Letter to the Good Housekeeping Editor
The question asked in Good Housekeeping’s Nutrition News, December 2010, “Which is Better– Butter or Margarine?” ended with a very misleading answer. Butter was ruled out because of saturated fats and margarine was ruled out because of trans fats and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Sticks were deemed the best option for human health. Contrary to this article, full-fat, organic, pasture butter is always the healthiest choice for the human body.
It is true that margarine is very unhealthy for the human body because it “provokes chronic high levels of cholesterol and has been linked to both heart disease and cancer” (Nutr Week, Mar 22, 1991, 21:12:2-3). Margarine or tub spreads are processed foods manufactured from rancid oils and contain food coloring and many preservatives.
Butter, on the other hand, is America’s best source of important fat-soluble vitamins: vitamin A or retinol, vitamin D, vitamin K and vitamin E. Vitamin A is more easily absorbed and utilized from butter than from other sources (Fraps, G S, and A R Kemmerer, Texas Agricultural Bulletin, Feb 1938, No 560). Fortunately, these fat-soluble vitamins survive the pasteurization process.
When questioning what healthy nutrition is, it is imperative to have knowledge about Dr. Weston A. Price. He was a Cleveland dentist who traveled to isolated villages all over the world in the 1920s and 30s to search for the cause of dental decay and physical degeneration he observed in his practice. The isolated villagers had perfect formation of teeth and facial bone structure which lead him to confirm what he suspected: nutritional deficiencies lead to decay, malformation of bones and disease in Westernized societies. As the Weston A Price Foundation wrote:
“Wherever he went, Dr. Price found that beautiful straight teeth, freedom from decay, stalwart bodies, resistance to disease and fine characters were typical of primitives on their traditional diets, rich in essential food factors. When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by isolated primitive peoples he found that they provided at least four times the water soluble vitamins, calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat soluble vitamins —vitamin A and vitamin D —from animal foods such as fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats and butter from cows eating green grass” (http://www.realmilk.com/price.html).
These villagers made sure that their pregnant and lactating women as well as growing boys and girls had special food, which Dr. Price found to be rich in the vitamins A and D, nutrients only found in animal fats like butter. Most Americans, unfortunately, object to consuming fish eggs and organ meats. But a good source of animal fat is butter and, as the most physically fat and unhealthy nation in the world, it is so important for us to take small steps in becoming healthy again.
Say an emphatic “NO!” to the man-made, ultra-processed foods and go back to the small, local farm or neighborhood food cooperative for your butter.