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    Why butter is no longer the bad guy


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    Why butter is no longer the bad guy

    Post by graham64 on Mon May 02 2016, 22:36

    Those who grew up in the Seventies will remember campaigns portraying butter as a nutritional villain and margarine as a saint.

    But last month, a study in the British Medical Journal revealed that while those who avoided butter in favour of healthy vegetable oil spreads saw their cholesterol levels drop, the result didn’t translate to a lower risk of heart disease or premature death.

    Indeed, butter has come back into vogue in recent years and market analysts Mintel say sales are growing by four per cent a year.

    Does this mean lashings of the stuff – along with other forms of saturated fat, such as ghee, lard and meat dripping – are back on the menu?

    The study, a reappraisal of data from a randomised controlled trial from 1968 to 1973, looked at 9,570 participants who replaced saturated fat in their diets with vegetable oil, which is rich in linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat.

    While the vegetable oil group saw cholesterol levels drop by 13.8 per cent, it failed to have the same effect on their risk of death; in fact, they actually had a higher risk than those who consumed the butter.

    Though critics attacked the study for using old data and failing to take into account other risk factors for heart disease, it adds to a growing body of evidence questioning what we think we know about saturated fat. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) is rethinking its guidelines and is due to report back in 2017.

    Current advice has it that our saturated fat intake should be no more than 11 per cent of our diet. That amounts to about 20 grams a day for women (equivalent to a buttered croissant for breakfast, and meat bolognese for dinner) and 30 grams for men (a grilled beefburger, and a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich).

    But even Public Health England (PHE) concedes that it’s time for a rethink on these recommendations.

    “There have been several papers suggesting the current guidelines are not correct,” says Dr Louis Levy, chief nutritionist at PHE. “Having said that, Britons are still eating about 12.5 per cent of their diets from saturated fat, and that’s worrying.”

    In response to the British Medical Journal study, Caroline Jary, director of Unilever spreads in the UK, said: “Overwhelming evidence from the past five decades confirms that reducing intake of animal fats such as from bacon and butter and replacing them with oils and fats from plants, like those found in our spreads, contributes significantly to heart health.”

    The dark side of cutting out all fat

    Trying to eliminate all fats from our diets has led us to replace even healthy fats with sugars and other simple carbohydrates which may be worse for us, says Dr Nita Forouhi, from the Medical Research Council’s Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University, who has studied the role of fats and disease for more than 20 years.

    “Supermarkets have hundreds of products that are low fat, but for added taste and palatability, contain refined carbohydrates, mostly sugar.”

    Saturated fats, says Dr Forouhi, are not the villains previously thought. One large study from McMaster University in Canada last August found no evidence that eating higher amounts of saturated fat raised the risk of death – but it did find eating more trans-fats was linked to increased risk of death and heart disease.

    “The real villain in our current understanding of risk of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes are the industrially produced trans-fats,” says Dr Forouhi.

    Since the vast majority of artificially produced trans-fats have been removed from foods that used to contain them, such as commercial margarines, intake in the UK has fallen to about 0.7 per cent of our diets, well below the recommended limit of two per cent.

    Look for the word “hydrogenated” on the label, says Dr Levy, which means the oil has been treated with hydrogen and pressure to harden it, a process that creates trans-fatty acids. “You can also inadvertently create trans-fats in your food at home if you fry at high temperatures and then reuse the oil,” he says.

    Fat and heart disease

    Dr Forouhi says small amounts of butter are not associated with increased risk of heart disease. “Some studies have looked at butter in relation to heart disease, and there is no evidence that it’s linked to an increased risk because it’s eaten in such small amounts,” she says.

    However, large amounts of saturated fats from sources such as fatty and processed meats have been, and it’s important we replace these with heart-healthy fats, not refined carbohydrates, she stresses.

    “The evidence shows we should be replacing about five per cent of the saturated fat in our diets – from sources such as fatty and processed meats – with more polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats,” she says.

    Large-scale trials, she says, such as the Predimed study which looked at the effects of a Mediterranean diet on large populations in Europe found that people who supplemented their diets with a handful (30g) of raw, unsalted nuts a day, or added extra virgin olive oil to salads, was associated with a staggering 35-48 per cent reduction in their heart disease risk.

    “We need to move away from the idea of consuming single nutrients to thinking about eating more heart-healthy foods,” says Rick Miller, consultant dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. That means a combination of saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats for heart health. “These include omega-3 fatty acids from fish such as salmon, herring and tuna, or plant-based sources such as walnuts, flaxseed and canola oils, avocados, olives and olive oils, and dairy products such as whole milk and eggs.

    “Butter seems neither bad nor good, and the evidence is unequivocal at present, so spread thinly on a nice piece of crusty bread, it’s fine.”

    Fat and weight

    All fats contains nine calories a gram, compared to four calories in a gram of protein or carbohydrate foods, so if you have too much of any type of fat, you’ll gain weight, says nutritionist Robert Hobson.

    “The exception is ketogenic diets [such as the no-carb phase of the Atkins diet], which reduce carbohydrates [these increase the body’s insulin levels, which encourage fat storage] and increase fat intake so the body uses fat as its main energy source, leading to rapid weight losses,” Hobson explains. “But how effective these are in the long term is questionable.”

    One of the reasons coconut oil – actually a saturated fat – has become so fashionable is because it may help with fat metabolism, says nutritional therapist May Simpkin. “Coconut oil contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) and is absorbed directly from the gut to the liver where it’s turned into energy.”

    A small study in 2013 found that those who ate foods high in MCTs lost more body fat around their bellies than those who stuck to other fats such as olive oils. Likewise, avocado is also de rigueur for a reason. “It contains healthy monounsaturated fats and fibre, which helps curb the appetite,” she explains.

    Indeed, fat in food helps with satisfaction after eating, which is why cutting it out is a bad idea.

    “Fat helps curb the appetite and satiate you which in turn helps you maintain your weight,” she says, recommending butter over margarine. “A little butter on vegetables or on toast gives you essential fat soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, E, D and K, as well as B12, and adds psychological satisfaction, so you’re less likely to crave sugar later.”

    “You can also inadvertently create trans-fats at home if you fry at high temperatures and then reuse the oil,” she says.

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    chris c

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    Re: Why butter is no longer the bad guy

    Post by chris c on Mon May 02 2016, 22:54

    “Butter seems neither bad nor good, and the evidence is unequivocal at present, so spread thinly on a nice piece of crusty bread, it’s fine.”

    Yeah right! (NOT)

    Did I post the Rose Corn Oil Trial here yet? Look at the date . . . unlike some of the other studies it was published in full, then ignored.

      Current date/time is Mon Jun 18 2018, 04:28