Yes, America, we can eat butter

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Thursday on Capitol Hill at a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee, congressional lawmakers from both sides of the aisle called on Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to explain the reasoning behind shifting dietary guidelines. The debate Thursday, and the debate on the government’s dietary advisory committee, seems to center on the science behind the guidelines, and as I’ve been saying all along, fat is not the enemy. And science proves it.

For years I have been talking to America’s top doctors about the importance of healthy dietary fats.

Your body needs saturated fats for proper function. We evolved as hunter-gatherers, eating animal products and fruits for most of our existence on earth. That’s why the low-fat movement makes no sense. We’re designed to eat these foods.

In my book TOX-SICK, I mention that butter has almost the same percentages of polyunsaturated saturated and mono unsaturated fats as breast milk. Clearly nature started us out on a high fat diet. Butter has been demonized but organic butter with no hormones and no antibiotics is a healthy dietary fat. Every cell in the body requires cholesterol. The reason people have been getting sick on low-fat is they are denying their cellular structure—including cells in the brain—one of the most important building blocks.

Fats are protective! They create the vital barrier in our GI tract that prevents toxins from making their way into our bloodstream and up to our brains.

As recently as 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggested we reduce our saturated fat intake to only 10% or less of total calories. But research shows this is the opposite of what people require for health. Fats provide a number of significant benefits: building materials for cell membranes and hormones; help with absorption of minerals like calcium; activity as antiviral agents; carrying important fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K; and modulating genetic regulation and helping prevent cancer.

In 2013, prominent London cardiologist Aseem Malhotra argued in the British Medical Journal that you should ignore advice to reduce your saturated fat intake, because it’s actually increasing your risk for obesity and heart attack. And in March 2014, a new meta-analysis published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, using data from more than a half million people, reported that those who consumed higher amounts of saturated fat have no more heart disease than those who consume less.

Fats are protective! They create the vital barrier in our GI tract that prevents toxins from making their way into our bloodstream and up to our brains.

It’s time to dispel the cholesterol myth. That myth dates back to when President Eisenhower, who was known to love his bacon, eggs, butter and toast, had a heart attack. Of course, the public and politicians were concerned. Ansel Keys has conducted his Seven Countries Study around that time and found that people in countries that consumed the smallest amount of fats had the least cases of heart disease. But Ansel Keys had cherry-picked his data to support that “fact.” That was the beginning of the massive shift to low-fat, margarine instead of butter, and other new fake chemical foods.

Now, we have new science.

In 2012, Norwegian University of Science and technology researchers looked at more than 52,000 adults and found that women with “high cholesterol” (more than 270 mg/dl) had a 28% lower mortality rate than women with “low cholesterol.” Researchers also found that women face a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and cardiac arrest with lower cholesterol levels.

Eating a diet of healthy fats and grass-fed protein gives your body what it needs to perform critical functions. But you do have to focus on the types of fats you consume. In the past, we’ve been told that trans fats, hydrogenated oils, or those found in processed and fast foods were OK. They are not healthy fats! This is the confusion the lawmakers on the Hill today were asking about.

As I keep saying, healthy fats are organic and wild caught, like wild salmon; grass-fed proteins like beef, pork, lamb; and the by-products of these animals: butter, cream, sour cream, full-fat cream cheese, full-fat yogurts. And we need the omega-3 fatty acids from extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil, cold-pressed flaxseed oil, and virgin, organic coconut oil.

Remember that saying, “Eat your greens”? Well, eat your healthy dietary fats! They are protecting you.

Suzanne Somers is the author of 26 books. Her latest is "TOX-SICK: From Toxic to Not Sick" (Harmony, April 14, 2015).