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Butter–The Healthy Fat “They” Don’t Want You to Know About

Let's Put Butter Back on the Dinner Table

Let's Put Butter Back on the Dinner Table

The Untold Story of BUTTER

by Sarah Pope, Guest Blogger, The Healthy Home Economist Blog

Fifty years ago, a sea change began to occur in the perception of nutrition in America, and hence, the entire Western World. It started shortly after World War II when butter and other saturated fats became public enemy #1 through the apparent link between their consumption and heart disease. Cholesterol rich foods such as egg yolks and liver joined the list of vilified foods during the 1970’s as the public was told by doctors, nutritionists, and the limited media outlets at the time (network TV and radio) that these foods were clearly linked to the epidemic of heart disease.

The discovery that artery clogging plaques – the main cause of heart attacks – were found to primarily contain cholesterol sealed the deal. Never mind that the oxidized cholesterol found in processed foods (particularly skim milk) was the real culprit in the heart disease war. Common sense seemed to dictate that avoiding all cholesterol rich foods such as butter, liver, and egg yolks would somehow reduce one’s chance of a heart attack. Foods rich in saturated fat and cholesterol, oxidized or not, became inextricably linked to bad health, clogged arteries, and heart attacks in the psyche of most Westerners.

Flawed Science Discovered by Fats Researcher

About the same time the war against eggs heated up, a young scientist named Mary Enig discovered during her research that a serious mistake had occurred with regard to the studies linking saturated fat to heart disease. She discovered that the analysis had incorrectly grouped saturated fat along with trans fat (partially hydrogenated fats). How had this happened? The mistake evidently occurred because factory synthesized trans fats are very similar in chemical structure to saturated fats. So similar in fact, that researchers had grouped them together for analytical purposes.

Problem is, the seemingly insignificant, minor chemical difference between saturated fat and factory fat (trans fats) made all the difference in the world to the conclusion of the research. Dr. Enig found that when saturated fats and trans fats are separated into different groups, saturated fats were found to have NO LINK to heart disease while trans fats were found to have a very strong link!

Mortified, Dr. Enig tried her best to rectify this mistake by notifying her superiors and others in the industry, but found that the freight train against saturated fat had already left the station. Dr. Enig eventually paid for her forthrightness with her career. Blackballed by the edible oil industry who aggressively opposed her findings as a threat to their profits and bottom line, she found herself unable to get grants, funding, or even a job within the industry to continue her work on the effect of fats on the human body.

Food Industry Won’t Let Hypothesis Die

The highly successful campaign to demonize butter as a food loaded with saturated fat and therefore, a contributor to the heart disease epidemic, paved the way for the edible oil industry to create an entirely new line of products: margarine and other fake butter spreads. These “not butter” products began to line the supermarket shelves and Americans scooped them up in the name of better health. Butter substitutes are very cheap to produce – much cheaper than real butter. Replacing butter with margarine in the American diet proved to be a very smart marketing move for the edible oil industry and they rode this wave of profits for many years all the while falsely touting the certain improvements in public health that would result.

Butter is Shunned, While Heart Disease Skyrockets

Problem is, even with the abandonment of butter in the modern diet, Americans continued to get fatter and fatter and the epidemic of heart disease showed no signs of abating. Ironically, the very margarines the public so willingly purchased instead of butter are loaded with trans fats, the very fats that ARE strongly linked with heart disease. How the edible oil industry managed to successfully demonize butter and all saturated fats all the while slowly and purposefully integrating trans fats into every nook and cranny of the entire processed foods industry is certainly an amazing marketing feat! Pepperidge Farms changed its wonderful line of cookies from using coconut oil to trans fats. McDonald’s changed the oil it used for making french fries from beef tallow to trans fats. It seemed the entire world had bought into the story that all saturated fats are bad for you.

Well, not everyone. Dr. Enig had quietly continued her pioneering work on fats and was now on the board of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) which was founded in 1999. Even after the dangers of trans fats to health finally started to be exposed in the late 1990’s through the work of the WAPF and others (reaching a crescendo with the addition of trans fats to product labels just a few years ago), the edible oil industry refused to stop the campaign against butter.

New “Not Butter” Products May Be Worse For Your Health

A new line of products was introduced which have gradually, though not completely, replaced trans fat laden margarines. These products boast a so called “heart healthy” blend of vegetable oils which, though not hydrogenated, are still unsafe to consume. The new process used to produce these vegetable oil spreads is called “interesterification” which is arguably even more dangerous to health than trans fats. Read about this deadly form of processing at this link: Know your Fats: Interesterification

In 1999, Sally Fallon, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and friend of Dr. Enig, produced a series of lectures on “Why Butter is Better” and the “Oiling of America” to start getting the word out about the duping of an entire generation against butter and saturated fats. The fact that the media is no longer monopoly controlled and the rise of the Internet have allowed the public to actively participate in the spreading of the real truths about fats and health. Companies are beginning to switch to palm oil from partially hydrogenated oils, in the production of their cookies and crackers. Butter is again a growth industry and even eggs, long demonized for their abundance of saturated fat and cholesterol, have finally received acknowledgment as a perfectly healthy food, one that should be consumed often if not daily.

If you are still unconvinced about the necessity of full fat butter in your diet to achieve your best health, I would recommend that you contact the Weston A. Price Foundation to get your copy of Ms. Fallon’s lectures on the subject.

This unbelievable saga would make a great movie, don’t you agree? Maybe big time director James Cameron would be interested.


Sarah Pope, Tampa, FL

Sarah Couture Pope has been a Weston A. Price Chapter Leader for Tampa FL since 2002. She holds a BA in Economics from Furman University and a MGA in Financial Management from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently raising 3 young children with her husband and enjoys blogging about her traditional food and wellness adventures at: The Healthy Home Economist blog.

