butterolive2

Recently there was a debate on Homemade Mommy’s Facebook page over olive oil being healthier than butter. This is something I see a lot, people eschewing butter because they are still afraid of saturated fats and have been led to believe that vegetable oils are the healthier option.

Don’t get me wrong, olive oil is great. I eat it on my salads just about everyday. It is rich in antioxidants and I love the taste. But is it healthier than butter? Should we eat it instead of butter? Should we cook with it?

Nutrient Density 

I do not count calories, or carbs, or fats. That sounds awful to me and fosters an unhealthy relationship with food. I simply eat whole foods, when I want and how much I want. I strive to make sure that I’m eating the most nutrient dense foods available. Thankfully, butter is one of these foods. I wrote a post about the nutrient density of butter than you can read here. Below is a chart I made illustrating the nutrient density of butter versus olive oil:

butterolive4

As you can see, butter is much more nutrient dense except when it comes to vitamins E and K1, otherwise known as phylloquinone. Butter is much higher in vitamin K2, or menaquinone. Vitamin K2 is not as easibly obtained from foods as vitamin K1 is. Some of the foods richest in this very important vitamin are natto (fermented soy beans that very few people can actually stand the taste of), grass-fed cheese, pastured egg yolks, liver and butter. From Chris Kresser, L. Ac,

A large epidemiological study from the Netherlands illustrates this point well. The researchers collected data on the vitamin K intakes of the subjects between 1990 and 1993 and measured the extent of heart disease in each subject, who had died from it and how this related to vitamin K2 intake and arterial calcification. They found that calcification of the arteries was the best predictor of heart disease. Those in the highest third of vitamin K2 intakes were 52 percent less likely to develop severe calcification of the arteries, 41 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and 57 percent less likely to die from it. (Geleijnse et al., 2004, pp. 3100-3105) However, intake of vitamin K1 had no effect on cardiovascular disease outcomes.

Vitamin K2 is also known by Activator X, as Weston A. Price called it.  It improved bone and dental health, neurological function, is anti-carcinogenic and improves the development of fetuses during pregnancy. From the Weston A. Price foundation,

Price also believed that Activator X played an important role in bone health. Butter oil concentrate cured rickets and increased serum levels of calcium and phosphorus in rats consuming a mineral-deficient diet. In a four-year-old boy who suffered from rampant tooth decay, seizures and a tendency to fracture, the combination of a large helping of this concentrate and a meal of whole wheat and whole milk rapidly resolved each of these symptoms.

and

Vitamin K2‘s ability to protect us from heart disease is much more clearly established. Research is in fact rapidly redefining heart disease largely as a deficiency of this vitamin. While it is most clearly established that vitamin K2 deficiency causes calcification of the cardiovascular system, vitamin K2 appears to protect against the inflammation and accumulation of lipids and white blood cells that characterize atherosclerosis as well.

Clearly, vitamin K2 is extremely healthy and we should make more of an effort to consume it. Thankfully, butter is rich in this vital nutrient. Butter is also richer in true vitamin A (retinol) as well as vitamin D.

The Fat Breakdown

Butter is mostly made up of heart healthy saturated fat and is low in polyunsaturated fat, while olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat and has a higher PUFA content. Saturated fats are extremely healthy, while polyunsaturated fats are the undesirable fats we shoud avoid. Polyunsaturated fats are higher in omega-6 fatty acids that cause inflammation. Butter has a more desirable omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio.

Which Is Safe To Cook With?

Olive oil should be eaten raw. It is not heat stable. Butter is the much better option to cook with, or ghee as it has a higher smoke point. While butter is safe to heat, olive oil easily oxidizes at higher temperatures.

Both oils are healthy oils. One is indeed more nutrient dense, but both are safe to consume. Make sure you’re eating organic olive oil that hasn’t been adulterated with cheap oils to cut costs. There is no need to give up butter, because you should be eating more of it!

Which-Is-Healthier-Butter-or-Olive-Oil-You-Might-Be-Surprised
Sources:

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/611?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=olive+oil

http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/1?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=

http://www.westonaprice.org/fat-soluble-activators/x-factor-is-vitamin-k2

http://chriskresser.com/vitamin-k2-the-missing-nutrient

 

59 responses on “Which is Healthier: Butter or Olive Oil?

    1. L.S.

      It is not a fact that Olive Oil is not heat stable. Even Lidia Bastianich addressed this myth on her blog here: http://blog.lidiasitaly.com/2012/08/heating-olive-oil.php

      Also, here is what the “International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) has to say about frying food with olive oil:

      When heated, olive oil is the most stable fat, which means it stands up well to high frying temperatures. Its high smoke point (410ºF or 210ºC) is well above the ideal temperature for frying food (356ºF or 180ºC). The digestibility of olive oil is not affected when it is heated, even when it is re-used several times for frying.”

