Choose the Cows Over the Chemists


Julia Child laughing in her kitchen.

Julia Child famously said, “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”

It seems she was onto something.

For years we’ve been told that saturated fats—fats found in butter, cheese, and meats—cause heart disease. So for years, many of us have dutifully turned to substitutes like margarine and Earth Balance and even applesauce.

But, surprise. Saturated fats aren’t the villain after all. In fact, a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who ate higher levels of saturated fats had no more heart disease than those who ate less. Likewise, people who ate higher amounts of unsaturated fats like olive oil or corn oil do not have any less disease.

“A whopping 77 percent of all foods sold in grocery stores contain added sugar.”

So what gives? We Americans are at our fattest, yet we’ve been on a low-fat kick for three decades now. The culprit is not fat, it turns out, but refined foods. Okay, the study did not come to this conclusion, but Dr. Robert Lustig did. Lustig, professor of pediatrics at UC and author of Fat Chance, says that refined foods like sugar and white flour are the real source of soaring obesity rates, diabetes, heart disease, and even high blood pressure. (See his lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth for details.)

Author Michael Pollan agrees, saying Americans have gotten fat on low-fat products “because removing the fat from foods doesn’t necessarily make them nonfattening. Carbohydrates can also make you fat, and many low- and nonfat foods boost the sugars to make up for the loss of flavor.” A whopping 77 percent of all foods sold in grocery stores contain added sugar, according to Lustig.

“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize.”

I like Pollan’s advice on eating. In his book Food Rules, he advises not eating anything that your great-grandmother (e.g., Julia Child) wouldn’t recognize. In other words, choose the plain, unsweetened yogurt over the tubes of brightly colored sweet stuff; choose the rolled oats over the packets of presweetened, predigested instant flakes; and when it comes to butter, choose the cows over the chemists.

2 responses to “Choose the Cows Over the Chemists

  1. I still give the boys full-fat, organic milk, and I just made Emmanuel a scrambled egg with direct-from-Bhutanese-farm butter this morning–all on instinct that it’s gotta be healthy. Such a relief, Bekah! Thanks! Plus, eating non-processed food is much cheaper.

    Liked by 1 person

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