New study gives a clean bill of heart health to a condemned commodity

Posted by
April 3, 2014

butter

 

By BILL BONVIE

Heard about the astonishing new health-food discovery?

It’s something that can “significantly” reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study out from Britain’s University of Cambridge.

And it’s something that can be easily used in any meal of the day — as a spread on your morning toast, in sandwiches, or in cooking.

So what, exactly is this miracle food, and where can you buy it?

As it turns out, it’s available in the dairy case of any supermarket or grocery store.  It’s something called butter.
Yes, you heard me right – the same stuff that we’ve been warned to avoid for decades if we wanted to keep from becoming a heart disease statistic. In fact, we now know that the real threat to our heart health was posed by the very butter substitute we were originally advised to use (and that many people still do) – margarine, a major source of artery-clogging, heart-attack inducing trans fat.

The research on which this finding was based wasn’t just limited to one locale, In fact, it, involved a rather comprehensive analysis of some 72 studies with 600,000 participants in 18 countries. And what the investigators also found was that “total saturated fatty acid, whether measured in the diet or in the bloodstream as a biomarker, was not associated with coronary disease risk in the observational studies.” Nor was there any significant associations between consumption of total monounsaturated fatty acids, long-chain omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, consumption and cardiovascular risk.

So what does all this mean? According to the university’s press release, that “current evidence does not support guidelines which restrict the consumption of saturated fats in order to prevent heart disease.” There was also “insufficient support for guidelines which advocate the high consumption of polyunsaturated fats (such as omega 3 and omega 6) to reduce the risk of coronary disease.”

In other words, everything you’ve been told by doctors and health experts about the dangers of eating saturated fats, such as butter, was wrong.

But it’s not as if this is the first time that butter has been seen as a key to better health.  While mainstream groups like the American Heart Association continued to demonize it as a major risk factor, other, lesser known authorities were boosting its benefits – benefits they maintained went considerably beyond promoting heart health.

Back in the year 2000, for example, The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts posted an article at its website on “Why Butter is Better,” which talked about the “disinformation campaign” that called naturally saturated fats from animal sources “the root cause of the current heart disease and cancer plague, with butter bearing “the brunt of the attack.” As a result, butter “all but disappeared from our tables, shunned as a miscreant.”

Such claims, the group said, “would come as a surprise to many people around the globe who have valued butter for its life-sustaining properties for millennia. When Dr. Weston Price studied native diets in the 1930’s he found that butter was a staple in the diets of many supremely healthy peoples.”

A sharp rise in heart disease, the Foundation pointed out, corresponded to the widespread replacement of butter with margarine – which should have exonerated butter as a cause.

Actually, the group noted, “butter contains many nutrients that protect us from heart disease.” These include vitamin A, of which butter is the most easily absorbed source, lecithin, which assists in the assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol, and artery-protecting antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium.

Butter’s other benefits, according to the Weston Price Foundation, include:
•    Strong cancer-fighting components, such as short-and medium-chain fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, and cholesterol that offers protection from colon cancer;
•    Properties that protect against gastro-intestinal infections;
•    Iodine that helps the thyroid gland to function properly;
•    Immune system support, protection against osteoporosis, and even prevention of tooth decay, and
•    Helping promote proper growth and development in kids.

The prosecution remains adamant

Even without all that, however, you’d think the latest mega-study would exonerate butter and convince the health establishment that it should be urging people to get butter back on their table ASAP.  But it doesn’t quite work out that way.

The American Heart Association, for instance, noted in a press release that while the study calls “established wisdom” into question, it “stands by its guidelines that saturated fats can hurt your heart while polyunsaturated fats may help it, with a representative quoted as saying that  it merely means “that we lack the data from controlled clinical trials that truly test this question of how much saturated fat is acceptable, so we must rely on existing science that suggests that saturated fat … tends to promote the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries.”

In fact, the AHA response that butter remains a culprit in heart disease sounds a lot like that of a prosecutor trying to keep someone he’s helped convict behind bars after the prisoner has been exonerated by DNA evidence. Just like the criminal justice system, the health establishment is always unready to admit it’s made a grave error.

Fortunately, you need not keep butter locked away from your family any longer – any more than you do eggs, another natural food which the purveyors of counterfeit commodities once also tried to hold responsible for the ills they’ve actually created.

And, like a lot of other foods, it’s always best to go organic with both butter and eggs.

But welcome back butter!