This section of the book is from the "How and When to Be Your Own Doctor" book, by Dr. Isabelle A. Moser with Steve Solomon, published in 1997.
Recently, enormous propaganda has been generated against eating butter. Its been smeared in the health magazines as a saturated animal fat, one containing that evil substance, cholesterol. Many people are now avoiding it and instead, using margarine.
This is a major and serious misunderstanding. First of all, margarine is almost indigestible, chemically very much like shorteningan artificially saturated or hydrogenated vegetable fat. Hydrogenated fats can't be properly broken down by the body's digestive enzymes, adding to the body's toxic load. Margarine, being a chemically-treated vegetable oil with artificial yellow color and artificial flavorings to make it seem like butter, also releases free radicals in the body that accelerate aging. So, to avoid the dangers of eating cholesterol-containing butter, people eat something far worse for them!
There are severe inconsistencies with the entire "cholesterol-is-evil" theory. Ethnic groups like the Danes, who eat enormous quantities of cholesterol-containing foods, have little circulatory disease. Actually, the liver itself produces cholesterol; it's presence in the blood is an important part of the body chemistry. Cholesterol only becomes a problem because of deranged body chemistry due to the kind of overall malnutrition Americans usually experience on their junk food diets. Avoiding cholesterol in foods does little good, but eating a low-fat, low-sugar, complex-carbohydrate (whole foods) diet high in minerals does lower blood cholesterol enormously.
Actually, high quality fresh (not rancid) butter in moderate quantities is about the finest fat a person could eat. But high quality butter is almost unobtainable. First of all, it has to be raw, made from unpasteurized cream. Second, butter can contain very high levels of fat-soluble vitamins, but doesn't have to. Vitamin-rich butter's color is naturally bright yellow, almost orange. This color does not come from a test tube. Pale yellow butter as is found in the commercial trade was probably almost white before it was artificially tinted. Butter from grass-pastured cows naturally changes from yellow-orange to white and back again through the year as the seasons change. Spring grass, growing in the most intense sunlight of the year contains very high levels of chlorophyll and vitamins. Cows eating this grass put high levels of vitamins A and D into their cream, evidenced by the orange color of vitamin A. By July, natural butter has degraded to medium-yellow in color. By August, it is pale yellow. Industrial dairy cows fed exclusively on hay or artificial, processed feeds (lacking in these vitamins), produce butterfat that is almost white.
I prefer to obtain my butter from a neighbor who has several dairy cows grazing on fertile bottom land pasture. We always freeze a year's supply in late spring when butter is at its best. Interestingly, that is also the time of year when my neighbor gets the most production from her cows and is most willing to part with 25 pounds of extra butter.
In general, fats are poor foods that should be avoided. Their ratio of nutrition to calories is absolutely the worst of all food types, except perhaps for pure white sugar, which is all calories and absolutely no nutrition (this is also true for other forms of sugar. Honey, too, contains almost no nutrition.). Gram for gram, fats contain many more calories than do sugars or starches. Yet gram for gram, fats contain virtually no nutrition except for small quantities of essential fatty acids.
The perverse reason people like to eat fats is that they are very hard to digest and greatly slow the digestive action of the stomach. Another way of saying that is that they have a very high satiety value. Fats make a person feel full for a long time because their presence in the stomach makes it churn and churn and churn. Fats coat proteins and starches and delay their digestion, often causing them to begin fermenting (starches) or putrefying (proteins) in the digestive tract.
The best fats contain high levels of monosaturated vegetable oils that have never been exposed to heat or chemicalslike virgin olive oil. Use small quantities of olive oil for salad dressing. Monosaturated fats also have far less tendency to go rancid than any other type. Vegetable oils with high proportions of unsaturated fats, the kind that all the authorities push because they contain no cholesterol, go rancid rapidly upon very brief exposure to air. The danger here is that rancidity in vegetable oil is virtually unnoticeable. Rancid animal fat on the other hand, smells "off." Eating rancid oil is a sure-fire way to accelerate aging, invite degenerative conditions in general, and enhance the likelihood of cancer. I recommend that you use only high-quality virgin olive oil, the only generally-available fat that is largely monosaturated. (Pearson and Shaw, 1983)
When you buy vegetable oil, even olive oil, get small bottles so you use them up before the oil has much time being exposed to air (as you use the oil air fills the bottle) or, if you buy olive oil in a large can to save money, immediately upon opening it, transfer the oil to pint jars filled to the very brim to exclude virtually all air, and seal the jars securely. In either case, keep now-opened, in-use small bottles of oil in the refrigerator because rancidity is simply the combination of oil with oxygen from the air and this chemical reaction is accelerated at warmer temperatures and slowed greatly at cold ones.
Chemical reactions typically double in speed with every 10 degrees C. increase in temperature. So oil goes rancid about six times faster at normal room temperature than it does in the fridge. If you'll think about the implications of this data you'll see there are two powerful reasons not to fry food. One, the food is coated with oil and gains in satiety value at the expense of becoming relatively indigestible and productive of toxemia. Secondly, if frying occurs at 150 degrees Centigrade and normal room temperature is 20 degrees Centigrade, then oil goes rancid 2 to the 13th power faster in the frying pan, or about 8,200 times faster. Heating oil for only ten minutes in a hot skillet induces as much rancidity as about 6 weeks of sitting open and exposed to air at room temperature. Think about that the next time you're tempted to eat something from a fast food restaurant where the hot fat in the deep fryer has been reacting with oxygen all day, or even for several days.
Back to butter, where we started. If you must have something traditionally northern European on your bread, you are far better off to use butter, not margarine. However, Mediterranean peoples traditionally dip their bread in high-quality extra-virgin olive oil that smells and tastes like olives. Its delicious, why not try it. But best yet, put low-sugar fruit preserves on your toast or develop a taste for dry toast. Probably the finest use for butter is melted over steamed vegetables. This way only small quantities are needed and the fat goes on something that is otherwise very easy to digest so its presence will not produce as many toxins in the digestive tract.