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Gigantic margarine manufacturer Unilever is starting to give up the fight. Fewer and fewer people want artificial margarine, and fewer and fewer people are still unnecessarily afraid of all-natural butter.
In many countries – including the US – the sale of margarine is plummeting, while the sales of butter are increasing more and more.
In a new strategy, Unilever in Germany (and Finland), now blends butter into its cheap margarine – new TV commercial above.
“Margarine has become a marker for cheap, processed, artificial, unhealthy food,” says Marion Nestle, a New York University nutrition professor. “The irony is hilarious. Unilever went to a lot of trouble to formulate healthy margarines, but the zeitgeist has caught up with them.” Continue Reading →
Norway’s biggest newspaper writes that the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) are incorrect about fats. A new review of all studies on the subject shows that butter is most likely better for the heart than the Omega-6-rich vegetable oils that are recommended:
VG: Danish researchers: – Butter is not more harmful than vegetable oils (Google translated from Norwegian)
The most interesting part of the article is the comment from the Head of the Division of Nutrition of the Danish National Food Institute, Gitte Gross, who’s been involved in coming up with the fat-phobic Nordic nutritional recommendations: Continue Reading →
Butter is better for your heart than most vegetable oils. More and more experts realize it:
The outdated fear-mongering propaganda claiming that a dramatically increased butter consumption in Sweden has also increased the incidence of heart disease is once again crushed by reality.
New statistics from The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare show the exact opposite. The incidence of heart attacks in Sweden keeps plummeting, for both men and women, just as they have done since 2005. We are becoming healthier, despite eating more and more butter.
The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare: Fewer people suffer heart attacks (statistics 1988-2012, Google translated)
As modern science time and time again has shown that a low-fat diet doesn’t do anything good for heart health, nobody should be surprised. But there are definitely people that need to update their knowledge.
Above is the butter consumption in Sweden (yellow line) in relation to statistics on heart disease (blue + purple). The axis for butter consumption is to the right.
The Swedish butter consumption just keeps going up, while the incidence of heart attacks keeps going down.
So, what’s the correlation between butter consumption and heart disease? None. There is no correlation.
That the old theory on saturated fat and heart disease has been a mistake has already been proven in high quality studies (RCT). This is just a telling illustration.
Fear of butter is as scientifically well-founded as fear of monsters under the bed. Continue Reading →
What is the cause of heart disease? For the past decades the dogma has been that saturated fat and cholesterol are the culprits. But a growing number realize that this outdated idea has been a mistake.
Yesterday Australia’s foremost science television show, Catalyst, broadcasted an episode on the subject (video clip above). There are many physicians and experts interviewed in the show, and the majority believes that the over-simplified cholesterol theory is simply wrong.
The real cause of heart disease? Inflammation in the artery walls. This may have many causes, but the amount of saturated fat you consume is not one of them. Here are some more probable contributing factors:
- stress on the artery wall due to high blood pressure
- high blood sugar levels that damage the cells inside the artery
- small, dense, oxidized LDL particles that may irritate the artery wall and/or get in between the cells in the wall
- smoking, which introduces substances to the blood that irritates the arteries
The three first factors are exacerbated by too much sugar and starch in the diet.
In addition to the above: stress. Stress exacerbates all the problems mentioned above – it raises blood pressure, increases blood sugar, worsens blood lipid profile and increases the tendency to adopt bad habits, such as smoking.
Not on the list: butter. Switching to polyunsaturated omega-6-fats won’t be protective either – according to new findings this may even be harmful!
It’s time for more brave experts to stand up and say “I was wrong, you were right”.
So how do you really prevent heart disease? Here’s my best advice: Continue Reading →
More and more people are questioning the silly old-fashioned fear of butter. A heart doctor writes in the latest issue of the respected British Medical Journal that it’s time to bust the myth that saturated fat has anything to do with heart disease.
A number of papers report on this and the heart doctor was on British morning TV today (watch).
What’s wrong with this picture? There are two products:
- Unprocessed Irish butter
- Highly processed breakfast cereals containing 27% pure sugar (a professor and obesity expert recently called this “eating candy for breakfast“)
Do you see the red tick? That’s the sign of the Australian Heart Foundation, that supposedly helps people to “easily choose healthier products at a glance” by using “tough and stringent” nutritions standards.
The Heart Foundation still spreads obsolete fat-phobic advice – proven to be incorrect by modern science – so the real butter has no tick. But they gladly put it on the sugar-filled kids’ cereals.
No wonder obesity numbers in Australia are reaching “staggering” proportions: More than 60 percent of the Australian population is now overweight or obese.
Why is the Heart Foundation still spreading old-fashioned fat phobia – and instead, in the middle of an obesity epidemic, fooling parents into giving their kids candy for breakfast?
Protest here (just 700 more supporters needed! Update: goal reached and increased from 10K to 15,000)
Another new review of the scientific literature finds that saturated fat (like butter) has an undeserved bad reputation. There’s no reason to fear fat anymore.
- Lawrence GD. Dietary Fats and Health: Dietary Recommendations in the Context of Scientific Evidence. Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):294-302.
I wonder if it will be read at the USDA?
Not many things impress me more than a scientist who dares to change his opinion. An excellent example is the influential Danish scientist Arne Astrup.
After earlier believing that fat was bad and carbs (even high-GI carbs) were good Astrup has now changed his mind. One of the reasons is the large DIOGENES study that he published in The New England Journal of Medicine recently.
The study proved that a diet with more protein, less carbs and a lower GI is better for maintaining a weight loss. Advice similar to the official guidelines (with more carbs) made participants regain the most weight.
Carbs and obesity
Astrup used to be critical of Gary Taubes (who has long maintained that too much carbs is the villain behind the obesity epidemic). But now he did not mind admitting that he had changed his mind. I was there when they met at the ASBP obesity conference in San Diego yesterday. Astrup said “I was wrong, you were right” to Taubes, regarding carbs and obesity. He didn’t mind me quoting him on that either.
To clarify, Astrup does not believe that a strict low-carb diet is a good idea for the entire population. A little less carbs with a lower GI, and a bit more protein would be sufficient he believes. But Astrup had nothing against stricter low-carb diets for treating obesity etc.
I thought that Astrup would still be afraid of natural saturated fat, but he has updated his position here as well. After all the recent studies showing that refined carbs are worse for the heart than saturated fat, and now even that polyunsaturated omega-6 fat is worse, Astrup believes that focusing on saturated fat is wrong.
If there’s any benefit in replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated or omega-3 fat it’s hardly of any major importance. There are much more important things to focus on, such as eating less refined carbs (sugar and white flour), enough protein and avoiding trans fats. Natural saturated fat is nothing to be afraid of.
When people like Astrup manage to update their opinions there’s plenty of hope for the future. Let’s hope more and more experts will follow in his footsteps.
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