The heart foundation still pushing the “margarine is better than butter” line. This bothers me, in fact it really angers me. With so much information out there about the dangers of trans fats etc and still margarine is promoted as a health food.
Humans evolved on the produce of their animals and depending on the culture, it could have been cow, goat, sheep, camel, yak, or mare’s milk. It was consumed in great quantities, often revered, was highly nutritious and quite varied. Without refrigeration much of it was soured, fermented or cultured. It was not pasturised. In all its forms – milk, butter, fresh and sour cream, yogurt, kefir, cheese ( ie curds) and whey - it provided a considerable portion of man’s nutritional requirements. Butter has a long history versus the propaganda of the last 80 yrs and one doesn’t need to be a scientist to see the correlations between the dramatic increase in illness, the decline in natural whole foods and the unprecedented consumption of man-made (commercial) produce..
Butter is the fat component of milk, it is natural. Margarine is not, it is a relatively new, man-made toxic construct loaded with chemicals. Manufacturers start with the cheapest vegetable oils extracted, at high temperatures and pressures, from cottonseed, soybean, canola, safflower and corn, grown using pesticides and chemical fertilizers. These rancid oils are steam cleaned then flooded at high temperatures and pressures with hydrogen gas which rearranges the molecular structure. It is now a hydrogenated fat – a lumpy, smelly, grey, semi solid, so, soap-like emulsifiers are mixed in to remove the lumps! It is steam cleaned, again, to remove the odour of chemicals, bleached to lose the grey colour, then coloured to resemble butter. Synthetic vitamins and flavours are added. Which would you rather eat? Should we believe the heart foundation and numerous organizations that benefit from the denigration of butter and the promotion of margarine or should we trust our ancestors, our instincts, our taste buds, and the evidence..
Butter is a concentrated source of all fat soluble vitamins, particularly vitamin A. These vitamins are needed for the absorption of water soluble vitamins and for mineral metabolism. That makes butter an extremely valuable food. There is no vegetable source of vitamin A. Vegetables contain beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the liver, however not all can do this conversion. Vitamins A and D are essential for growth, healthy bones, for the brain and nervous system, for sexual development and fertility. Butter contains short-chain fatty acids for immune function and butter contains the right amount and perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are respectively, the anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory precursors which is significant as inflammation is the basis of both healing and disease (heart disease, cancer, arthritis). Butter is a rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant, and iodine which is necessary for thyroid function.
The big four health issues of the western world, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity are also relatively new. Is this a coincident? They were certainly far less prevalent in our grandparent’s day and non-existent in traditional cultures. Even in America heart disease was rare at the turn of the century, but between 1920 and1960 the incidence of heart disease rose dramatically to become their number one killer as it is today, and in Australia). During the same period butter consumption dropped from eighteen pounds per person per year to just four!
These relatively new diseases are increasing rapidly and causing much misery and financial burden to all but the drug companies which profit handsomely with new drugs for this increasing list of diseases. New diseases like macular degeneration, unheard of ten yrs ago and others on the rise like multiple sclerosis, infertility and sadly for our youth - ADD,
depression, learning difficulties, allergies, asthma – the list is becoming endless, all for the want of good basic nutrient dense foods instead of the processed junk we feed kids today. This includes all margarines and spreads, highly sugared, low fat yogurts and the widespread use of vegetable oils, trans fats, and hydrogenated fats in the home, take away and commercially produced “foods”.
So if you want to go back to our ancestor’s way of eating and the health they enjoyed, then shun the propaganda of the C20th and go back to butter .– Butter aids the absorption of minerals from food so putting butter and sea salt on steamed vegetables is good nutrition. Butter or cream on your porridge (butter is churned cream), butter liberally your (sourdough) bread and finally sauté foods in butter - fried steak, mushrooms, onions all taste better for the butter. The saturated fat in butter (and coconut oil) is very stable and even at high temperatures will not break down. While olive oil is very good for you it is best used as a salad oil or as a medium heat oil only.
Far from being bad for us butter is actually one of the healthiest fats on the planet and certainly the most important fat in our diet today. Some cultures that do not eat butter obtain the same nutrients from insects, organ meats, fish eggs, and the fat of marine animals but I think most of us would rather eat good old fashioned butter.