  1. Megan

    What?? “Saturated fats are extremely healthy, while polyunsaturated fats are the undesirable fats we should avoid” I have NEVER seen that before, I find this article hard to believe to be honest…

    1. dani stout Post author

      Please check my sources, as I used the USDA’s nutrition database. I also encourage you to do more research on saturated and polyunsaturated fat.

      1. David

        Your sources are wrong. I cant believe you even give butter a chance against olive oil. This article should not be online- it gives false information that people gobble up

        1. dani stout Post author

          If you think a source is wrong, you should identify which ones. I’m guessing you did not do this because all of my sources are correct and factual, and you have no actual argument against the facts I have presented.

          1. dani stout Post author

            The Mayo Clinic may say that, but science says otherwise. This is an outdated idea that has continually been disproven. The doctors are the Mayo Clinic are great and doing great work, but they aren’t nutrition experts.

            Here’s some good scientific studies you should check out:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18203890
            http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/08/04/ajcn.2009.29146.abstract
            http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract

            Chris Masterjohn also has a ton of great info: http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/

            Saturated fat is great for you!

  2. Rachel

    Saturated fat increases LDL and may possibly decrease HDL, components of blood cholesterol. LDL increases blood cholesterol, while HDL decreases blood cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol levels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Polyunsaturated fat contains essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, found in fatty fish such as salmon and in other sources. Monounsaturated fat is known to lower LDL, and may even increase HDL. Monounsaturated fat is the healthy fat in avocados and olive oil. As long as you don’t heat olive oil past the smoking point where it begins to denature, it’s perfectly healthy to cook with. Using a high quality extra virgin olive oil will give you a higher smoking point. I do agree that butter is a source of nutrients, however, if people are already consuming a large quantity of saturated fat in animal products such as meat and dairy, I think the healthier option would be to use olive oil. Fish eggs, grass-fed dairy, shellfish, and organ meat are other good sources of vitamin K2.

    1. dani stout Post author

      The idea that saturated fat incresases LDL and descreases HDL is extremely outdated and not at all factual. To read updated information on cholesterol, I suggest reading Dr. Peter Attia’s series on the subject, http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-cholesterol-part-i and let me know what you think.

      Polyunsaturated fats are much higher in omega-6 fatty acids which causes inflammation (the basis of all disease). There is a reason why traditional cultures ate majority of their calories from saturated fats and have no incidence of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. You can read more about that here: http://ancestral-nutrition.com/the-plant-based-culture-myth-and-work-of-weston-a-price/

      People should consume large amounts of saturated fat, it is the healthiest and safest fat to consume, especially in the form of fish eggs, grass-fed dairy, shellfish, etc. These are some of the healthiest foods people can eat. It’s a simple fact that butter is more nutrient dense and healthier than olive oil. Please read up on latest cholesterol information and let me know if you would like to disucss further or if you have any questions.

  3. Rachel

    My point is moderation. Polyunsaturated fats contain Omega-3 fatty acids which have an anti-inflammatory effect and are beneficial in brain development and function. Omega-6 fatty acids have an inflammatory effect when over-consumed. Again, moderation…………………..I feel consuming large amounts of any type of food is poor advice. It is a fact that our diet has an effect on blood cholesterol levels. That being said, I do enjoy butter!

    1. dani stout Post author

      You’re missing my point, and your points are incorrect.

      PUFAs generally contain very little omega-3s and are much higher in omega-6 fatty acids. This is a fact. Saturated fats, like the fat found in grass-fed meat, dairy, butter, wild seafood, etc are rich in omega-3s. Not foods high in PUFAs.

      Diet does not have a significant effect on blood cholesterol levels. The body produces majority of the cholesterol because we would literally die without it. Cholesterol is not the enemy, cholesterol is BENEFICIAL. The idea that fats raise cholesterol came from studies being done on rabbits (herbivores) that were being fed fats. Of course their blood lipids increased. Humans are not herbivores. Again, please read up cholesterol as well as traditional cultures eating large amounts of fat that experienced great health and limited degenerative diseases.

        1. dani stout Post author

          Here at Ancestral Nutrition we promote a nutrient dense, scientifically sound lifestyle that mimics the way people ate before obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

          1. baffled....

            Hi Dani – there are some points I would like to raise:

            – The fact that you call saturated fats healthy and you encourage people to eat more of them is scarey. Very.

            – You mention that cholesterol is not bad, if fact you said that cholesterol is beneficial. LDL cholesterol is great, yeah right. And just like that, down the drain go science basics about artery blockage.

            – You discredit the American Heart Association, but you have no problem with taking for holy your USDA references. Just as if the USDA never was lobbied and acted as a puppet of the meat industry. Go figure. If you dare to venture past USDA information, use google to research about this. You will find plenty.

