Can you eat the fat from bone broth?
In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat the fat from bone broth?” and discuss what are the benefits of eating the fat from bone broth.
Long bones such as leg bones are composed of mainly (~80%) dense layers with a high mineral content (known as compact bone), supporting body activities and skeletal mobility, while flat bones such as rib bones have more (50%–75%) loose, spongy layers (known as cancellous bone), which contain bone marrow that forms red blood cells (1).
Can you eat the fat from bone broth?
Yes, you can eat the fat from bone broth. Fat plays different and important roles in the human body and is the most important form of energy reserve, preventing starvation.
The health benefits and risks related to the consumption of the fat extracted during the preparation of bone broth depends on its composition, which, in turn, depends on factors such as the animal species and its feeding (6).
What are the benefits of eating fat from bone broth?
Fat is important for many physiological functions in the body. One of these is to make up a concentrated reserve of energy that is efficient and economical for the body.
Fats are essential in the formation of the body cells. Cell membranes are composed of large amounts of lipids, principally phospholipids made of 3-carbon glycerol backbones (7).
Fat is also important for the psychological effect of satiability (2). Drinking bone broth has been shown to provide several health benefits (1). According to studies, the fat obtained from broth is composed mainly of oleic acid as the main component followed by stearic and palmitic acids (2).
Available evidence indicates that while most saturated fatty acids raise serum cholesterol concentrations the monounsaturated oleic acid does not. Several studies have shown that the stearic acid effect on total cholesterol is minimal and not detrimental to human health.
For practical purposes, stearic acid is essentially neutral in its effects on serum total cholesterol, similar to oleic acid. Palmitic is a saturated fatty acid that is related to the increase of serum cholesterol levels (3).
What are the risks of eating bone broth fat?
The risk of eating bone broth fat is from ingesting high quantities of saturated fatty acids. The composition of the fats in the broth varies, depending on the type of bone marrow used to prepare the broth.
It is possible that the fat is rich in saturated fatty acids. Consuming high amounts of saturated fat in the diet, have been found to be the main cause of increased levels of total and LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Elevated levels of these types of cholesterol are considered significant risk factors for coronary heart disease (6).
Health dietary guidelines have recommended that saturated fatty acids should contribute no more than 10% dietary energy.
What determines if the fat from bone broth is healthy?
The healthability of the fats in the bone broth depends on its composition. While polyunsaturated fatty acids are related to important health benefits, a diet rich in saturated fat is related to negative health effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to have anti-inflammatory effects and prevent diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases and may also be of benefit in psychological disorders (6).
On the other hand, the high consumption of saturated fat has been reported to contribute to increase in both total and LDL cholesterol, which may in turn lead to an increased risk for cardiac heart diseases.
Grain-fed beef contains 2 – 3 times more absolute saturated fat and 3 – 4 times less omega-3 fatty acids than does game meat. Game meat is particularly high in alpha-linolenic acid when compared to pasture and grain-fed beef.
Pasture-fed beef resembles game meat more closely than does grain-fed beef, as pasture-fed beef maintains relatively low concentrations of saturated fat similar to wild game, however it contains 2 – 3 times less total polyunsaturated fatty acids and 2 – 3 times less omega-3 fatty acids.
Therefore, it is expected that the fat from a bone broth produced from game meat would have improved health benefits, related to the higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
What are the benefits of eating bone broth without the fat?
Bone broths are an excellent source of minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc (1). Removing the fat from the bone broth, it is an important source of amino acids and collagen.
Arginine, glutamate, hydroxylysine, hydroxyproline and proline were of interest and could potentially explain reported health benefits from bone broth which include protecting joints and boosting the immune system. These amino acids have many health benefits.
A maintained level of increased nitric oxide production, produced from arginine, is known to improve cardiovascular health, ensure muscle growth, and strengthen the immune system. These attributes help to prevent arteriosclerosis and prevent heart attacks by moderating the level of homocysteine in the blood.
Glutamine enhances cell regeneration, glutathione production, and gut health. Hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline and glycine are key components in collagen and are known to interact with other collagen amino acids to form the collagen tripeptide molecule.
Proline is beneficial for skin health through increased collagen production thus making it crucial for wound healing (4).
Collagen, a protein found in all of these animal parts, transforms into gelatin when cooked and provides a number of essential amino acids (5). You may readily absorb the nutrients from the water while it simmers because of the release of the nutrients from the components.
The health benefits of bone broth have been long perceived, believed to help curing the effect of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infection and having a mild anti-inflammatory effect.
Bone broth has been increasingly recommended as part of the diets for gut and psychology syndrome patients, such as those with autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (1).
Other FAQs about Bone broth that you may be interested in.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat the fat from bone broth?” and we discussed what are the benefits of eating the fat from bone broth.
- Hsu, Der-jen, et al. Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths. Food nutr res, 2017, 61, 1347478.
- Saint-Germain, Claire. The production of bone broth: a study in nutritional exploitation. Anthropozoologica, 1997, 25, 153-156.
- Whetsell, Marcella S., and Edward Barrow Rayburn. Human health effects of fatty acids in beef. 2003. West Virginia University.
- Shaw, M., and N. Flynn. Amino Acid Content of Beef, Chicken and Turkey Bone Broth. J Undergrad Chem Res, 2019, 18, 15.
- Siebecker, Allison. Traditional bone broth in modern health and disease. Diss. NCNM, 2004.
- Cordain, Loren, et al. Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease. Euro J Clin Nutr, 2002, 56, 181-191.
- Glick, Norris R., and Milton H. Fischer. The role of essential fatty acids in human health. J Evidence-Based Complem Altern Med, 2013, 18, 268-289.