It’s a great survival story – and it should be used to promote the great health story behind butter

The marketing folk at Fonterra should be hellbent on tracking down a fellow by name of Pemba Lama.

The lad was mentioned today in this BBC report:

A 15-year-old boy who was rescued from the rubble of Nepal’s earthquake, has said he survived because he found two containers of butter nearby.

Pemba Lama was pulled free after rescue workers from Nepal and the US worked for hours to release him from the rubble of a collapsed building in Kathmandu.

Butter has been apt to get a bad press over the past several years.

Mrs Grumble found this item on the The Great Butter Debate:

For the past 50 years or so, butter has been blackballed by the many consumers who believe it causes heart disease or worse, because it contains high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol.
lab report for cholesterol with pencil

Margarine was introduced – and accepted – as a healthier alternative with less saturated fat and cholesterol.
Turns out, these wanna-be butters were packed with trans fats (eek!) which we think are actually worse for your health than saturated fats. In fact, as butter consumption ebbed, heart disease boomed!

Fast forward to present day: The dairy cases are jam-packed with “healthy spreads” touting zero trans fats and other smooth-as-buttah claims.

Unfortunately, many of these butter alternatives are packed with additives and preservatives.

But the source of this was Dairy Foods which suggests it might lean somewhat in favour of butter.

What about the Mayo Clinic?

They say this:

Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol. Margarine is also higher in “good” fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated — than butter is. These types of fats help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol when substituted for saturated fat.

Butter, on the other hand, is made from animal fat, so it contains cholesterol and high levels of saturated fat.

Nevertheless, it points out that not all margarines are created equal.

Some margarines contain trans fat. In general, the more solid the margarine, the more trans fat it contains. So stick margarines usually have more trans fat than tub margarines do. Trans fat, like saturated fat, increases blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. In addition, trans fat lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol levels. So skip the stick and opt for soft or liquid margarine instead.

Look for a spread with the lowest calories that tastes good to you, doesn’t have trans fats and has the least amount of saturated fat. When comparing spreads, be sure to read the Nutrition Facts panel and check the grams of saturated fat and trans fat. Also, look for products with a low percent Daily Value for cholesterol.

If you have high cholesterol, check with your doctor about using spreads that are fortified with plant stanols and sterols, such as Benecol and Promise Activ, which may help reduce cholesterol levels.

But then there is this:

Recently, butter has been making a comeback as a “health food.”

Here are 7 reasons why butter is good for you.

You could check out the seven reasons for yourself.

For now, Alf is keen to do better than seven and draw your attention to an article that gives even more reasons for slapping butter on to your bread and toast.

It is titled:


Revisiting how butter became a villain, it says:

At the turn of our century, heart disease in America was rare. By 1960, it was our number one killer. Yet during the same time period, butter consumption had decreased – from eighteen pounds per person per year, to four.4

A researcher named Ancel Keys was the first to propose that saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet were to blame for coronary heart disease (CAD).

Numerous subsequent studies costing hundreds of millions of dollars, have failed to conclusively back up this claim.5

Yet the notion that a healthy diet is one with minimal fat, particularly saturated fat, has persisted. While Americans drastically reduced their intake of natural animal fats like butter and meat, the processed food industry, particularly the low-fat food industry, proliferated.

When the baby boomers were children, concerned mothers began to replace butter with margarine. The margarine manufacturers told them it was the healthier alternative and mothers believed them. In those days no one asked, “where is the science to prove it? I want to know before I give this man-made, plastized stuff to my children. After all we humans have been eating butter for thousands of years?”.

As a result, since the early 1970’s, Americans’ average saturated fat intake has dropped considerably, while rates of obesity, diabetes, and consequently, heart disease, have surged.

Reducing healthy sources of dietary fat has contributed to a serious decline in our well-being, and those of us that speak out against the anti-fat establishment are still largely ignored .

This article says the notion that margarine is better than butter is a tragic myth.

Butter is a completely natural food essential to your health – especially when you eat organic. Also, please make the extra effort to obtain high-quality organic, raw butter.

Margarines, on the other hand, are a processed food, created chemically from refined polyunsaturated oils. The process used to make these normally liquid oils into spread-able form is called hydrogenation.

Margarine and similar hydrogenated or processed polyunsaturated oils are potentially more detrimental to your health than any saturated fat.7For more information on why you should avoid all processed oils read Why the Processing of Consumable Oils Has Devastated America’s Health.

And eventually you will get to the long list of benefits from including butter in your diet:

* Butter is rich in the most easily absorbable form of Vitamin A necessary for thyroid and adrenal health.

* Contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida.

* Contains lecithin, essential for cholesterol metabolism.

* Contains anti-oxidants that protect against free radical damage.

* Has anti-oxidants that protect against weakening arteries.

*Is a great source of Vitamins E and K.

* Is a very rich source of the vital mineral selenium.

* Saturated fats in butter have strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.

* Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster

* Vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium.

* Protects against tooth decay.

* Is your only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints.

* Anti-stiffness factor in butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.

* Is a source of Activator X, which helps your body absorb minerals.

* Is a source of iodine in highly absorbable form.

* May promote fertility in women.

* Is a source of quick energy, and is not stored in our bodies adipose tissue.

* Cholesterol found in butterfat is essential to children’s brain and nervous system development.

* Contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.

* Protects against gastrointestinal infections in the very young or the elderly.

Dunno about wanting to promote Mrs Grumble’s fertility.

But further sharpening Alf’s already sharpish brain function is no bad thing.

And now, of course, comes the news from Nepal about butter being a life-saver.

Here’s a CBC News account:

Teenager Pemba Tamang was pulled from earthquake rubble in the capital Kathmandu on Thursday after being trapped for five days.

Crowds cheered as he was carried away on a stretcher, dazed and dusty. He had been trapped under the collapsed debris of a seven-storey building.

Nepalese rescuers, supported by an American disaster response team, had been working for hours to free him. L.B. Basnet, the police officer who crawled into a gap to reach Tamang, said he was surprisingly responsive.

“He thanked me when I first approached him,” said Basnet. “He told me his name, his address, and I gave him some water. I assured him we were near to him.”

Tamang, 18, later told The Associated Press he was working in a hotel in the building when it began to shake.

“Suddenly the building fell down,” he said. “I thought I was about to die.”

All he had to eat while he was trapped was some ghee, or clarified butter, he said.

It’s a great survival story.

Fonterra should put it to good use.

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