            – Likewise, you base your China Study views on what someone wrote on what looks more like a blog than a science or health magazine / publication.

            – No wonder you and your USDA references end up happily stating that butter is better than olive oil. Only that should blow up any credibility this article could possibly have had.

            – Not eating animal products is not anymore only about health, it’s about sustainable practices for our planet; about our future and that of our children. Food availability and prices, greenhouse gases emissions, climate change, and simply animal rights and cruelty are to weight heavier than health and cravings when choosing what to eat and what to not eat. Perhaps you should try to find out what the ecological footprint of a country like the USA is. How many planets would we need if the world’s population had the average USA citizen lifestyle? That is 5.3 planet Earths. And a big part of this is directly related to our food choices. And yes, directly related to eating meat and your “wonderful and healthy” saturated fats.

            – You can come back with the saying that eating meat made our ancestors succeed and develop into the homo sapiens. That is fine, but that is the past, and it’s just a way of denying the fact that today we have a responsibility towards our present environment. The present is about ethics and taking care of a fragile planet that’s been put to the limit by overpopulation and climate change. The present is about taking action in a responsible way, not about craving meat of fooling people to believe that saturated fats are healthy.

            – By the way, I wouldn’t think that people with resources such as Bill Clinton (vegan) or Carl Lewis (who won 4 Olympic gold medals under a vegan diet) would get poorly advised on healthy/unhealthy foods.

          2. dani stout Post author

            Saturated fats are healthy. I definitely recommend you read Dr. Peter Attia’s series on cholesterol to educate yourself on the basics.

            The AHA actively provides outdated advice that I disagree with, I used the USDA Nutrition Database for these figures. It’s not the same thing. Furthermore, other nutrition databases provide similar figures. If you do not trust the USDA, look up the figures yourself. It doesn’t change the fact that butter is more nutrient dense than olive oil. To say that using the USDA Nutrition Database “should blow up any credibility this article could possibly have had” is inane.

            Had you explored my work and website more, you would know that I advocate the consumption of grass-fed meat from local, sustainable farms. Not only are the meats extremely healthy, they are amazing for the environment. Pasture based farms can literally reverse desertification. You can read more about how pastured based farms can save the environment here –> http://ancestral-nutrition.com/why-i-dont-support-meatless-monday/

            By the way, veganism is one of the newest diets introduces to humankind. It eliminates necessary vitamins and minerals and is horrible for the environment. Ever wonder how far legumes and grains have to travel for most people? Or how damaging growing legumes and grains is? Read The Vegetarian Myth and get back to me.

          3. Niall

            I wanted to reply to ‘baffled…’ but it seems I can’t. A quick search on PubMed will put things straight. Oh, and you probably don’t want to use Carl Lewis as an example… the man who tested positive three times for banned stimulants (but got away with it)!

  4. Ivan

    Wow… i really got confused..After so many years avoiding lot of food high in saturated fat and using unsaturated fat, well I have got lost.:-)
    Anyway, I am doing my research to get updated but why for all this time , nowhere, was written anything about all this astonishing news of fat acid saturated?
    Was about mass media manipolation ? Was about secret theory?Was due to keep world people in the darkness of knowelgeless and now someone comes out with the truth , with the right key?
    Should I believe someone still or better do my theory thought?
    Everything look like a flag which its direction ,depend from where come the wind..

  5. Charlie

    You forget that our diets are so full of saturated fats already, it’s not that difficult to consume saturated fats.

    Furthermore, some might not like to cook with olive oil with high temperature. But unless you’re pan is way too hot, you’ll never reach the point where olive oil becomes “unstable”.

    I’m a fitness and diet addict. When it’s time to get lean and make everything tighter and leaner, butter is one of first thnings to get scrapped.

    Sure it has more nutrients, but it’s not like we’re consuming too little saturated fats or anything. Most people on a Western style diet get more than enough of it I’m their bodies everyday.

    The American Heart Association recommends that you try to keep your saturated fats to about 7% of your daily calories. Even when I’m dieting that’s difficult to achieve.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Actually Charlie, we ARE consuming too little saturated fats. The majority of fat Americans (and most other countries) consume is polyunsaturated fat; this is because most people get their calories from fast food, processed food, packaged food, etc. These are all loaded with PUFAs. Our saturated fat consumption from healthy fats like butter, grass-fed meat, wild seafood, etc is dangerously low.

      Butter is the first thing I use more of when I want to lean out, the body needs fat and eating an adequate amount of it actually aids in fat loss. The first thing I toss is the high carb and sugar foods.

      The American Heart Association is a joke. They endorse Subway! And statins! They are definitely not an entity I would take nutrition advice from. 7% is extremely low and no culture in history has ever avoided heart healthy saturated fats. And yet, they were free of heart disease, obesity, cancer, etc.

