Lard brings to mind timeless meals like flaky pie crusts and also fresh mexico tamales. For numerous people, it’s also associated with an adverse health effects such together heart disease, which is why lard has actually fallen the end of favor end the last few decades. But what specifically is lard and is it ever before the healthier choice?

What is lard and also how is the used?

Ever cook bacon and saved the grease for something else? Well, then, you’re familiar with lard! Lard is calculation pork fat, which has been strained for a smooth, white fat.

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Although it’s not unheard of to spread out it top top toast favor butter, lard is largely used for cooking. Lard is a star ingredient in some local and social cuisines. It’s supplied in Latin cuisine come give foods like refried beans, tamales, and also empanadas a delicious melt-in-your-mouth texture. Lard is likewise common in southern food, and also is the an enig ingredient for the flakiest pies and also biscuits.

Is lard healthy and balanced or unhealthy?

Lard is mostly a fat source, and has usually zero protein or carbohydrates. But despite what you could have heard around fats, this is not necessarily a negative thing. Fats room essential, definition you need them come live. Fats carry out energy and also also aid your body absorb specific vitamins.

Fats also assist moderate her body’s response to carbohydrates. Since fats digest much more slowly, eat fats with your carbohydrate can help prevent a street crash later.

Eating fats with your carbohydrates can assist prevent a street crash later.

You may be familiar with the principle of “good fats” and “bad fats.” When people use these terms they’re generally referring to unsaturated and saturated fats, respectively. In general, unsaturated fats tend to be healthier and can help protect versus chronic diseases, while saturated fat are linked with higher risk of heart disease.

What you could not realize, though, is that most fat-containing foodstuffs are not made up of only one type of fat. Most foods with fat in them space actually a distinct blend that unsaturated and saturated fats.

As you have the right to see, lard has actually less saturation fat than butter, but more than olive oil. This provides it a pretty middle-of-the-road option in regards to fat choices.

Besides simply the fat content, lard can be a resource of vitamin D, which is normally pretty difficult to attain from food.

Is it healthy to cook with lard? What alternatives are there?

There’s no single ingredient that will make or break your health. In an otherwise well-balanced diet—meaning one that has plenty of new fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and also modest amounts of sweets and also fried foods—cooking through lard now and also then will certainly not make a large difference in the healthfulness of your diet.

Olive oil is the healthiest selection out of common cooking fats, but there space some foods where the texture of lard is needed and also olive oil is no a good replacement—specifically in Latin foods like tamales and empanadas, or in a pie crust.

The push to alleviate saturated fat has led to the increase of common substitutes for lard—such as vegetable shortening. We now know that this substitutes space often made up of partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats) i beg your pardon are linked with higher health risks than the saturation fat they were designed to replace.


This affects particular cultures more than others. Due to the fact that some cultures traditionally usage lard more, they might be facing the choice of choosing between the classic option (lard), the substitute (vegetable shortening), or preventing that food completely.

This is why there’s no clear yes or no answer as soon as it involves lard. The best an option of fat counts on the situation! If you’re do a food that deserve to use olive oil, then go v the olive oil to get the many unsaturated fats. However if the an option is between lard and also a vegetables shortening (like in the case of tamales or small goods), lard may be the healthy choice.

What form of lard must you buy?

The 2 main species of lard you have the right to buy are fresh lard and shelf-stable lard. New lard is usually simply the calculation pork fat, while shelf-stable lard usually has some lot of hydrogenated fat to maintain freshness.

The fresh, refrigerated lard is the healthiest option. The shelf-stable option might potentially have some infectious diseases worldwide fats—just prefer the vegetables shortening—so it might pose part extra health threats than fresh lard.

Where to buy lard

The kind of lard you desire will aid you decide where to buy it. The grocery keep will many likely have actually shelf-stable lard in the international or spain aisle, and there’s a opportunity they’ll have some new lard v the meats. You can likewise find both shelf-stable and also fresh lard in ~ your neighborhood Hispanic market.


Another great option is come visit your local butcher, whereby you have the right to either buy fresh lard or you have the right to ask because that fresh ago fat therefore you deserve to render your very own lard at home! This is your ideal bet come avoid possibly harmful infectious diseases worldwide fats, but keep in mind fresh lard will not save as lengthy as the shelf-stable variety.

The bottom line: When need to you select lard?

Lard is not made up exclusively of saturation fats, it actually has a an excellent amount of unsaturated fats together well! and also there are specific dishes that require the texture of lard. Utilizing lard in these dishes is a healthier alternative than a very processed replacement favor vegetable shortening, however lard need to still be took pleasure in in moderation and you should still do room for an ext unsaturated fats choose olive oil in her diet.

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Krista Linares, R.D.N.Writer & Registered DietitianKrista Linares is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in diabetes, PCOS, and food allergies and also sensitivities.
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