A team of medical researchers have some good news for those who cook with butter but consider it a guilty pleasure: It might actually be good for you. While the findings, published this week in the British Medical Journal, are not conclusive, they are compelling: researchers with the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine (UNC) analyzed a 50-year-old unpublished study out of Minnesota and found reason to believe that cooking with corn oil instead of butter may actually be worse for heart health. It’s an idea that, if one day proven, would upend the conventional nutrition wisdom of the last several decades.
In the last year, a growing number of voices within the nutrition community have been making the case that low-processed fatty foods aren’t as bad for you as once thought. It’s an argument that has shown up in studies from around the world and also in articles challenging national policy decisions based on the idea that fat should be avoided.
In the case of butter versus vegetable oil, the UNC team analyzed unpublished nutritional datagathered between 1968 and 1973 in a controlled study that included more than 9,400 men andwomen in one nursing home and six state mental hospitals in Minnesota.The subjects were broken into two groups. One was given a diet in which liquid corn oil was used in place of usual hospital cooking fats (including butter and hydrogenated oils) duringmeal preparation. The other group received meals cooked with common margarines andshortening. Roughly 57% of the 517 subjects that died during the course of the study underwent post-mortem examinations of their hearts, aortas, and brains. But no analysis of the data had been published until now. . .