    2. Lloyd Braun

      ”I’m a fitness and diet addict. When it’s time to get lean and make everything tighter and leaner, butter is one of first thnings to get scrapped. ”

      This is funny. If you were a diet addict you would know that fats do not make a person fat. To get tighter and leaner you should be scrapping grains.

  6. Lauren

    This is great information and I agree 100%! I’ve never tried cooking with ghee but I’m interested in trying it. What are your thoughts on coconut oil?
    I also love that you made a point of saying that counting calories, carbs and fats takes away from the enjoyment of eating. I also am trying this new approach and I am happier for it. Thanks for a great article!

      1. Warren

        My understanding is that virgin coconut oil’s smoke point is about 250 to 300 degrees fahrenheit according to most VCO labels (although I have seen some labels claiming as high as 350 degrees), whereas refined coconut oil’s smoke point is about 450 degrees fahrenheit. What is your understanding about this, Dani?

        1. dani stout Post author

          Refined coconut oil does has a higher smoke point. I use this brand because even though the word refined sounds bad, it hasn’t gone through over processing and is sustainably harvested –> http://amzn.to/1ol2TaQ (and that’s an affiliate link). It also doesn’t taste like coconut which I like.

    1. dani stout Post author

      No, not at all times. I’ve definitely left it out overnight and haven’t been worried. But it’s better to refrigerate so it lasts longer.

  7. baffled....

    I can’t reply to your comment up there, so here it goes. Regarding what you said on April 15, 2014 at 8:18 am:

    What I said is that USDA is lobbied by the meat industry, so I don’t see why you base your research on it so obediently, while you choose to discredit other sources so easily (China Study, AHA). The butter figures might be similar in other sources as you said (although as others pointed out here, the fried olive oil info you gave is false), but only pro-meat lobbied individuals and organizations would say that saturated fats are good for you. And are you pro-meat? Oh yeah, there is that big fillet put up on your website design. I almost missed it. Right from the first impressions, the message you want to transmit is evident.

    I do know about holistic management, which is nothing else than a meat eating man’s attempt to mix environmental solutions to eating meat. There are many scientists denying Allan Savory’s research, which Savory himself classified as “15 years of frustrating and erratic [sic] results.” Holistic management is nothing more than a single man’s quest to prove that a life’s work wasn’t in vain. That’s all.

    Regarding your comments about veganism lacks essential nutrients…… well, like I said, ask people with the advisory potential of Carl Lewis, B. Clinton, Mike Tyson or Ellen DeGeneres about it. And your comment about veganism being “horrible for the environment” is nothing less than laughable. If you mean that growing vegetables has an impact on the environment, the answer is: absolutely. But it is much lower than the impact raising animals has on Earth (saying the contrary is nonsense). Not to mention methane emissions and the previously mentioned ecological footprint.

    1. dani stout Post author

      The China Study isn’t even peer reviewed, it’s a complete joke. Had you bothered to read Denise Minger’s review, you would know that.

      Hell yes I’m pro-meat! I was vegan/vegetarian for six years and it ruined my health. It is a fact that butter is more nutrient dense than olive oil. I understand you have some sort of odd vendetta against us meat eaters, but this does not change the fact that butter is a nutrient dense food. It does not change that fact that saturated fats are good for you, which you would know had you bothered to do any actual research.

      Regarding Allan Savory, you got that quote from this blog http://fullspectrumbiology.blogspot.com/2013/05/allan-savorys-plea-to-fight.html I’m guessing because it’s the only place I was able to find it. Mind you, if this quote is even accurate, it is from 1990! Allan Savory’s methods have proven to be effective, he is literally reversing desertification. You would really have to be blind or in complete denial to deny that.

      Great, I’ll get right on asking celebrities who have no idea about nutrition if they think their radical, new age, nutrient-depleted diet is found. B12, retinol, omega-3s, cholesterol, all lacking from a vegan diet. Yet another fact you choose to ignore.

      Again, you’re clearly in denial about the environmental impact a vegan diet has on the earth. Unless you’re a vegan that is subsisting on local, organic vegetables year round (which is not possible from an environmental or health perspective), then veganism is more damaging to the environment than eating seasonal, local produce, meat and dairy. All those beans and legumes have to come from somewhere! And it ain’t likely it’s your backyard. I find that so many vegans are disconnected from their food, where it comes from and how it is grown. This is clearly the case with you, or you would know that an ideal farming system needs both animals and plants. The plants feed the cows, the cows feed the plants. Plants need the manure. There’s a reason why you can buy ground up blood and bone for plants.

      You should also educate yourself on methane emissions, you can start with this article from Joel Salatin: http://grist.org/sustainable-farming/farmer-responds-to-the-new-york-times-re-sustainable-meat/

      I’ll leave you with this quote from The Vegetarian Myth

      “And agriculture isn’t quite a war because the forests and wetlands and prairies, the rain, the soil, the air, can’t fight back. Agriculture is really more like ethnic cleansing, wiping out the indigenous dwellers so the invaders can take the land. It’s biotic cleansing, biocide. … It is not non-violent. It is not sustainable. And every bite of food is laden with death.

