Butter, Obesity and Eenfeldt’s Law

We’ve all been told that avoiding calorie-rich fat, like butter, would lead to weight loss. But as far as I know the opposite has happened everywhere. In every single country where sales of butter has gone down in recent decades, obesity has gone up.

Can anyone find an example where this is not true? If not I propose that this (less butter, more obesity) is a useful rule of thumb. We could call it Eenfeldt’s law.

I also propose that the opposite will turn out to be true. When the sales of butter rise again, like in Scandinavia in the last few years, the obesity epidemic is about to be reversed. We’ll soon know.

PS

When people get frightened of fat (like butter) they get hungrier and they tend to eat more bad carbs. More bad carbs = more insulin = more fat storage.

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19 Comments

  1. mezzo
    Eenfeldt's law? LOL. You ARE aspiring to new heights there...Butter rules, OK!
  2. the question, did they get obese because they ate less butter, or did butter consumption go down because people got obese and thought they have to ditch butter?

    It's the same problem as in studies the recent Haward's red meat study, and the study that tells us people who eat more chocolate are thinner.

  3. martinus,
    Certainly, observational data does not prove causation. That's right.

    However, there are quite a few weight loss RCTs showing low fat diets resulting in the least weight lost (at least 17 by my count). And RCTs do prove cause and effect.

  4. LeonRover
    The question, Eenfeldt, is why did you (part of the "we"), listen ?

    Leon did not.

    When I read the summary of results of MRFIT and WHO trials in early '80s - yes, I am that old - it was apparent that no self-respecting statistician could take seriously the claims made by the authors of the reports concerning validation of any strand of lipid hypothesis.

    (I was also helped in not listening to Doctors, as I knew many medical students in my college days, sharing Physics and Chemistry labs with them - there were few scientists among them.)

    I continued to eat my 1960's diet of cooked breakfasts, hearty boeuf bourgignon, red mullet in the Aegean etc.

    Leon was advised to take statins in early 2000's .He looked at the tests:

    LDL 3 mmol, HDL 3 mmol, TAG 0.7 mmol

    The doc would not accept that even by Framingham statistics (he had not heard of Krauss), that there was no case for either interfering in my mevalonate pathway, or reducing butter and bacon intake, eating "whole grains" etc.

    Medical proffessors do not listen, doctors do not read, too many prefer to pontificate, clad in their white coats and dangling stethescopes!

    So why do so many listen uncritically to what they are told? I do not know.

    I guess there are few sceptics around.

    Then I required detailed biochemistry and RCTs to strongly support the lipid speculation.

    I still do.

  5. I'm afraid there will be a confounding factor in that many of the "Butter" consumers will be using products like ANCHOR/LUPAK Spreadables. So called "Butters" that contain Anchor Butter (58%), Vegetable Oil (33%), Water, Salt, 80% Fat Blend (47% Milk Fat, 33% Vegetable Oil) adding a third canola/sunflower oil and then whipping in some water to make it lighter may delude people into thinking they are eating a healthier form of butter.
  6. Jenn (NZ)
    We're really lucky in New Zealand that our heavy cream (which is just 'cream' here - there's only one brand of single/light cream available and it's hard to find because it's so unpopular,) is not thickened with gelatine, but is naturally thick and heavy from the dairy fats. Our butter is made only from cream, salt and sometimes water. I couldn't imagine living where I could not readily obtain pure products such as these, and for them not to be the standard/normal.
  7. Conversely there are also many studies that show the detrimental effects of margarine. http://healthydietsandscience.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Margarine%2...
  8. Will
    i only trust butter. a friend has been trying to get me to try coconut oil too.
    coconut oil is even more saturated which is a good thing but it isnt animal fat which is why i am reluctant to try it. are there any studies comparing the benefits of butter vs. coconut oil?
  9. kitty
    @Will,
    Why do you trust butter? Butter is made from the milk of domesticated animals. How long has it been a part of the human diet? Are there any studies that show the saturated fat in butter is as healthful as the saturated fat in animal tissue?
  10. Funderaren
    Kitty, about 5000 years.
  11. Will
    @kitty... i trust butter because human mother's milk contains 50% saturated fat...
    that cant be too bad for us as grown ups?
    sure cow milk is not intended for humans but i'll take my chances..
    i like to eat chicken... so i just put butter on top...
    coconut looks good on paper... but i cant be sure where it is coming from or how it was produced..
    i live in france and get my butter made from raw milk from a farmer that i know personally...
    not sure i can have the same faith in some foreign producer of coconut oil...
    however, if coconut oil really is a whole lot better than butter... i'll try risking it..
  12. JAUS
    #9 All mammals, including humans, drink milk, it's completely natural. What proof do you have that milk from cows are bad for humans to consume? The only thing that I have come across is that A1 is different from A2 milk due to a mutation that happened thousands of years ago. That don't make milk itself bad to consume, just the A1 kind. A2 milk is perfectly fine to consume since it's resembles the human milk.

