¿Es mala la grasa del jamón ibérico? Enrique Tomás

Is the fat within Jamón Ibérico unhealthy?

While we can't claim that the fat in Iberian ham has beneficial properties for our health, it's true that there are two types of fat: infiltrated fat, which is healthier, and external fat.

Does ham fat make you gain weight? Should you remove it? Does it have many calories? Can I eat it if I want to lose weight? These are some of the questions our customers ask us every day. At Enrique Tomás, as ham experts, we're here to clear up all your doubts.

You'll be able to stop worrying about ham fat, learn the truth about it, and enjoy Iberian ham 100% in the healthiest way without regrets. Health comes first.


Iberian Ham Fat

There is a general fear of fats, as they're often associated with causing all our health problems and/or weight gain. The truth is, our body needs healthy fats to function properly, especially in the case of women, where fats are necessary for certain metabolic functions to work correctly.

Not all fats are the same. In the case of ham, the fat we should make the most of is the infiltrated fat, the one that's seen within the slices. On the other hand, we shouldn't overindulge in the external fat.


Culinary Ideas

With this in mind, Iberian ham can contribute healthy fat and protein to our dishes, as it's a protein-rich food in itself, an essential macronutrient for our bone structure. Aside from ham, it provides us with micronutrients such as B vitamins and minerals like iron and zinc, all of which are necessary for our bodies. If you want to learn more, we recommend reading our post on: Nutritional Properties of Ham.

Considering our body's need for including protein from plant or animal sources in all meals, it's evident that ham can be a protein option, an animal-based one, for our daily meals. For example, a ham sandwich for breakfast or a snack, green asparagus with ham, scrambled eggs with potato and ham, salads with ham, and more.

 Ensalada de judías, boniato y jamón ibéricoEnsalada de judías, boniato y jamón ibérico

Receta de pasta de lentejas 3
Pasta de lentejas con pimiento y jamón

Internal and External Fat of Iberian Ham

Internal Fat

Iberian ham contains two types of fat: internal and external.

When we talk about internal fat, we refer to those small whitish veins seen within each slice of Iberian ham, which contribute to the exquisite flavor and texture of this type of cured meat.

These veins appear due to the ability of Iberian pigs to infiltrate fat into the muscle during their time in the dehesa, where the animals roam freely, feeding on acorns and other wild fruits , and engaging in exercise. Thanks to this diet, the fat in Iberian acorn ham contains over 50% oleic acid, which can contribute to lowering cholesterol levels.


External Fat

On the other hand, external fat, although it serves a protective and preservative function for the ham, should not be consumed in excess. This fat surrounds the ham and should be removed when slicing it, leaving at most a thin edge. But why? First, to avoid overshadowing the flavor of the infiltrated fat within the ham, and second, excessive consumption of this external fat could make consumption difficult due to its chewiness.

So, is eating Iberian ham good for you? We can say YES, as it provides nutrients that our body needs to function properly. Just remember, less is more!


Como empezar a cortar una paletilla iberica

Iberian Ham in a Low-Calorie Diet

Unlike other types of ham, Iberian ham is a gourmet product and a marvel of Spanish gastronomy. Despite what many believe, this ham, sourced from Iberian breed pigs, is a food rich in healthy fats and high in vitamins and proteins.

Although it contains veins of internal fat in each slice, it doesn't mean that the product provides an excess of fats or unhealthy saturated fats. On the contrary, it's a product that provides healthy fat, the so-called unsaturated fat, as it's infiltrated into the muscle.


Characteristics and Types of Iberian Pigs

Let's remember that pigs are monogastric animals, meaning they have only one stomach. This allows the fatty acids they ingest through their diet and exercise during the montanera (grazing period) to be incorporated directly into their tissues with minimal transformation.

This is why the diet of the animal is crucial in determining the quality of the fat, which in turn affects the caloric content of the ham. Among the qualities of Iberian ham, we have: Iberian ham from grain-fed pigs, Iberian ham from pigs raised on pasture, acorn-fed ham, and 100% acorn-fed Iberian ham.

Furthermore, it's important to note that the fat on Iberian ham, the one covering the ham, appearing more yellowish, and the fat on the edges of the slices, would be considered more saturated fat, not as healthy as the intramuscular fat. Thus, it's not recommended for consumption if you're following a low-calorie diet.

If you want to learn more, we recommend reading our posts:


Ingredientes Carpaccio de Jamón IbéricoIngredients for Iberian Ham Carpaccio

Enrique Tomás Zero Zero Ham

Are you an athlete or following a weight loss or high-protein diet and don't want to give up a delicious product like Iberian ham? With Enrique Tomás, you don't have to, as you can now buy Zero Zero Ham specially made for people like you, hand-cut by our expert carvers in an artisanal way. It's a ham extracted from the boneless center of the ham, from the part closest to the bone where external fat doesn't exist.

After a study conducted by our experts, we found that the qualities of Gran Reserva Ham and the two types of Iberian ham, both the grain-fed Iberian and the 50% acorn-fed Iberian, allowed us to create a ham with the necessary nutritional qualities to call it Zero Zero Ham.


Zero Zero Ham - Heart and Sports

It's a ham with very low levels of fat and sugar and high in protein. It's a well-cured ham that has all the advantages for comfortably following a strict diet, whether for health or sports reasons.

And all of this without forgetting its delicious taste!

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