This Means I Get To Use Real Butter, Right?

Book Discussion

In the first section of William D. Lassek and Steven J. C. Gaulin's new book, Why Women Need Fat: How "Healthy" Food Makes Us Gain Excess Weight and the Surprising Solution to Losing It Forever, they look at how the American diet has changed in the past forty years. The authors say that one of the biggest changes we've made is taking a step away from saturated fats, which was supposed to to make us healthier. But has it?

I've always found the idea of eating "healthy" to be a bit troubling. I'm not saying I want a steady diet of food that is bad for me (though, I do enjoy my fair share of candy), but that each person's idea of healthy differs from the next. What I consider to be a healthy meal may not be what you consider to be healthy. In Why Women Need Fat, Lassek and Gaulin argue that it was when we moved away from more animal-based saturated fats to more plant-based unsaturated fat that we threw our weight, and our health, out of whack. Furthermore, that due to these plant-based unsaturated fats, we completely messed up our balance of good omega-3 and the less-good omega-6 fatty acids.

They provide information about why omega-3 fatty acids are good for us and how we aren't getting enough of them -— due in part to an excess of omega-6 fatty acids in our diet. But what I really hear is that I have an argument to continue to eat real butter.

Like other dairy products, butter is low in omega-6, and it also provides some omega-3. Lighter American women tend to eat more butter while heavier American women eat more margarine. Europeans eat much more butter than Americans, due to our misguided fear of saturated fat. The French, with an obesity rate just one-sixth of ours and a coronary disease death rate one-third of ours, eat four times as much butter as Americans. Pp. 149-150

I've always thought that butter was the poster child for foods we are not supposed to eat. Although I grew up eating it, I don't remember really ever being told it was actually good for me. And there was also margarine in our house. But I refused to touch it, and you will not find margarine in my house today. I'd love to say that I had some great reason for refusing the margarine, but the only reason I have this is -— I don't like it. I like the taste of butter. End of story.

Credit: Robert S. Donovan

While some of the claims in Why Women Need Fat weren't all that surprising, such as the suggestion that we should eat less processed food, other dietary suggestions were harder to wrap my brain around. The authors are suggesting that it's OK for us to eat more of things that we've been told for so long to avoid -- such as butter. They suggest that saturated fat may not be the big baddie it's been said to be, and that we can even *gasp* eat more dairy. And not the low-fat stuff either!

What did you think of the dietary claims in the book? Will you be changing any of your eating habits after reading it? Who is on #TeamButter?

BlogHer Book Club Host Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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