“Butter, my love” Joy, Sorrow and Rehabilitation: Not simply Cholesterol and Saturated Fatty Acids

  • G. Caramia | caramiagm@libero.it Primario Emerito di Pediatria e Neonatologia Azienda Specializzata Materno Infantile “G. Salesi”, Ancona, Italy.


The author refers to his “love” for butter and joy to eat and enjoy, during his childhood, bread, butter and jam at a time in which butter was still made with milk from cows that grazed and/or ate the hay. Subsequently the great bitterness occurred, due to the fact that many distinguished researchers have attributed to the the saturated fatty acids (SFA) and cholesterol, abundant in butter, the origin of atherosclerotic cardio vascular diseases (CVD) epidemic exploded in North America from the years 1920-1930. This happened in spite of the fact that various data did not overlap, and also that the most famous of cardiologists, worldwide known at the time, had written and pointed out that, if such a condition were caused by saturated fat animals, a corresponding increase in their consumption in the diet would be recorded, while it had actually dropped 20 percent. The prestige of some, alongside the desire to win their case, associated to the modest epidemiological skills of the time, have led them to fall into the error of “cherry picking”, i.e. to choose only those data in support of their theory while ignoring others that contradicted that, for decades, the SFA were banned by encouraging the consumption of margarine and vegetable oils. Only in recent times it has emerged from indisputable surveys, that in the diet, if an excess of SFA is harmful, even an excess of simple carbohydrates or protein or polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-6 are responsible for atherosclerotic CVD. The problem is not to eliminate from the SFA diet, as they look toxic while actually in some situations are indispensable, but to reach a correct balance of all the different nutrients in the diet, and not only of the SFA, plus physical activity. Butter, then, also in the light of new and important acquisitions, was rehabilitated. This brings to mind a claim issued by Hippocrates (460-377 BC), the pioneer of Western medicine, about 2400 years ago: “If you were to give each the right amount of nourishment and exercise, we found the road to health”.



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Cholesterol, saturated fatty acids, coronary heart disease, membrane viscosity, serotonin, depression, artificial neural network, sirtuin 1 and sirtuin 3
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How to Cite
Caramia, G. (2014). “Butter, my love” Joy, Sorrow and Rehabilitation: Not simply Cholesterol and Saturated Fatty Acids. La Pediatria Medica E Chirurgica, 36(2). https://doi.org/10.4081/pmc.2014.12