We know that butter tastes better than margarines and vegetable oil spreads, but is it actually better for you? Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and author of Nourishing Traditions explains that the answer is definitively “YES!” Today, she goes over the nutrients in butter today – like fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K, important trace minerals, arachidonic acid, cholesterol, and the Wulzen factor – and she explains the benefits that they offer us and our children.
She also reviews the problematic ingredients found in butter substitutes that can lead to thyroid issues, arthritis, infertility, skin rashes, and more. In sum, Sally makes a strong case, based on science-backed evidence, that is butter is a better choice, in every respect.
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Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda.
Butter has fat-solubles, vitamins A, D and K, important trace minerals, arachidonic acid, cholesterol, and the Wulzen factor. These are just a few of the reasons butter is better. This is episode 396. Our guest is none other than Sally Fallon Morell, the President and Founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Sally is the author of Nourishing Traditions, Nourishing Broth, and Nourishing Diets along with many other important books. In this episode, we discuss with Sally all things butter and why it is so much better than margarine, shortening, and spreads.
Sally kicks things off by explaining how butter got its bad rap and who did the maligning and why. She reviews the ingredients found in butter and butter replacements, going over the damage that these artificial spreads do to us. She also goes over exactly how the vitamins and nutrients found in butter benefit our bodies and those of our growing children. Some benefits include improved hormonal function, cognitive function, and fertility.
Before we dive into the conversation, we need your opinion on this show. What’s working and what’s not? Take a minute or two to fill out our survey. Once you give us your feedback, you’ll be eligible to win the New Weston A. Price Foundation book, 11 Dietary Principles. We will be picking five winners at random from those who fill out the survey. The survey closes on December 12th, 2022. Act now and you might get your book before the holidays, which will make a perfect stocking stuffer. The link is found on our About the Show page on the WestonAPrice.org website. Thank you in advance. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.
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Visit Sally’s Website: NourishingTraditions.com
Take our Podcast Survey to Enter to Win our Free Book on WAPF’s 11 Dietary Principles
Order the Why Butter is Better Brochure
Welcome to the show, Sally.
Thanks. It’s great to be back. It’s great to have you back after all your travels.
Thank you. I’m so glad to be here. Although, the world is magnificently wonderful and amazing. I learned so much in Mongolia, Turkey, and Greece too.
How interesting. Turkey is a place I’d like to go to.
You would love it. The food is so fresh. Speaking of fresh and amazing food, I want to talk with you about butter. I’m so thrilled that I feel like butter is making a comeback. People are realizing that it’s nourishing on so many levels. Can we talk about, first of all, why it was maligned? Why was it cast aside in the ‘70s?
It was earlier than that. To put it all in perspective, in the 1900s, Americans consumed 18 pounds of butter per person per year. I probably consumed that in half a year. I consumed 4 pounds a month. There was this long attack on butter, and the consumption went down to 4 pounds per person per year. That was the low. It’s now creeping back up to about 5.5 pounds per person per year, which seems like nothing when you realize how much you could eat.
Most people do avoid butter. The reason they do is because of this campaign, which started in 1913 with Procter & Gamble when they invented Crisco. It wasn’t a new invention. It was this technique. They were taking cottonseed oil, which was liquid. They figured out how to harden it by partial hydrogenation so they could make candles out of cottonseed oil. They were taking this waste from the cotton industry. That was a big industry in the South. Procter & Gamble was making candles with it.
Electricity came along and there was no use for this product. They said, “We will feed this to people instead.” That is the genesis of this. They made it a little softer so you could spread it. They then came out with this Crisco cookbook. In the book, it said that mothers who use Crisco instead of lard have cleaner houses. Their houses smell better. They’re more modern and more enlightened. Their children will grow up with better characters if they use Crisco instead of lard. They knew how to push all the buttons of the upcoming American housewife and all the things she wanted. She wanted a clean house. She wanted to be considered modern. She wanted her to be proud of her children. That’s what they said.
That was the marketing used to get people to buy Crisco, this cotton seed bread product, instead of lard. Did that also replaced butter?
Yeah. They made people think it was vulgar to use lard. They said rednecks used lard. We’re sophisticated. New American middle-class use Crisco. The attack was also on butter because they figured out how to use this partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil to make margarine and make it taste like butter, and make it look like butter with the colorings. The attack on lard was direct, but the attack on butter was a little more subtle. It was like, “You should feel guilty for using butter. It’s the food of unfit, wealthy, and spoiled people. You should feel guilty for using butter, and lard is vulgar.” That was pointing everyone towards shortenings and margarine.
Didn’t the study by Ancel Keys demonize animal fats as well, moving people in this direction?
