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Is butter bad for you or not?

Have you been following the recent debate about eating saturated fats such as butter? For years, since the 1970’s we’ve been told that saturated fats are BAD and should be replaced by polyunsaturated fats such as vegetable margarines and oils.

Well now a new study has shown that the original health information was not actually supported by the evidence available at the time. The study was published this month in the online journal Open Heart and you can click here if you want to read the full article.

The researchers showed that low fat diets with low saturated fat content did reduce people’s cholesterol levels, but crucially did NOT reduce the incidence of heart disease or risk of death from any causes.

Many people were influenced by government health guidelines to eat low fat foods, and food manufacturers jumped on the band waggon by bombarding us with adverts for foods which were reduced in fat but often higher in sugar. We were also encouraged to eat margarines and spreads based on highly processed vegetable oils with a long list of artificial additives.

So back to butter! Is it ‘bad’ or is it ‘good’? Well in my view we all need some fat in our diet to maintain health, so I’m not keen on low fat diets. The key thing for good health is to have a balance of the ‘essential’ fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds. Personally I’m happy with also using small amounts of butter rather than highly processed ‘marge’ , and to my taste buds there’s no comparison! For cooking most people now agree that olive oil is a healthy choice.

If you have health problems, then the types of fats you eat can be crucial, for example to decrease inflammation in the body or to help balance hormones, and I can advise you about your specific needs as part of your consultation.