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Butter Has A Public Relations Crisis

Butter needs to fire its publicist, agent, and manager. Arguably since the 1950’s, butter has been between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the question of it’s nutritional value. Is it good for me? Is it bad for me? It’s so delicious, do I really care?

Yes, you should care. Is it bad for you? Maybe…

Butter: The natural choice

I know. Most people don’t like to hear the dreaded “M word: Maybe”. But a writer must be honest with his readers and that is the honest answer. You see, butter has a problem as it can be created naturally and as dietary fats go, that’s a big deal. A positive health push in recent years has been to move towards less processing in the foods we eat.

While butter can certainly be over processed, it can also be created organically, which means it should be an option. If that’s the case, then why does butter still get a bad rap? The answer? Lazy public health officials.

The search for the heart disease panacea

Now, I appreciate what our governmental stewards do for us. However, in the 1980’s, there came a slew of studies that provided mixed results and complicated findings regarding unsaturated fats, saturated fats, and trans fats.

The goal was to find out what was causing heart disease which includes atherosclerosis, heart attacks and a number of other health complications. Essentially, the results of the studies told us that unsaturated fats are generally good for heart health, saturated fats can be good and bad (more on that later), and trans fats should be avoided like the plague.

These studies also showed us that replacing even the smallest portion of your dietary fat intake from trans or saturated fats to unsaturated fats can lower your risk of heart disease by a mind-boggling 50 percent!

The media’s reduction message

However, our friends at the national policy centers and the media decided to simply say: “Fat bad. Lower Fat Consumption!” And the media perpetuated this idea to the fullest of its ability, as did the food industry.

Unfortunately, there were negative health consequences. In order to make up for the lack of flavor that fat naturally provides, food companies began adding carbohydrates, sugars, and sodium. Let’s just say that the alternative to heart disease became obesity and high blood pressure, among other things.

Butter’s rise to infamy

Through this mantra, we saw butter become the villain in every super market. Truthfully, I still marvel that Paula Dean was able to create such a culinary empire with these ideas still being perpetuated.

At any rate, while butter was working on its reputation, I was learning a thing or two about nutrition. Namely, not to trust everything that the media put out. So, I went to my nutritionist. It was the best move I ever made.

Knowledge is power

You see, I learned that everyone needs fat. Dietary fat consumption is not directly linked to an increase in bad cholesterol (LDLs). It depends on the KIND of fat you’re consuming, which brings us to butter.

Butter contains saturated fat, which both increases your level of LDLs, while increasing your level of HDLs (the GOOD cholesterol). In this way, butter is not an overwhelmingly negative contributor to your health. If anything, it can be somewhat neutral. Still, doctors say to limit your intake of saturated fats.

However, unlike Crisco and some of the other fats that have been used in cooking and baking, butter can be naturally created, which in my opinion, gives it a leg up on the competition.

What’s the bottom line on butter?

Suffice it to say, an abundance of butter in the diet is not going to make your doctor happy. But that does not mean you have to stop eating it entirely. Fat is good for you. Everyone needs it. Studies have shown that polyunsaturated fats like those found in nuts, seeds, and vegetables are undeniably positive for heart health.

The final word? Moderation. Balance your diet and eat more unsaturated fats than you do any other type of fat and you will be going a long way to ensure your heart health for years to come. But do remember to show butter a little love. If it missed me as much as I missed it (I was forced to eat margarine for far too long), then we’ve got some making up to do.

I hope this helps you and if it did, please feel free to share this article with your friends and family. As always, my goal is to inform, enlighten, and inspire. Have a great day!

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