Is Your Hard Canadian Butter Really That Big of a Deal?

The late Dr. Mary Enig, renowned for her expertise on fats, nailed it when she called her book, Know Your Fats!  It’s not an easy read but if you can understand the chemistry of fatty acids – those molecules that make up fats – you will understand why this issue around Canadians thinking their hard butter is a health concern is no big deal. (Canadians have noticed that their butter is firmer than normal; not softening at room temperature and becoming increasingly hard to spread. This article suggests that the palm oil the farmers are using to supplement the dairy cow’s diet is to blame.)

Here’s the scoop. Palm Oil is one of the 6 traditional fats.  The other 5 are coconut oil, butter, beef tallow, lard, and olive oil. Keep in mind that palm oil has sustained the Malaysian populations longer than butter has sustained the Northern populations.

Palm oil is mostly Palmitic Acid (remember, it is fatty acids that make up fat). Palmitic acid is the main fatty acid made by humans and animals. Palmitic acid provides the saturated fat necessary for the brain to protect itself against invaders like viruses and toxins.  It also makes the surfactant for the lungs so that they don’t collapse.  Saturated fat is denser than both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat and is used by the body for areas that need protecting.

Palm oil, made from palm fruit, is 45% palmitic acid.  It also contains another major fatty acid called Oleic Acid, a monounsaturated fat that is the main fatty acid in Olive Oil. Palm Oil is 39% Oleic acid.

Can you see where our ancestors got the names for the fatty acids –

Palmitic Acid from Palm Oil and Oleic Acid from Olive Oil?

So, why would we be concerned if the dairy cows are getting palm oil supplements to boost their health and consequently, their ability to produce a better quality milk? We have been complaining about the corn and soy used to fatten our cattle for years; oils that are polyunsaturated, Omega 6, linoleic fatty acids and highly inflammatory!

Who’s to say that the palm oil that is benefitting the cows is even getting into their milk that produces our butter!

And sadly, even though this hot news item is really only hearsay, we’re hoping it’s true. Palm oil, as the Europeans and the late Dr. Enig, would tell you, has far superior functional properties as a baking oil than any fat out there! And if it’s healthy for the cow, it might be healthy for us too.

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