After years of dietary advice which had people switching from butter (a traditional food) to other forms of oils for cooking and eating, new research shows that we may have taken a wrong turn.

butter for heart

New research published in the well-respected medical journal, BMJ, shows that individuals who have substituted Omega-6 oils in place of the saturated fat in butter increase their risk of death from all causes. including coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.

Omega 6 oils are one type of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). These are basically plant based oils, rather than animal based oils. While you can get a healthful Omega-3 plant oil from flax, the modern diet depends more on the more plentiful and less expensive plant oils (such as corn, safflower, canola, soy) which changes the basic ratio of Omega-3?s to Omega-6?s so that people are getting much more Omega-6 and low to no Omega-3.

Previous research showed that even men who had recently had a heart attack had a higher risk of mortality when thy upped their Omega-6 PUFA intake to 15% of calories (in the form of safflower oil), while also lowering the saturated fat intake. This higher risk included risk from heart attack and coronary heart disease, despite the fact that they had lowered their cholesterol by following this regimen.

Updated analysis of this data showed that reducing saturated fat and increasing PUFA showed no heart-related benefits at all! So, while this is the standard recommendation, it is not necessarily supporting improved health.

So why are people being encouraged to consume so much of the omega-6 oils? The conventional medical community seems to be slow to implement the results of new research. As in many fields, a prevailing paradigm will change slowly, because the people who have promoted that paradigm are emotionally invested in it.

This is yet another situation where a “manufactured” food (omega-6 oils which have not been available in large quantity before modern processes) is less healthful than a traditional, much less processed, food. It’s also another case where humans have diverted from the natural balance of foods in the traditional diet – and with potentially negative consequences.

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