Yes. All animal fats were demonized. The thing in animal fats that they could demonize was cholesterol and saturated fat because those were not in Crisco. They picked the two things that weren’t in Crisco and then they started on this demonization campaign. Since people had started using shortenings and margarine, heart disease was going up. It was this new disease. They didn’t look at the vegetable oils. They blamed it on the foods that people were not eating as much of, which were butter and animal fats. It was a real conspiracy. It was very mendacious. There were lots of lies.
It was a real campaign that permeated the consciousness of the American people and then later, the world. Let’s reverse the trend. It is coming back. Let’s talk about how butter is good for you.
Butter is the fat in nature for the growth and development of all mammals, including human mammals. It has unique components that support growth and development, starting with the fat-soluble, vitamins A, D and K. It’s one of the few foods that has them all as long as the cows are on green grass. It’s getting vitamin A from the keratin. It’s making K2 from K1 in the grass. It’s getting vitamin D from sunlight. That’s the first thing about butter. It is the healthiest fat as far as these vitamins are concerned.
Butter got some unique fats in it. One is butyric acid, which is unique to butter. The other way we get butyric acid is by digesting high-fiber foods and making butyric acid out of them. In butter, it’s ready-made. Butyric acid is very important for digestion. It’s particularly important for the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland needs butyric acid for receptors.
Butter from pastured cows is full of minerals, including iodine. It will concentrate iodine if iodine is in the soil. That’s why I say this combination of vitamin A, butyric acid, and iodine makes butter the ideal food for the thyroid gland. What have we seen in the past 50 years is the explosion of thyroid problems. One in two people has some kind of thyroid disorder. To me, the answer is obvious. We put our cows in confinement and we’re not eating butter, even if we were.
What are the benefits of vitamins A, D and K? I know Dr. Price found that these were fat-soluble activators that were good for us, but what do they do exactly?
These are the controllers of everything else in the body. You can’t absorb minerals without these vitamins. You can’t absorb B vitamins and vitamin C without these vitamins. You can’t make hormones. This is important for development. Boys and girls, when they’re developing, it’s not like they don’t need hormones. They need testosterone and estrogen to develop in the normal way. You can’t make hormones without vitamin A. You can’t make hormones without saturated fat. The saturated fat is in the butter.
Young children need hormones like testosterone and estrogen to develop normally. You can’t make hormones without Vitamin A and saturated fat, and saturated fat is in the butter.
What do you see in children who are deprived of wonderful foods like butter? What happens if they don’t get them?
They don’t develop as optimally as they should. Their brains don’t develop optimally as they should. Sexual confusion is one thing that you get. There is depression in your children. They don’t grow as tall as they should. There are lots of things that can happen.
I see anxiety, depression, and issues with cognitive function on all levels of society.
It’s especially in children. You get what I call adrenal problems, which are things like allergies, asthma, anxieties, and rashes.
Let’s talk about the kid that is eating butter. What are some of the benefits that they’ll see?
The benefits are they’re getting fat-soluble vitamins. Probably every day, if you’re putting butter on all your food, you’re absorbing your minerals. You need these vitamins to absorb your minerals. You’re getting a variety of special fats that have different roles in the body. You’re getting cholesterol. That’s very important, especially for babies and toddlers. They cannot make cholesterol. They need cholesterol for the development of their brain, their nervous system, the digestive tract, and for hormone production. That’s why there is cholesterol in the mother’s milk. There are also special enzymes to ensure the assimilation of all that cholesterol. If you buy milk replacers for baby cows, the third ingredient is animal fat. Scientists know that without the animal fat in the milk replacement, cows don’t do well.
They don’t put that animal fat in the formulas.
It’s all formula. Crunchy organic formulas are skim milk and vegetable oils. There’s no cholesterol in these formulas. It’s a type of genocide of our young people. We’re supposed to know so much. We’re supposed to be scientific, but the way they make these formulas has nothing to do with science. It’s based on finances.
It’s based on profit. It’s so unfortunate and so strange that we give calves exactly what they need.
There’s no money for sick animals but there’s a lot of money for sick children. There’s another thing in butter and all animal fats that are very important. That’s something called arachidonic acid. That’s an omega-6 fatty acid. It’s only in animal fats. It has many important roles. It’s very important for healthy skin. It helps the cells of your skin be stuck together, so to speak. They’re watertight. It’s good for cell-to-cell junctures.