    Also pasteurization may also be the villian that makes milk worse than it is in it's raw state. It would be interesting to test if there is a difference between butter made of pasteurized A1 cream, pasteurizied A2 cream, raw A1 cream and raw A2 cream.

    What the cows eat is also important, grassfed dairy is better than grainfed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A2_milk
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_milk

  13. I lived out the low-fat-lie years; the harder I worked to lower fat and calories over all, the more weight I gained, plus I had constant cravings.I never felt satisfied by food in those years. Having been reared in an agricultural area/family, where a high fat diet was normal and over-weight people weren't, I just couldn't understand the disparate results. Thankfully I learned the error of my ways, for which I can thank Dr. Atkins, and others since like DietDoctor.
    My motto: Butter, more butter, then some lard.
  14. Scientific evidence for the risks of saturated fat in general is weak. Grouping all saturated fats together is also questionable. Why so much effort has been put into recommendations to reduce consumption of saturated fat is hard to understand.
    The case against saturated fat:
    http://www.docsopinion.com/2012/03/case-against-saturated-fat.html
  15. Zepp
    Will.. Coco nut oil do have Lauric acid (50%) thats altso in mothers milk!

    But its moste about MCT.. Midell Chain Triglycerids.. Coco nut oil is almoste MCT!

    And there is same issues about olive oil, how its produced and some time fake.

    Try some organic brand.

  16. Will
    @Axel F "Why so much effort has been put into recommendations to reduce consumption of saturated fat is hard to understand."
    in my opinion it is not hard to understand. try eating a stick of butter. you will not get past a few bites. use butter and you will quickly feel full for a long period of time. why would food companies support a fat that makes you full for that long a time period? why would they not try to reduce and sideline such a fat so that they can pump their products with sugar and label it fat free... and be sure that you will be eating that stuff all day long... it makes total sense...
    why did americans ever put any faith in the USDA food pyramid.. ofcourse they would make grains the base of the diet... it is the "US department of AGRICULTURE"....
    there is more money to be made from sidelining something that is NOT going to make you hungry.
    the low fat mantra is so ingrained in the minds of the public that it borders on being "religious"... just questioning it is seen as blasphemy...
    not only is the sky high sugar diet bad for health... it is bad for your brain... no wonder the US is lagging way behind so many other countries...
    AND no wonder we had a candidate like sarah palin running for VP...
    can you imagine that happening when we had some brains pre-low fat era....
  17. kitty
    @Will and JAUS,

    I did not say that anything is "wrong" with butter or even cow's milk for people who are not allergic to them or lactose intolerant. I personally love butter, cream and milk. But butter is no more "natural" for humans to consume than coconut oil.That is my only point. Humans have probably been eating coconut and palm oils and products longer than we have been ingesting butter, so why should anyone be afraid of them?

    And yes, all mammals consume milk. But we are not cows so cow's milk is not "natural" for us to drink. Most adults are lactose intolerant. So it can be argued (and many people do) that nature did not intend for humans to ingest milk as adults. Lactase persistence into adulthood is a mutation; lactose intolerance is the norm for adult humans.

    But Will has explained why he does not trust coconut oil and I can understand why he prefers a product made in France (butter) over an imported one (coconut oil). The milk products in France are most likely of much better quality than the milk products here in America.

    Also, there are different types of saturated fatty acids. As someone mentioned, coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is a component of mother's milk.

  18. kitty
    @Will: "in my opinion it is not hard to understand. try eating a stick of butter. you will not get past a few bites. use butter and you will quickly feel full for a long period of time. "

    You are so right. A small amount of saturated fat like butter is very filling. When I used to use the polyunsaturated oils and margarine, my appetite was never sated the way it is with butter or coconut oil or the fat on meat. I have also noticed that fatty fish does not keep my hunger at bay as well as fatty meat, like bacon or beef; fish has a lot of polyunsaturated fats. So when I eat fatty fish, I add butter or coconut oil to improve satiety. Saturated fat is simply more satiating and a better fuel than either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat. Many people try to do LCHF without saturated fats and that is why many of them fail. We are not going to get rid of the saturated fat phobia in the United States any time soon.

  19. Pete the Cue
    Since my wife left me for my best mate. I have been eating LCHF for 6 weeks. I have never enjoyed my food as much is years. Tasty and filling. I now don't feel hungry as often as I used to, I now will miss lunch without noticing. Before I was clock watching.
    ps
    I still miss him ;) lol
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