Feb 112010

I couldn’t sleep last night, my mind was hard at work and therefore my body could get no rest. A few days ago I did something I haven’t done before. I bought butter. It was hard to find as it was well hidden and was modest and shy by appearance- bullied in to the corner by the infinite variety of margarines. Later that day my dietetic heart ached as I cut of a small corner and let it slide onto the frying pan. I was overwhelmed by guilt and contemplated to scrape it of in fear of never getting my license as a dietitian. I have always eaten low fat, mostly due to being grossed out by Romanian culinary habits. But I never touched margarine until I started studying dietetics here in Sweden. Wherever I looked, the advice was to use margarine like it was the cure to all evil.  Substitute the bad fats for the good fats- the mantra was. I had some pretty hefty biology and biochemistry in Australia, and remember very well that there are more than just three types of fats. There are over a dozen types of saturated fats that all undergo different chemical reactions in our body, not to mention mono- and polyunsaturated fats. It seems too simple (in my opinion) to just childishly label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I have thought about it for a long hard time, and read through a large amount of studies – I could not find any good evidence that margarine is better for you, or that saturated fat cannot be a part of a heart healthy diet. Even a large Meta analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration could not back up the claims that saturated fat is the bad villain. My question is, why are we recommending a small chemistry factory (margarine) ? If the case was that butter was that terrible for our health, then the advice should be to use neither of them, right? Maybe a butter-ban? I haven’t made up my mind; I honestly don’t know what the deal is with butter and margarine, and by the looks of available scienctific studies we don’t really know. But we do have a lot of theories, and they seem to make sense, and so far evidence points towards limiting saturated fat intake. But not abolishing it altogether. A little does it, but you got to have some.

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