It’s the same with the intestinal tract or the lining of the intestinal tract. The arachidonic acid is critical for that. Eleven percent of the brain is arachidonic acid. It’s very high in the brain or should be. Here’s the interesting thing about arachidonic acid. We make our endocannabinoids out of arachidonic acid. It is the base substance to make our internal marijuana. We have receptors for this marijuana. For a well-nourished child or adult eating lots of butter, the natural state is to be high all the time.
I love it when you say that. There are these feel-good chemicals that should be surging through us that butter enables to happen.
What are we seeing now? We’re seeing such high rates of addiction in our young people. We can’t be judgmental because these young people don’t feel right. They don’t feel happy, exuberant, and enthusiastic. They don’t have the ability to be focused and mellow at the same time, or relaxed but focused. That’s the way we should be. That’s the way healthy children are. They can go through periods of intense concentration.
We talked at the start of this conversation about my travels. I saw this one toddler. Maybe he was between 2 and 3 years old. He was crying constantly. I realized the only time he was quiet was when his parents would put a little iPad or phone in his hands. It’s like he was trying to dopamine regulate. He was trying to get happy. Maybe he needed more butter.
They eat butter in Mongolia.
This was another part of the world. These were just regular tourists.
These children are not happy. You can’t blame them. They’re not getting fed the right ingredients to make happy chemicals in their bodies. The natural state of children and adults is to be happy. Even if things are going poorly for you, still the natural state is to be happy and cheerful. They can’t do it, so marijuana or other drugs make them feel normal temporarily.
It could also be devices, I would dare say. You get a little dopamine hit. They’re like, “I got another like on this post.” For a kid, it’s like, “This little game, I made it to the next level.” That’s a poor substitute.
It’s a substitute for the real thing. What we’ve seen in the trend towards less butter is more unhappiness in our children and more tendency to addictive behaviors. Consumption of butter is going up. This is giving the food industry feats. You might think to go from 5% to 5.5% is not that much, but these small changes make big differences in the food industry.
We’re seeing a trend that less and less butter leads to more and more unhappiness in our children and a higher tendency to addictive behaviors.
We’ll talk about the dairy industry. They have deliberately changed the national dairy herd from Jersey cows, which produce a lot of butter fat, to Holstein cows, which are low in butter fat. We have a shortage of butter fat because of these policies. They figured out that they make more profit if they put the butter fat into ice cream than if they put it into butter or leave it in the milk. That’s where you get this big push for giving skim milk to children, which is a horrible thing to do.
They’d rather make the money by putting that butter fat into ice cream. They’ll make more per pound than they would by keeping it in the milk.
You have these kids that go through their day. They never get any butter or any animal fat. They have low-fat meals or wrong-fat meals. By 5:00 PM, they’re starving for fats. They go to the freezer and eat half a pound of ice cream, standing up in front of the freezer. They can’t help themselves. They’re getting the butter fat, but they’re also getting all the sugar, antifreeze, and all the stuff that’s in ice cream.
Maybe this is why parents sometimes call 5:00 PM the arsenic hour. They say you either want to give it to your kids or take it yourself because they’re all hitting this crisis point because of their lack of good fat.
I always put cheese out for them. I’m like, “Have a piece of cheese until dinner.”
Coming up, Sally reveals the most troubling ingredients in margarine and vegetable oil spreads. She also tells us which butter is the gold standard that we should all be looking for.
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We’ve got to change this. The choice of butter over other fats is going to make this change happen.
Let’s talk about what the trouble is with the spreads you were mentioning earlier. What are the bad ingredients in the margarine, vegetable spreads, and whatnot?
The bad ingredient in margarine is trans fats or trans fatty acids. These are the liquid fats that have been manipulated chemically to make them hard. The research was so strong indicating that trans fats are bad on every level. They interfere with hormone production. They interfere with enzymes. They stop things from happening on the cellular level. The industry has more or less gotten the trans fats out of the food supply. You can still buy margarine in the stores, but people are buying the spreads or the healthy spreads. These don’t have trans fats in them. We have tested them.
What do they have in them? They’re still made with rancid vegetable oils and they got thickeners in them. The main thickener they’re using is soy protein isolate. There is going to be soy in these spreads. They have these heart-healthy spreads. They’re industrial chemicals. They’re waste from the wood pulp industry. When they get in the water, they cause sex inversion in the fish because they lower cholesterol. They’re putting them in these heart-healthy spreads.
That’s why they can call them heart-healthy.
That’s because they lower cholesterol, but the thing is you need that cholesterol. This whole fixation on cholesterol led us in the wrong direction.
What’s the problem with the soy protein isolates that they use as a thickener? What does that cause?
The soy protein isolates are very high in estrogens, genistein, and dioxin. These are isoflavones that have estrogenic properties.
Let’s say I keep putting that on my toast every day. What would it do to me?
