Three years ago it seemed impossible to be able to incorporate real, traditional foods into our life. There were just so. many. changes. But the more I read, the more I was convinced it was necessary for my family’s health. The more I was convinced, the easier it was to make changes. That’s because the biggest change you can make is in perspective.
I believe that realizing that the lipid hypothesis was wrong is key to breaking free from industrialized foodways and recovering health.
That is why I wanted to present getting back to traditional fats as the first step in a series that are not only easy, but can vastly improve your health, as it did mine.
Saturated Fat is Good For You
First of all we have to bust the myth that saturated fat is bad for you. I wrote about 7 reasons to eat more saturated fat if you want to see the benefits of saturated fat. I also wrote an article called Fats to Eat, Fats to Avoid in which one section was titled "Saturated Fat Will Not Kill You."
So Why Are Traditional Fats Demonized?
The more I research it and experience health improvements in my own body, the more I realize how foundational traditional saturated fats are to our health. If they are so good for us then why, for the past 50-100 years have we been told to completely avoid them in place of "healthier" mono- or polyunsaturated fats?
To be honest, the answer makes me angry, and it should make you angry too. In almost every case traditional fats have been criminalized falsely in order for companies to sell a new manmade fat. Companies developed huge smear campaigns with unfounded science while butter, lard, tallow, and coconut oil were all unable to fight back. It is a lot easier to make a lot of money off of a manmade product than a God given one that you can’t patent. So let’s take a look at the fats that your great-grandmothers might have had kicking around in her pantry.
Isaiah 7:14-15 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
It is safe to assume that our grandparents and great-grandparents gladly partook in butter, since it’s man-made alternative margarine didn’t become popular until "the Margarine Act of 1950" (I kid you not) was signed by president Truman, removing the excise taxes and bans that the dairy industry had worked to put in place. (source) Margarine was cheaper, which made it more appealing to some, but it really became popular when the lipid hypothesis came on the scene. Funny how as margarine consumption increased and butter consumption decreased we saw the largest surge in heart disease mortality. (source)
So it is not surprising that we are now finding that the lipid hypothesis (the idea that dietary cholesterol, and therefore saturated fat, cause heart disease) was wrong all along. I was a firm believer of the lipid hypothesis in college and consumed my share of "buttery spreads". I was thankful to have found this information and to add grass-fed butter back into our diet. (see sources)
We will continue covering traditional fats as well as the dangers of modern fats in the next part of this series.
How about you… have you switched back to butter? What are your thoughts on traditional fats?