      There is no place left for the buffalo to roam. There’s only corn, wheat, and soy. About the only animals that escaped the biotic cleansing of the agriculturalists are small animals like mice and rabbits, and billions of them are killed by the harvesting equipment every year. Unless you’re out there with a scythe, don’t forget to add them to the death toll of your vegetarian meal. They count, and they died for your dinner…

      Soil, species, rivers. That’s the death in your food. Agriculture is carnivorous: what it eats is ecosystems, and it swallows them whole.”

      1. baffled....

        It is clear we won’t agree on anything, so this will be my last post. I will quote my sources and you will quote yours. The only difference is that yours are lobbied by the meat industry.

        I never said butter didn’t have nutrients. It does have them. And a lot of unhealthy fats, too. Please stop saying that saturated fats are good for you. While in low quantities they might not be harmful, but the fact that you encourage people to eat more of them is crazy. Like I said, we all choose our sources.

        But a few things I must say: the Allan Savory quote is not form a blog, mind you, it’s from professor James E. McWilliams, who quotes it from Savory himself at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0921800991900319
        To most scientists Allan Savory’s research is a joke. And yes, the quote is from 1991, but today -in 2014- most scientists disagree with his current work. Google, you will find quite a bit. Instead, the source that looks like a blog is your China Study critique source, written by…. who?

        Eating meat does not mean hat you don’t eat vegetables, so while vegans are responsible for what you call shipping products around the world, carnivores are responsible for that, plus for all what farming animals involves. Likewise, greenhouses and local produce consumption are a way of minimizing the impact that you referred to. Oh, and fertilizers are not only obtained from cattle manure, as you suggested.

        I already said that I realize that farming vegetables isn’t impact free, but I repeat, you simply can’t compare this impact with that of raising farm animals. It’s as simple as that. And if your healthy free range grown meat was to be eaten by all in an overpopulated planet, there would be no rainforests left. Everybody knows that farming free range animals requires more space than farming vegetables. That even gets accentuated when you consider that most of the world’s crops are being fed to grow animals that later people eat. Again – if all citizens of the planet had the average American citizen lifestyle (which includes diet), we would need 5.3 planet Earths. That is a very powerful statistic. It’s all about space and resources needed. It’s all about the choices we make, which should not only be based on health ideas, but on realizing that the way we live (and eat) is unsustainable.

        Finally, I am in no vendetta against carnivores, it’s just that your article is biased. That’s all.

        Good bye to you. Enjoy your saturated fats, but please don’t tell people that they are healthy. That is wrong.

        1. dani stout Post author

          Maybe if you ate some saturated fat your brain would function better and you would be able to grasp the fact that saturated fact is indeed healthy. Here’s some reading to help you out:

          http://www.bmj.com/press-releases/2013/10/22/observations-saturated-fat-not-major-issue
          http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/502.abstract
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20071648?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=2%20Am%20J%20Clin%20Nutr.

          “Eating meat does not mean hat you don’t eat vegetables, so while vegans are responsible for what you call shipping products around the world, carnivores are responsible for that, plus for all what farming animals involves.” < -- I never said this. I have no issue with vegetable production (as long as it's organic). This sentence is literally nonsense. What I have an issue with, which I made abundantly clear, is the grain and legume production that is the basis of a vegan diet. I don't advocate or consume any grains or legumes. Again, maybe if you were consuming an adequate amount of saturated fat, you would actually be able to respond to valid points I have made. Soy, corn, wheat, rice, beans and canola take a massive amount of land to grow. They destroy entire ecosystems. Soy production is literally destroying the Brazilian rainforest. If we instead grew pasture raised meat, we could grow even more vegetables because the land would be nourished. This is basic farming 101, which most vegans know nothing about (obviously). Eating locally, organically grown meat and vegetables that are in season is the most environmentally friendly diet, not veganism.

          1. baffled....

            Well I said I wouldn’t reply, but when you basically insult me by saying that my diet prevents me from thinking (very elaborated argument, btw), I just have to. I could do the same and say that it is your saturated fats diet that prevents you from making sense. You do your own thing, and I’ll do mine. At least I will not tell people to eat butter as a healthy thing.

            Since you gave me so much reading for homework, let me ask you to read Dr. Hiromi Shinya’s “The Enzyme Factor”. You will find out plenty about the wonders of dairy.

            And don’t you think that I don’t know about soy plantations and the rainforests. I already said that crops are not impact free. This is the third time I say it (it must be your saturated fats brain that can’t process). But I inform myself and consume products that don’t impact rainforests. It all has an impact, but some choices have a higher impact than others. Interesting how nothing is said about the amount of rainforest land destroyed in this world for cattle farming. Surprisingly, you never mention anything about the impact of farming animals. I admit; you don’t.