In women, it tends to give them problems with their menstrual periods. In growing girls, it causes early and large breast development. Typically, these girls menstruate very early. In boys, it suppresses testosterone.
It’s a hormone disruptor across the board.
That’s what’s going on in the healthy spreads.
Parents are buying them because they think, “This is better than butter.”
We dumped a tub of spread on a plate and then put a stick of butter on a plate. We put them out in the garden. The birds came along and they knew where the real food was. They pecked the butter and they didn’t touch the spreads. A squirrel came along, and I thought squirrels were vegetarians, but the squirrel grabbed the stick of butter and ran off with it. No animal would touch the so-called healthy spread. They know where the real food is.
They know it instinctively.
There are other things in these spreads. There are emulsifiers and hexane, which is gasoline. It’s used as a solvent. When they make this stuff, it’s a gray color, so they have to bleach it first. It has soy protein isolate and then sterols. These are artificial flavors. They can make the margarine taste like butter. Margarine shouldn’t be touched with a 10-foot pole.
What do you think it’s going to take to get that word out? Are people going to have to get very sick or hit rock bottom before they face the truth and realize it?
What happens is that the butter substitutes lead to infertility because butter supports fertility. There was a study on this at Harvard by a guy named Chavarro. They found that women drinking low-fat milk and avoiding butter had trouble getting pregnant, whereas women who drank full-fat milk and ate butter had no problems getting pregnant. When they did this study, they said, “If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, eat full-fat milk and some ice cream until you get pregnant, then you go back on your low-fat diet.”
Butter substitutes lead to infertility, whereas butter supports fertility.
What’s going to happen is that the people who don’t figure this out and start feeding their families real food like butter will not have grandchildren. This is what I call the natural selection of the wise. This is how nature works. It sounds cruel, but that’s nature’s way. The people who are not going to feed real food to their children, their children most likely will not have grandchildren or certainly, great-grandchildren.
I wanted to ask you a side question here. What is the difference between raw butter and butter that you might get off the grocery store shelf?
Raw butter is certainly better. There is something called the Wulzen factor in butter, which is an anti-arthritis compound that helps you prevent arthritis. That’s destroyed by pasteurization. Vitamins are probably not as easy to absorb after pasteurization. I still say all butter is good. Even if it’s the store butter, it’s better than the alternatives. In the stores, you can get Irish butter and pasture butter. Some stores carry New Zealand butter. If it’s always on the very top shelf, that means that’s the least profit margin. The things that eye-level are the highest profit margin. That’s where all the spreads are.
They want you to get the stuff that’s within eyesight or eye level. For raw butter, you said there are a couple of sources maybe you can get at the store, at least the Irish and the New Zealand butter. You can also get it from your local farm probably.
Use our shopping guide. There are some sources of raw butter that we can have sent to you. It’s out there. In some states like California, you can get raw butte. There are about fifteen states where you can get raw butter.
I’ve seen cultured butter. What’s the difference between that and raw? Is it the same thing?
No. Cultured butter is butter where you’ve added culture to the cream and the cream gets a little sour and the butter has a beautiful taste. This is what French butter and European butter are like, but it is not necessarily raw.
I didn’t know that.
The ideal would be cultured raw butter from grass-fed cows.
Is that in the shopping guide?
Grazing in salty marshes.
Short of that, all butter is better than the alternatives.
All butter is better than the alternatives.
Don’t be afraid of it. You don’t have to eat perfectly every day, but you want to eat butter every day.
That is wonderful. I want to pose to you the question I often pose at the end. If the audience could do one thing to improve their health, and it may be related to butter, what would you recommend they do?
Eat butter, no spreads and no margarine. Don’t be afraid of it. Don’t feel guilty. Butter was made for you by God to nourish you and to nourish your children. Don’t turn your back on it. That would be very impolite.
Thank you so much for this conversation, Sally.
Our guest was Sally Fallon Morell. Check out her blog at NourishingTraditions.com. You can find me at HolisticHilda.com. For a little tip, you can get your hands on the Why Butter is Better brochure. It includes a lot of the information we shared in this episode. The Weston A. Price Foundation sells this brochure for only $0.25. It’s cheaper than a newspaper and likely more useful. You can buy in bulk and get copies for only $0.15 to share with friends and family. Go to our order materials page on the website, WestonAPrice.org. Thank you so much for tuning in. Stay well. Hasta Pronto.
- Weston A. Price Foundation
- Nourishing Traditions
- Nourishing Broth
- Nourishing Diets
- 11 Dietary Principles
- Shopping Guide
- Why Butter is Better
About Sally Fallon Morell
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