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Ask Annette

Dear Annette:
The new USDA guidelines say cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern. Can we eat butter now?

Annetteā€™s reply:
You are correct. The new guidelines identify that cholesterol we eat is not causing our blood cholesterol to rise. It is more likely that the high amounts of sugar and processed foods that we are eating are causing the problem. When we measure our cholesterol we look at our HDL; our good cholesterol. We need good cholesterol for our brains and new cells. We know eating omega 3 fats like olive oil, fish, nuts, and seeds cause our good HDL to improve.

It was also thought that eating saturated fats, like butter, raised the bad or LDL Cholesterol. There were just not enough good studies done and guidelines were based on one study by Dr. Ancel Keys in 1957. Studies now show saturated fats like butter and beef do not raise our Cholesterol level. This is particularly true if the cattle were grass fed.

We also now know that not all LDL is the same. A person can have higher LDL but if the size of the LDL particles are big and fluffy, there is little concern. If the LDL particles are very small there is a big concern. So actually a person could look at their cholesterol numbers and have lower LDL But if they have small particle LDL there is a concern.

Here is the bottom line. If you have a diet rich with lots of vegetable nutrients and fiber and you add good sources of fat, like butter and beef, from grass fed cows it seems to be a healthy thing to do according to researchers like DR. Mark Hyman. It does not increase the risk for heart attack.

All fats when eaten with high levels of sugar, processed vegetable oils such as those used in frying, simple carbohydrates like baked goods, and pastries will not be good for the body and cause heart attacks. So it is the sugar and processed foods we are eating that is the culprit.

Clean sources of good omega 3 fats, and properly raised animal fats with a diet high in vegetables is a healthy diet. So eat butter from grass fed cows and so reduce sugar and carbohydrates.