            Bye (for good now).

          2. dani stout Post author

            This is my website, I do not feel the need to reiterate points I’ve made all over it to someone who is determined to continually deny the obvious.

            You enjoy your low-fat vegan diet, I will enjoy (and encourage my readers) to enjoy a scientifically sound, environmentally friendly diet that our ancestors have eaten for millions of years without cancer, obesity, diabetes or environmental destruction.

  8. Tony

    I have read some of the comments here and would like to add my point of view. I am a vegetarian, but would like to contribute to a moderate debate with no need for the seen disrespect or tension.

    I do agree with what was written about butter; it may be nutritious, but could also be unhealthy. If I am not mistaken (I could be), this new view about saturated fats not being unhealthy comes as a result of a (one) new study. We should perhaps take it cautiously for now. I do believe that the article on this website perhaps presents butter benefits too highly. If saturated fat ends up being not harmful (as we thought it was), that is one thing, but to say that “saturated fats are extremely healthy” might be just going too far. What could not be unhealthy might not necessarily be “extremely healthy”.

    Likewise, this debate is just referring to cholesterol. But butter is dairy, and the harmful effects of dairy have been exposed by several, including the mentioned The Enzyme Factor. But I don’t want to start adding links here. Like it was said on another comment, there are links and a variety of online articles to back up any opinion, so people with strong sentiments about something will stick to those references which support their own views. Example: a website linked on a comment by Dani basically exculpates cattle for higher methane emissions (written by Joel Salatin), while other sources state the exact contrary. I do believe that we should listen to scientific consensus, and Joel Salatin doesn’t seem to be a scientist; instead he is a farmer with economical interests at stake, which makes him a great candidate for promoting biased ideas. Scientific consensus overall points out that methane emissions from cattle farming are a cause of climate change. Luckily, not everyone out there is as biased as Salatin. Even dairy farming organizations such as DairyNZ are scientific enough to conclude that ruminants increase the amount of greenhouse gases (not by increasing CO2 levels, but by converting CO2 into methane, a “greenhouse gas that is more than twenty times as powerful as carbon dioxide.”)

    Regarding the environmental impact on food, I agree with “Baffled…”. Of course no food production is free of impacting the environment, but meat production is surely more aggressive and less sustainable. Denying this is beating a dead horse. What was said before about the impact of free range meat is obvious. This meat productions is unsustainable because it uses way too much land. There would be no room on Earth if all people ate organic and free range meat. And if intensive meat production is unhealthy and unethical, where does this leave us on the meat consumption debate? Surely, vegetarians can also minimize impact when consuming seasonal and local foods when possible (the same Dani advocates for). Importing is not 100% avoidable, but greenhouse farming is there to help out.

    Hence, I do see a flaw on Dani’s statement about our ancestors’ healthy diet free of environmental destruction. Their food might have been healthy and produce no illness (which can be debatable), but their food practices don’t objectively apply to 2014 and to a world with 7 billion people. The world is not the same as it was. World population has increased from less than 1.8 billion to over 7 billion in less than a century. Overpopulation is a reality, and potentially having 7 billion mouths demanding organic meat (or even non-free range meat) regularly is not realistic. There is simply not enough land to provide such animal pastures (and the crop fields that are used to feed our domestic farm animals.)

    Thank you for letting me express my opinion here.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Actually it’s more like the opposite – all of the information vilifying fat comes mainly from the extremely flawed and debunked study of Dr. Keys – The Seven Countries Study. I’ve written about it before so you can search the site for more info. Furthermore, our ancestors have not only survived but thrived on high saturated fat diets, they even revered several foods high in saturated fat as “scared foods” because they are so nutrient dense.

      The rest of your argument is hard for me to respond to without writing a novel, but I’ll try to simplify it.

      There is enough land – consider that one cow can feed a small family for an entire year. The same cannot be said for even an acre of grains. Plus, pasture based operations reverse desertification! Imagine if we utilized this model in arid lands!

      Not to mention the fact that so many vegetarians cannot seem to comprehend – the land NEEDS animals. Animals feed the land! If we remove them from the equation, we’re left with chemical fertilizers, which strip the land. Eventually, the land turns to desert because of this.

      It’s a synergistic structure, so if we properly utilized the land, we could have cows that graze, then the cows fertilize the land, then vegetable and fruits grow (not grains).

      Let me ask you this: if we removed animals from the equation and just grew grains, legumes and veggies – what would fertilize the land?

      1. Entertained

        Thank you both for the entertainment.

        Agree to disagree because you both make SOME valid points…however, you both make ALOT of rediculous statements.

