Part of the reason I wrote my book, Eat the Yolks, is to provide a one-stop-shop for nutrition myth-busting.
How many of us have gotten questions like…
Doesn’t all that animal protein cause cancer?
Don’t I need whole grains?
…when we explain to folks how we’re eating?
And then there’s my personal favorite:
Isn’t saturated fat bad for you?
Many of us enjoy delicious foods like butter, lard, red meat and ghee regularly. What doesn’t always compute with folks is that we DON’T eat them because we’re hedonists, or because they’re some delicious indulgence that we eat, arteries be damned. We eat them because – gasp! – they’re good for us.
People knew that foods like butter, lard, red meat and ghee were healthful for many years. See the “Prize Butter Cake” ad – butter “adds goodness and health” and is “the nation’s natural source of vitamins.” Didn’t you know?
Then came the demonization of saturated fat and cholesterol, followed by the demonization of animal protein, in the decades between 1950 until…well…now. (My book punches ALL that nutrition nonsense in the mouth.)
Let’s talk truth for a bit.
Truth: saturated fat (like that from butter or lard) from animals raised ethically, in their natural environments, is nutritious and healthful.
There are even – gasp! – scientific studies that make this pretty clear. (See the end of this post.)
It’s full of nutrients like TRUE vitamin A (butter, ghee), vitamin K2 (butter, ghee), vitamin D (lard), conjugated linoleic acid (butter, ghee), and cholesterol (all of it), which – yes – is good for you too.
(IMPORTANT: the photo at the end of this post is likely NOT of butter from properly-raised animals. But it was a good photo to illustrate my point, and it’s still better than the garbage with which it’s juxtaposed.)
Did you know that the rise of heart disease in the United States in that critical time period after 1900 and through 1955 actually occurred as Americans ate less butter and more margarine, specifically the kind containing partially hydrogenated oil? ANY TIME you see the words “partially hydrogenated,” know that those words mean one thing: TRANS FATS.
That should scare you. Trans fats, which are manmade fats created through an intensive process of chemical manipulation, are a substance totally biologically unrecognizable. Our bodies don’t know what to do with them. That’s likely why they’re connected to everything from heart disease to infertility to cancer.
The danger of trans fats was known as far back as the 1960s, when a member of the American Heart Association’s nutrition recommendations committee wrote Senator George McGovern concerning the atrocious removal of references to trans fats as potentially dangerous from his own AHA committee’s nutrition recommendations. The same man later wrote this book.
Again, more on that in Eat the Yolks.
Admittedly, not all modern margarine or butter substitutes contain partially hydrogenated oils. But they’re still not better than butter. Many of them contain emulsifiers to match butter’s texture. Others contain factory-refined oils like canola or soybean oils. Yep, even the ones that say they contain Olive Oil – check out the ingredients of this Olive Oil “spread.” And check out this video on how canola oil is made.
Truth: we’re told not to eat butter because of a long stretch of lies, cover-ups, and poorly interpreted so-called “science.”
And there are incredible volumes of science and intelligent writing available (linked below) that serve to educate on the TRUTH about butter (and saturated fat). While I’m glad to provide a few links for you, I can’t do all your Googling for you (wink). I’ve got chickens to feed and goats to play with and homesteading to do. Trust me – this information and more is at your fingertips. (‘Scalled the internet.)
And all the information you need is in my book.
Why hasn’t everyone heard about this stuff? Because it’s not passively available. It won’t be handed to you on a silver platter, squeezed in-between advertisements for some of the most heavily-funded, profitable products on the planet.
Truth: you’re not going to hear the TRUTH about margarine, butter, saturated fat or cholesterol in-between ads for Benecol and statin drugs. The truth is out there. But you’ve got to seek it yourself.
I’ve linked quite a few resources below for your reading pleasure. But here’s what I REALLY wanted to say with this post: common sense is vastly under-used and under-rated.
Whether you read the evidence or not; and whether you’re inclined to look at the entire body of evidence in either direction to synthesize it for its overall meaning and significance; whether this is new information or not; can you REALLY look at these ingredients lists and believe that a butter substitute is better than butter?
We haven’t just lost our national health in all these years of nutrition lies and industrial products pretending to be health foods. We’ve been led away – though all the illusions of the processed food industry – from our own inherent capacity for COMMON SENSE. This is deliberate. This is a purposeful effort by the makers of these garbage foods to make us FORGET to look at the labels and choose based on our own common sense.
I choose butter. You’d butter believe it.
Relevant studies (random sampling – feel free to chime in with more of your favorites in the comments):
I have access to paid subscriptions through my MPH program. Some of these will not be available to the public; however, many of them are.
Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease
Association of consumption of products containing milk fat with reduced asthma risk in pre-school children
Dairy consumption and patterns of mortality
Margarine intake and subsequent coronary heart disease in men
Blogs & Books:
Eat the Yolks
Whole Health Source: butter, margarine, and heart disease
Truth Butter: why we should question the Dietary Guidelines for Americans