Who Wins The Fat War: Butter or Margarine?

Every now and then a new research paper comes along and exposes the fault lines between conventional and holistic thinking on what is good for you.

A couple of weeks ago, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a report titled “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease” which championed the view that saturated fats like butter and coconut oil were, in fact, bad for you. The card carrying members of the Dieticians Association of Australia reading this news over their morning bowl of oat bran and skim milk didn’t bat an eyelid but the paleo loving hipsters however, were spitting out their bullet proof coffees in disgust.

So who’s side are you on?

It comes down to whether you spread margarine or butter on your toast. Margarine, for me, always conjures up images of 1980’s Peter Russell-Clarke and his parody of a bionic cow, imploring us to eat the real thing.

You might imagine that as we get a better understanding of the importance of replacing processed foods with whole foods that margarine would be tossed on the scrap heap of failed food fads. Not so, as any trip to the supermarket will attest. Manufacturers of processed foods are massive corporations who will naturally protect their commercial interests and there are many who pointedly suggest the AHA is beholden to the “big food” lobbyists.

Each side of the debate accuses the other of cherry picking the data to suit their own arguments so if you’re hoping for a consensus you could be waiting a long time.

For me, I would rather consume quality unprocessed fats, including saturated fats like butter and coconut oil as part of a nutrient rich diet rather than think I can eat refined fats like margarine with impunity. I’m also a sucker for the flavour of butter so my tastebuds probably have more sway that I’d like to admit.

Concerns about saturated fat are founded on the belief the prevailing belief that they are a key contributor to high cholesterol and heart disease, however there is a counter argument that diets high in sugar and refined foods are to blame. Whatever you choose to believe, keep an eye on your cholesterol and if you have any concerns see a healthcare professional of your choice.

Wes Smith is Live Well's Director and has 20 years experience as a practitioner and wellness educator. He has a special interest in working with chronic immune issues, stressanxiety and depression

Wes is passionate about inspiring and educating people to create and sustain their vitality and wellbeing so they can live life to the full.

Wes also enjoys teaching meditation and is the creator of meditatewithwes.com an online resource for learning how to meditate. es has a B.App.Sc.(Acup), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, a Yoga Teaching Diploma and is an APHRA registered acupuncturist. Learn more about acupunctureherbal medicine and meditation.

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