        You both need to remember that all these studies whether by scientists or other cost money. I would venture to guess you can find a study that is pro whatever you think is right because it is being funded by a bias source.

        How about everything in moderation?

        Baffled…we have bodies built for eating meat….otherwise we would have a bunch of rabbit teeth and a digestive system that can’t break down meat…
        Dani….as for your final question…there are 7 billion “animals” living on this planet that can fertilize the land…we just need to get over the fact that it would look odd if you drove by a pasture and saw a bunch of people taking a dump in the great outdoors!
        .

      2. David S.

        I believe our ancestors were healthier than us. But let’s examine lifestyle as well as nutrient intake. Our forefathers ate whole foods, untouched by science, industry and basic man. However they also worked much harder than we do. Hard manual labour kept disease at bay. Perhaps yesterday’s diet is the culprit of today’s sedentary man’s ill health. I believe if we today ate a balanced diet, including butter and oils we would live well, if only we got up and did something. ..just saying.
        David S.

  9. Gloria

    Hello,

    I honestly didn’t know what to do after reading your article, laughing or crying. I can’t believe you published this nonsense and still defend it. I’m sorry if it sounds very impolite but it is the truth, this article must be based on your own ideas and misconceptions because in no way it responds to any serious study on the matter. Where on earth have you read that the “good fats” are the saturates???? Those, along with trans fats, are the most unhealthy!
    Why do you think fast food is so harmful for cholesterol levels and health in general? because they are full of saturated fats like butter!, basically what you are saying is that ice-cream, black pudding, bacon, doughnuts…etc have the
    “good fats” type. If you have any basic knowledge in nutrition (which I doubt) you should know that all this food is rich in saturated fats and very very low in the “good ones” monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. (these you can find in sunflower seeds and olive oil).
    Saturated fats are the reason behind diabetes, heart conditions, high cholesterol, obesity and CANCER.
    YES. CANCER and SATURATED FATS are positively correlated.

    Now, going back to the oil-butter problem, it’s very funny how you avoided writing down one important value, an inconvenient truth maybe?

    Butter: 251 mg of Cholesterol, Olive Oil: 0 mg

    ……(no need for words)

    I know that there are a lot of “independent thinkers” who love debunking established knowledge and find joy in creating conspiracies and the promotion of “alternative medicine”. 99% of what they say is bullshit. And so is this “trend” about glamorizing saturated fats. All bullshit. Just go to Spain, Italy, Greece or Japan and see for yourself how their diets low in saturated fats affect their health. And then go to america and have some bacon for breakfast.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Gloria,

      It’s clear you do not have even a basic grasp on nutrition – or common sense for that matter. What fast food restaurant in the nation even uses butter? Look at the ingredients – they don’t. They use soy, corn and canola oil, which are POLYUNSATURATED fats. Cholesterol is good for you, we would literally die without it. Half of our cells are made up of saturated fat. There is literally no study proving that saturated fat is unhealthy. Every culture in history eats saturated fats, including Greeks, Italians, Japanese, Masai, Maori, Aboriginals, etc. It’s a fact.

      Fat causes diabetes? Girl, you literally have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t even know why I’m responding to this nonsense when you clearly know nothing about health or nutrition.

  10. Cronje van Heerden

    Google search research results did a very good job of convincing me that PUFA’s make you sick, while most saturated fats are beneficial to your health.

    Unfortunately – searching for evidence online to intelligently debate a family members argument against consuming animal protein, I have to agree that avoiding animal protein seems to be well justified. (Most notably from the work of T. Colin Campbell).

    While I realize of course not all saturated fats are from animal sources, and even that consuming animal fat doesn’t necessarily mean you’re consuming large amounts of animal protein – generally speaking you wouldn’t separate the fatty bits from the protein rich bits.

    Regardless, I’m in no danger of giving up bacon and butter, but I would however like to be a bit more sure of myself when defending my consumption thereof.

    Any 90 y/o butter loving triathletes around? Anyone have some thoughts on the most recent studies refuting the “fat-is-good” theories? And does anyone know why most medical professionals, dieticians and health authorities still promote “low fat”?

    1. dani stout Post author

      T. Colin Campbell is a nut. Read more here: http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/09/22/forks-over-knives-is-the-science-legit-a-review-and-critique/

      There is literally not a single study that effectively proves that animal protein or fat, particularly from healthy animals is dangerous to consume. Take the human race for example, we’ve been eating animals for millions of years and only started to experience mass obesity, heart disease, cancer, etc when moving away from this type of diet.

  11. Svetlana

    I also wanted to add. Here is an example. My mom comes from a place where they used to eat a lot, and i really mean, a LOT of animal products like lamp meat, horse milk, etc. They use lamp fat to cook with (they boil it to make sort of lard). And heart decease is not a leading cause of death and i haven’t heard of my relatives dying from it. Most of my older relatives from there are in their 70-80ies. They are still very healthy and active. So I do agree with you that we should consume more saturated fats like butter.

