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Monday, June 28, 2010

Always butter, never 'low fat spread'


I recently read an article by Clarissa Dickson Wright (of ‘Two Fat Ladies’ fame) extolling the virtues of butter. Although Clarissa is a chef and cookery writer, the article did contain some interesting scientific comment, and she happily tells us that although she consumes plenty of butter, she has a ‘cholesterol level that a five-year-old might be proud of’ – which at 2.8 mmol/l is quite impressive.
I too believe that butter is not something to be avoided and have always thought that it is better to consume food in a natural a state as possible, and butter is a natural food; you could actually make it at home if you tried, but margarine would be almost impossible to make without industrial chemicals.
And the evidence is stacking up against saturated fat being a culprit in the development of heart disease. Saturated fat has been a part of the human diet for ever, and it is only in recent decades that heart disease has escalated. Many nutritionists and doctors are now of the opinion that it’s not actually saturated fat that is the issue, but the processed trans fats that are prevalent in junk food. And poor diets which are low in fresh foods and antioxidants mean that the fat we do consume can become damaged by oxidation, and then builds up in plaques in the arteries. Dr John Briffa is keen supporter of this evidence. Many modern diets are painfully low in the ‘good fats’, namely the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts; this is also a big part of the heart disease picture.
I sincerely hope the message starts to filter through to the public so that butter is no longer viewed as ‘naughty’ or ‘bad’, and people no longer have to deny themselves of this natural fat.


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