For years, we’ve been told that butter is a no-no, to choose olive oil for cooking, and even, on occasion, to spread margarine on our toast and use chemical-laden sprays to grease baking sheets. But as nutritional science evolves, so do thoughts on butter. Studies now show that butter is good for you, and it's time to celebrate.
In June, a study showed that butter is neither terribly bad nor terribly good for our health, debunking thoughts that this saturated fat led to heart disease. And other studies have shown that when you choose a good source of butter, such as grass-fed, butter is good for you, truly: grass-fed butter is richer in both conjugated linoleic acid and vitamin K2 than conventional butter.
"The last five years have seen a sea-change in thinking on saturated fats, including those in dairy food," says Nina Teicholz, investigative science journalist and author of "The Big Fat Surprise." "More than a dozen systematic reviews and meta-analyses now reveal that saturated fats have no effect on your risk of dying from heart disease. Also, there's at least one rigorous new clinical trial showing that full-fat dairy is actually better than low-fat dairy for fighting heart disease."
In celebration of this news, Organic Valley, the farmer-owned cooperative made up of more than 1,800 family farms, has launched a holiday advertising campaign to bring this fat back into the fold.
The campaign features a two-minute video that plays on the style of the History Channel, detailing the war on butter that began in the 1950s, when “butter melted away from our shelves, our recipes, and our lives.”
From the Organic Authority Files
These “dark times for our tastebuds” were even darker for Organic Valley dairy farmers, the spokesperson explains, as butter replacements and sprays took the place of real butter, with more fake ingredients and more sugar to compensate for the loss in flavor.
“You had people calling us monsters for making organic butter,” says Dave Hardy, Organic Valley farmer-owner. “It was weird. And confusing.”
But behind the scenes, these farmers never stopped working toward a "butter" future. Organic Valley introduced the first organic cultured butter in 1991, and it has since won 46 awards for its premium butters. Now that science confirms that these butters are, indeed, healthful, the war on butter, according to Organic Valley, is indeed over.
To celebrate this victory, Organic Valley enlisted the help of two food sculptors – Jim Victor and Marie Pelton -- to sculpt the faces of "our nation’s butter heroes" out of organic butter, including George Siemon, a founding farmer of Organic Valley. Videos to this effect can be found on the Organic Valley site, along with recipes made with Organic Valley's premium organic butters.
The end of the war on butter, however, is only the beginning. Teicholz notes that all saturated fats deserve a second look, now that butter is in the clear.
“If they cause no harm, then not only is 'butter back,' but so are whole milk and cheese,” she says. “After all, cows don't produce skim milk. The more natural and less processed the food, the better."
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