  12. dr. daniel gremillion

    i hate to break it to you but you are misinformed. saturated fat is “bad” fat, ie, it is converted by the liver into cholesterol which can clog your arteries in your heart, neck, intestine. butter has more saturated fat. olive has more unsaturated fat. look it up. a little butter is ok but using olive oil is more heart and blood vessel friendly. dan gremillion, m.d.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Well, Doc, you really should read up on modern nutritional science. Only about 15% of the cholesterol we eat has any affect on our blood cholesterol levels, majority of cholesterol is naturally produced by the liver. The body would not be able to function without cholesterol. Not to mention the fact that roughly half of all cells are made up of saturated fat.

      Dr. Attia breaks it down pretty well and as a doctor I’d highly suggest you read it: http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-cholesterol-part-i

  13. JUST SAYING..

    I can tell, Dani, that you aren’t going to change your point of view so I’m going to address this to the readers. Over the years there have been many misconceptions about fats. Ideas about fats are going to continue to change as we discover new ideas through research. One thing is not going to change. Saturated fats and trans fats are the “bad” fats. (Found in large amounts in processed and homemade sweets, pastries, fried foods and non lean meats). Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the “good fats”. For example nuts, fish and avocados have these good fats. We should be aiming to eat saturated and trans fats in moderation. Encouraging us to eat more is wrong. Even if the findings on saturated fat and cholesterol the writer talked about are true, which THERE HAVE NOT BEEN ENOUGH RELIABLE STUDIES TO SUGGEST at this present time, we get more than enough saturated fats in our normal life anyway. The amount we consume does not need to increase. If you want to treat yourself to some butter sometimes, go for it. Just don’t say its good for us. This article could potentially be misinforming people who already have too much saturated fat in their diet to eat more, in turn causing a decrease in their health. I’d hate for someone to eventually become ill because they once read some exaggerated false information on a website without reliable sources and changed their lifestyle to become less healthy because of it. I’d recommend doing some research of your own to see what other information is available and to not trust everything written on some people’s personal blogs. Thank you for your time.

    1. dani stout Post author

      Actually saturated fats are not found in processed and homemade sweets, pastries and fried foods – polyunsaturated fats are. Soy, corn, canola and cottonseed oils are what is used in these products and they are all polyunsaturated fats and extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids while extremely low in omega-3 fatty acids. This is fat 101, pretty basic information.

      Even without studies, every traditional cultures have eaten saturated fats, not polyunsaturated fats from vegetables that have been overly processed. The Masai, The Eskimo, The Maori, etc. have all eaten saturated fats from animals and not only thrived but are completely free of modern diseases like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. Considering the amount of processed foods people eat that contain soy, corn, canola and cottonseed oils, people are overwhelmingly consuming polyunsaturated fat, not saturated fat. And people are unhealthier than ever.

      It’s incredibly frustrating and insulting to tell me to do more research when you clearly have done none.

  14. Bill Hake

    Hi Dani; I have read some of Dr. Weston Price’s work and have and use Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook. That should be enough evidence to suggest that I am in agreement with your work and applaud you for it. However none of that makes me an expert in the field of nutrition so let me tell my story in a different way. As a very young boy my parents lived out of town and had a cow and several hundred chickens. By the time I was in high school I had churned more butter and candled more eggs than most people would see or eat in an entire lifetime. I won’t mention that my sisters and I literally lived on butter, eggs, cottage cheese and fried chicken during that time. Shortly after high school I got married and one of the first things I told my new wife was that we were going to use butter and lard for the table and cooking not vegetable shortening. That is still true today. Now one last thing, three years ago I blew out the mitral valve in my heart so they had to operate. When the Dr. came to the room after the surgery he told me that before they operated they catheterized my heart to see if they would need to do any bypasses and they found that there was no plaque in my cardiac arteries. My heart was in such good shape that he was able to repair the valve rather than replace it with an artificial, which is a rare event. The wife and I are in our mid 80’s, we live independently 9 miles from the closest small community and are no where near thinking about a rest home. Thank God we didn’t buy into Dr. Ansel Keys faulty cholesterol hypothesis.

    Because of some of the earlier posts let me ramble just a little more. Montana (like every other state i’m sure) has millions upon millions of acres of land that is not tillable or would be highly erodible if tilled, therefore better left as grass land pasture. If we didn’t graze livestock on it, it would be a prairie fire waiting to happen, sending millions of tons of pollution into the atmosphere and a total waste of resources. All those pounds of beef that we raise help feed a lot of people and it’s sustainable.

    Bill Hake

    1. dani Post author

      Yes! Such a wonderful and insightful comment. You are a true testament to the power of real, ancestral food. Please keep in touch!

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