Before the trend toward plant-based oils gained traction, us Brits would consume good old-fashioned lard without fear.
But these days, the grease has been shunned in favour of fashionable alternatives like coconut, macadamia nut or even avocado oil.
However, one nutritionist recommends returning to our lard ingesting ways and even goes as far as to suggest it could be good for us.
Appearing on Monday night’s Food Unwrapped, nutritionist Jo Travers of the British Dietetic Association reveals that lard, despite being made from pig fat, contains so-called ‘good’ fats known as monounsaturated fats which previous studies have shown can help lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
And while past research has linked unsaturated fats to heart disease, more recent ones suggest that eating healthy unsaturated fats could actually improve heart health.
In fact, Travers even suggests that it could be better for us than butter.
“Lard has actually quite a lot of the monounsaturated fats, and that is the heart healthy fat,” she explains to Food Unwrapped presenter Matt Tebbutt.
“Those kind of fats we actually need in our diets and it has much more in fact than butter does.
“When you get down to it, there’s nothing actually wrong with including lard in your diet.”
That being said, the nutritionist does go on to explain that not all lard can be considered healthy.
While pure lard contains no trans fats, the stuff that’s commercially produced and can be bought from supermarkets might, so you need to make sure you read the labels properly.
If it says hydrogenated anywhere on the label it should be avoided, warns Tebbutt.
Instead, he recommends buying high quality lard from a farm that rears free-range pigs.
Despite the show’s findings, the NHS still recommends using ‘healthier’ alternatives.
“Try to cut down on foods that are high in saturated fat and have smaller amounts of foods that are rich in unsaturated fat instead
“For a healthy choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee.
And leading Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert told The Independent: “To say that one food is ‘better’ than another can sometimes be unhelpful because food can become unenjoyable if we feel like we ’shouldn’t’ be eating it. It is important to remember that all foods should be enjoyed in moderation.
“Butter and Lard are both high in fat. However, recent studies have found that eating more monosaturated fat doesn’t increase the risk of heart disease at all, while some studies show it can raise good HDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. However, we should be mindful of our portion sizes as they are very energy dense foods.
“The difference between lard and butter is that lard is made up of 50% monounsaturated fat whereas butter is around 32%. This would suggest you get slightly more essential fats from lard but, if you enjoy cooking with or spreading butter on your toast, then you should go for it.”