The rehabilitation of butter and why I’ll think twice about sunflower oil

A few years back I was told my cholesterol was a little high and that I ought to try to reduce it to protect myself from heart disease. The two specific diet changes I made were switching from full-fat milk to semi-skimmed and from butter to margarine (usually Flora Buttery).

Funny how things change.

Last year I discovered that the fat in full-fat milk may not be as harmful as we've been told.

Now, it seems, vegetable oils aren't as great as we've been led to believe. And butter isn't necessarily the health villain we thought, either.

How do I know? From my not-at-all-exhaustive research, which produced three articles saying very similar things. That either means they're all right or that they've all copied each other and got it wrong, but I'm inclined to think it's the former. If you know differently, feel free to do that commenty thing at the end of the post.

The articles all say:

  • We didn't start eating vegetable oils in any quantity until the the early 20th century, when heart disease and cancer were less prevalent.
  • The “evil” oils are manufactured in a multi-step process involving lots of heat, noxious chemicals and magical incantations. OK I added the last bit, but they're far from “natural” and much more towards “processed”.
  • Said evil oils can do various nasty things to our insides.
  • The stats on butter consumption, oil consumption and the prevalence of heart disease and cancer show that our tactic of switching away from butter has failed.
  • There are a few “good” oils to use in cooking, and the baddies get used in all kinds of products we buy so we have to read food labels to try to reduce or avoid them.

Here are the pages for your own perusal:

http://www.thankyourbody.com/vegetable-oils/#post/0

http://www.thealternativedaily.com/truth-about-sunflower-oil/

https://wellnessmama.com/2193/never-eat-vegetable-oil/

So there you go. I'm kinda getting convinced by this stuff. Should I ditch the Flora? By the way, last time I was checked my cholesterol was OK. Hmmmm.

 

Maybe it’s time to switch back to full-fat milk

Not the most thrilling of subjects at a time of national political uncertainty, I’ll grant you. But it happened to come to my attention as I pondered the dwindling milk supply in the fridge and I wondered, not for the first time, if I was really benefiting by sticking to our green-topped friend semi-skimmed.

I changed several years ago when a routine health check indicated slightly raised cholesterol. At the time (and probably still), one of the standard changes advised was to stop drinking full-fat milk. Since then our fridge has had both The Green and The Blue, since my better half has always stuck to the original. Then a few weeks ago a TV documentary on food and health suggested that this accepted wisdom was being questioned by recent study results. They said the implication was that consuming full-fat milk was in fact no worse than lower-fat versions in terms of the risk of heart disease.

“Can this be true?” said I. So I did a li’l’ Internet search and concluded that, yes, it’s true that studies are indeed suggesting that. In fact, they’re also suggesting that fully-loaded milk is also no worse (and possibly better) in terms of the risk of obesity and diabetes as well. Cool.

Whether the conclusions are correct is another matter, of course, but since we generally follow accepted wisdom in these matters, and said wisdom appears to be changing, then perhaps I can change my habit too and get back to the proper Blue Stuff, sorry, White Stuff.

Hoorah.

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/09/low-fat-whole-milk-usda-dietary-guidelines

http://time.com/4279538/low-fat-milk-vs-whole-milk/

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/which-milk-right-you

http://www.medicaldaily.com/whole-milk-weight-management-diabetes-risk-381052

 

UPDATE 20/8/16 — Oh, the irony. I did indeed revert back to fully-loaded milk, and quite enjoyed doing so. It made life that tiny bit simpler, having to buy just one variety of milk. But…although I do like the extra creaminess now and again, I found it too much to have all the time. So, it’s back to the Green Top for me, purely on taste grounds.

Life’s full of surprises 🙂