If the study I shared yesterday is any indication, the long-waged war on fat may finally be winding down. But I won’t be resting on my laurels anytime soon. Because there’s still a whole lot of unwarranted confusion that needs to be cleared up — particularly when it comes to so-called “good fats” vs. “bad fats.”
Case in point: Butter.
People are starting to come around to the idea of olive oil or walnuts as healthy foods. But butter is still widely considered a deadly artery-clogger that should be avoided at all costs. And that’s why I want to share the results of two more new studies with you today.
First up, a meta-analysis from a team of researchers at Tufts University, which appeared in the journal PloS One back in June. This was one of the most thorough investigations to-date on the long-term health effects of butter.
When the researchers traced the actual links between butter consumption and risk of both heart disease and death, they found a neutral effect, if anything. Which is clear proof that butter is not the killer it’s been portrayed as. (Something I’ve been telling my margarine-addicted patients for the last 20 years — real foods are always the best choices.)
But it looks like this advice may finally go mainstream. And it’s about time.
I love butter, and I cook with all the time. (Whenever I’m not using macadamia nut oil, that is.) And when I’m out at a restaurant that serves up really good homemade organic butter, I’ve even been known to scoop it up, sprinkle some coarse sea salt on it, and eat it directly off the knife.
It may sound strange, but if everybody ate butter right off the knife — instead of slathering it on dinner rolls — we’d be a much healthier country, believe me.
Unfortunately, the second study I want to share is a little less clear cut. These results appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine. And the researchers looked at data from two famous long-term studies — the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
These results showed that replacing saturated and trans fats with polyunsaturated fats (as you’ll find in fish oils) and monounsaturated fats (as you’ll find in olives, avocados, and macadamia nut oil) can lower your risk of death.
I’m not going to argue with those results. There’s no question that fish oil and monounsaturated fats are good for you. But for the record, I take serious issue with lumping saturated fat together with trans fats.
As the butter study I just shared demonstrates, saturated fat is neutral, at worst. But trans fats have been proven lethal beyond a shadow of a doubt.
So I couldn’t help but feel like I was reading Mad Magazine when I saw the authors’ conclusion. The commentary claims there’s “persistent confusion” over dietary fat in the general public and the medical community.
Now, I can understand why the public doesn’t know what to believe when it comes to fat. They’re hearing the wrong story from “experts” every day. But I can’t see how there’s any confusion over this matter at all among my fellow doctors…Unless they really are as ignorant about nutrition as they appear to be.
Of course, that’s exactly the problem, isn’t it? Mainstream medicine takes its cues from parties with vested interests. They get their information from Big Pharma and Big Agribusiness — not from science. And there’s no excuse for it.
If I have time to read the research out there and report it back to you, so does every other doctor on the planet. That said, I don’t really blame doctors for this nonsense. I do, however, blame the AMA, the FDA, the USDA, and all the other “authorities” whose sole job is to give medical professionals and the public correct information.
Most importantly, we know that sugar and carbohydrates are doing far more to kill us than fat is. So why aren’t our public health officials doing more — anything — to get the word out???
Granted, the new dietary guidelines have loosened up the death grip on total fat, choosing to focus on limiting saturated fat instead. It’s ridiculous, but progress is progress, I guess. So I’ll take it.
Still, I have to wonder how many doctors have even read these new guidelines. And how long it will be before the message really sinks in the way it should.
Once again, for the record: Eating fat doesn’t make you fat. But it will make your life longer… and your meals a whole lot more enjoyable along the way.