Image: Bantam eggs.
Years ago, as a child growing up on a farm, I used to have a flock of bantams and sold “organic free range eggs” at the local health food store. However, as I grew older, eggs and butter became “bad” foods, full of cholesterol and saturated fats. Since heart disease runs in my family, I reluctantly gave up on these great foods, or used them rarely and suffered pangs of guilt for my vices.
As a young scientist, taking chemistry and biochemistry, I became very concerned about the “alternatives” that were being pushed by marketing campaigns. Margarine, which in those days was always hydrogenated, contained trans fats – artificially produced fats for which no clear metabolic pathway in the human body exists to digest them. Were they stored in the body, or excreted? At the time, science didn’t know, and I wasn’t willing to consume a food product that might accumulate, with detrimental results, in my body. So, I went through a period in my life where I didn’t use either margarine or butter, or on rare occasions, guiltily “sneaked” a little butter. Later, some margarines were produced that did not contain hydrogenated fats, and so I used these, but they still weren’t satisfactory replacements for butter.
And eggs? They were just plain bad news. But try to bake a cake or cookies without eggs …
In the last couple of years, I’ve been hearing rumors that maybe eggs and butter aren’t so bad for you. In fact, it seems that trans fats, which are still found in most processed foods containing fat, may actually be one of the culprits behind heart disease. This concept has been further supported by readings that I have been doing as part of the herbalist course I’m taking.
And then guess what – my old alma mater – UBC – came up with an article in their Trek magazine, titled “Diet & Dogma” where they say the following:
- “Much of what we thought we knew about the role of saturated fats in our diet comes from a series of research studies, recently debunked, sponsored by the sugar industry ...”
- “… research in the 1990s showed that consumption of trans fat had a detrimental effect on human health. It tends to increase the production of lipoprotein LDL (bad cholesterol), while decreasing the production of lipoprotein HDL, the good one. Also, it promotes a dangerous level of inflammation in human cells and has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.“
- “Saturated fats aren’t toxic. … They actually have the ability to promote healing. .. We should … start cooking with butter again, drinking whole milk and eating cheese.“
Thank you UBC for speaking the truth and not letting industry put a muzzle on science!
I, for one, am going to enjoy my eggs and butter with a clear conscience.