Thursday, 24 June 2010


Butter in the Diet Drops Cholesterol Production - Steve Karg
Research indicates that eating butter and eggs may not be as damaging as previously thought. Other foods are taking the spotlight as the culprits.

The Framingham Heart Study conducted in the early 1950’s fingered cholesterol to be the major risk factor (out of 240 cited) for cardiovascular disease. Since then cholesterol containing food such as butter, eggs and cream were considered prohibitive on any diet in order to protect the cardiovascular system.

This lead to the erroneous government sponsored “pyramid” diet that promoted the low fat diet with polyunsaturated vegetable oils (margarine, canola and corn oil) and marketed by the American Heart Association as heart protective.

Today other groups such as the National Cholesterol Education Program, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and MyPiramid, joined the well known Heart Association to strongly promote the substitution of margarine instead of butter causing margarine to become a major part of the Western Diet. Americans consume approximately eight pounds of margarine per year.

Misleading Marketing in Favor of Margarine Tricks Consumers to Switch

The emphasis used in marketing margarine is that margarine does not contain cholesterol, has only 0-2 grams of saturated fat and is made from vegetable oils. Butter, on the other hand, is made from animal fat, contains approximately 65 % of saturated fat or approximately sevens grams of saturated fat per tablespoon and about 33mg of cholesterol per tablespoon. Both margarine and butter equally contain 100 calories.

The error with this marketing ploy that has convinced Americans to switch from butter to margarine is that in reality, the more cholesterol that is taken in from food, the less the body will make.

Cholesterol in Food Acts like a Statin Drug

Apparently dietary cholesterol helps to switch off the enzyme HMG Co-A reductase and stops the internal production of cholesterol naturally. It is important to remember that the mechanism of statin drugs is to inhibit the same HMG Co-A reductase enzyme.
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Since the original famous Framingham study, new studies conducted at Framingham showed that those who ate more saturated fat (eggs, butter and cream) were the most active, weighed the least and had the lowest cholesterol levels. (Archives of Internal Medicine, July 1992)

Another study from Framingham reported that men and women who liberally ate cholesterol rich food had an average cholesterol level between 237-245mg/dl.

In comparison, the study then looked at men and women who strictly restricted their dietary cholesterol intake as recommended. The startling result showed that the average serum cholesterol concentration levels were between 237-241mg/dl and statistically insignificant.
High Carbohydrate Diet Triggers Plaque Buildup

It was also noted that the overproduction of cholesterol by the body came from increased levels of insulin production. Increased insulin is released to breakdown high carbohydrate meals.

Other causes for increases in insulin levels are stress, caffeine, alcohol, low cholesterol and protein intake, aspartame intake, steroids, recreational drugs, tobacco, and thyroid replacement therapy.

A study designed to observe the effect of increased insulin on blood vessels showed plaque buildup in the arteries of every dog studied in a research project, developed after the injection of insulin into the dogs’ femoral arteries. (Circulation Research, 1985)

However, the FDA continues to warn individuals to limit their cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day.

If still concerned with the amount of saturated fat in butter and do not want to use margarine, try melting down a half a cup of butter and blend with a half a cup of olive oil.

1. Bender, D. A, et al., A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005

2. Mensink, R. P., et al, Effects of Dietary Fatty Acids and Carbohydrates on the Ratio of Serum Total to HDL Cholesterol and on Serum Lipids and Apolipoproteins: A meta-analysis of 60 controlled studies, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003

3. de Bruijne, D. W., et al, Fabricated Fat-Based Foods, 1999

Read more at Suite101: Eat Butter Not Margarine to Drop Cholesterol Production in Body

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