This post is part of the Real Food Wednesday blog carnival, hosted by Cheeseslave.com.

To find our recommended sources of healthy fats and butter products, please visit our Resources page.


  1. Wow, what an informative article – Thank you for bringing light to this topic.
    .-= Cara´s last blog ..Salvation Army 22nd Annual Fabric Sale =-.

  2. A movie saga about butter – I would love that! I used to crave butter like a madwoman when I was low-fat. Gosh, I can’t describe the ecstasy I felt when I loaded down a baked potato with real butter for the first time in years. Ever since, I’ve been on of butter’s number one fans. Excellent post!
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Weight Loss Wednesday: Does the Milk Diet Help You Lose Weight? =-.

  3. It is soooooo very frustrating to see how people don’t want to be properly informed about the food that they eat. Instead of researching as far as they can, they just accept ‘popular’ belief. And the consequence is poorer health for this nation.
    I love butter and I am so thankful for the work of Dr. Enig and Sally Fallon in giving me this information! Now I can help to turn this misconception around -starting with my own family!
    .-= mom24´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – My Sweet Valentine =-.

  4. had an interesting conversation with a PHD on the very subject. she
    insisted that the ‘easy spread’ product she was using was GRAS.
    I replied to her that she was DEAD wrong and that the inch an half of cellulite fat around your thighs agree with me!

  5. I am such a fan of REAL butter and, in particular, the Kerrygold Irish butter from Ireland…and the reason REAL butter from grass fed cows is such a dark yellow color is because of the high amount of beta carotene found within the grass that the cows eat and YOU benefit from…long live butter!…an excellent source of the good fat that won’t make you fat!…thanks for sharing a great topic I wish more people would take notice of.

  6. I heard that, aminokid! But you’re right, the essential fatty acids in butter are an important part of a good anti-cellulite diet.
    .-= Melissa @Cellulite Investigation´s last blog ..Lymphatics and Cardiovascular Disease: Interview with Dr. Bruno Chikly (Part IV) =-.

  7. Coconut oil is another vilified fat that is actually incredibly good for you.


    It’s funny how many health experts tout highly refined vegetable oil as being “heart healthy.”

    Basic common knowledge is that the more unsaturated the fat, the easier it will go rancid.

    What’s the most unsaturated fat? Why, the polyunsaturated vegetable oils!

    What makes fat go rancid? Heat, light, and oxygen. And how do vegetable oil manufacturers make vegetable oil? You got it, lots of heat, light, and oxygen.

    So think about that the next time you pick up some “heart healthy” corn oil. It is already rancid before you even bring it home.

    You can’t taste the rancidity because the oil has been refined, bleached, and deodorized (yum yum). All the warning signs that the oil contains loads of free radicals have been removed!

    Keep well clear of anything made in a lab that is supposedly better for us than what nature has provided us. It never is.

    For more info on fat facts:


    Wishing everyone the best of health,

    .-= Melissa M´s last blog ..Liver Cleansing – Natural Liver Cleanse Methods =-.

  8. Good one. I for one use eggs to make my muscle outweight my fat. Here is how it goes (the following must happen on a daily basis for at least 3 months and hell yeah it’s worth it) :

    – 3 eggs in the morning
    – 2 eggs in the evening
    – 40 push-ups in between ( 10 push-ups every 5 minutes – usuallu only takes half hour of the whole day)
    – Also eat anything in between.Absolutely anything.

    Important notes:

    – The catch is don’t eat more fat than the protein you already ate, carbohydrates will be useful for your daily push-ups.

    – Make sure you do “slow” pushup so that you not only gain shape and lose fat, but to also gain overall strength 😉

    In my case, after few months – 3 or a bit less – i managed to increase my metabolism and enhanced my shape. My cousin was loads fatter than me and now she looks like she’s been swimming for her whole life lol. Anyone can do it actually. Anyone.
    .-= Medo Joe´s last blog ..Mini Trampolines Help In Loosing Weight =-.

  9. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Very interesting Joe. Thanks for giving us your dietary strategy. Do you think it will help reduce belly fat??

  10. Medo Joe says:

    Of course it will Kimberly, let me tell you something. What happens when combining eggs (proteins) with push-ups is this:

    – Every day You get to spend those 5 eggs on building the muscle that grows out of the push-ups. For ladies, that muscle won’t really look like muscle manly muscle, but it will make them look real good, strong and attractive.
    – Push-ups take care of belly, back, legs, arms and shoulders. It’s the enemy of fat. Nothing can beat that!
    – On continuous usage of this diet & training, results can come faster than you think. Why? Because you never know how fast your body can react then cope with a good system like that. You might see results faster than you think, and the best part is, the body shape you get out of this system, it takes years of neglect to make it go away 😀 .. Real life example: My dad was in the navy, he spent 6 months eating properly (more proteins than fat) and doing push-ups daily. He stopped training afterwards and boy he never lost those chest and stomach muscles after all these years.

    “Eggs with Push-ups” not only make you look good..they also “maintain” your new shape for long.

    To your health.
    .-= Medo Joe´s last blog ..Mini Trampolines Help In Loosing Weight =-.

  11. carol walsh says:

    I agree that butter is a good nutritional product. BUT that is if it made from raw (not pasturized) grass fed animals.

  12. Very interesting read. Its funny how one mistake can then go on to affect millions of people. We now have a “fat phobia” and don’t realise that healthy fats are one of the central keys to weight loss.

  13. Just came and read, this is wow! I was seek from many blogs, but here is the best, I love it


  1. […] Blogger Sarah Pope shares with us an interesting history of butter and the marketing machine:  The Untold Story of BUTTER […]

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