalted, cultured or so-called sweet cream. NOI (not otherwise indicated) you will get salted, pasteurized, uncultured; none of which improve the quality and nutrition.

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
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70 · November 16, 2012 at 3:38 AM

Many more nutrients in butter, plus lard (if you mean what is sold in blocks) has suffered serious thermal abuse as well as being preserved typically with BHT or similar substances. Butter from cows has fats ranging from the short chain fatty acids to PUFA. As a distinguishing fact consider that the nutrients are in the milk to nourish the needs of the growing calf, those in the lard (what is left of them after processing for preservation) are primarily to provide energy for a pig.

http://www.milkfacts.info/Milk%20Composition/Fat.htm

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Fish fat would be the best overall (fish are animals)-if wild fish, like salmon, preferably eaten with the fish. Lamb is next, also preferably eaten with the meat. Assuming you are not able to get seal meat and fat. I found that the lemon flavored fish oil in a bottle can be used mixed with olive oil in salad dressing without any bad flavor/taste. But once you have filled whatever is your need for Omega 3, then better to go for mono fatty acids and collateral nutrients in whatever fats you eat: olive oil, cream rather than butter.

0e84c3d1553e77af594676e971e2aa4a
70 · November 16, 2012 at 3:42 AM

CLA is healthy PUFA resulting from the microbial action in the cows rumen incorporated into the milk.

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