Nancy Dell: Is butter healthy?; Expeller and cold pressed oils

1. I am confused by the Time magazine article on butter and other saturated fats being healthy now. What do you think?
Ed, Internet

In March, the Annals of Internal Medicine published an analysis of 72 studies that showed eating saturated fat found in animal food did not increase the risk of heart disease. As a result people have started eating more butter, cream, and meat, and in June, Time magazine proclaims “Eat Butter”. Some experts disagree and say the analysis of the studies had several major errors and should be retracted.

While the argument continues, here is where things stand right now. Possibly saturated fat may have a neutral effect on heart disease. Dairy fat may have some protective benefit compared to meat fat.

However, the omega-3 fat found in flaxseed, walnuts and fish are more beneficial than other types of fat. And here is what most experts on both sides of the argument agree on; we are healthiest when we eat real food, not processed foods made from refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, crackers, chips and sweets.

Real food is close to the form found in nature including fruits and vegetables, legumes, brown rice, milk, nuts, steaks and chops, not processed hot dogs and sausage.

So if you decide to have some butter, steak, and cream follow the suggested portion and think moderation. This is no ticket to indulge in mega-cheeseburgers and globs of butter.

2. Why are expeller pressed and cold pressed oils better than oils that do not make that claim?
Ella, Wilbraham

Most oils are extracted from the nut, seed, or bean with the chemical hexane. Hexane is toxic to our nervous system but the Centers for Disease Control says the amounts are too small to have an effect.

Expeller pressed oils are made by putting the nuts, seeds, and beans in a centrifuge and spinning it out or putting them in a screw press. This way you avoid the hexane. Some heat is created in this spinning and pressing. The heat may effect the flavor of delicate oils like olive and walnut. So cold pressed oils are the same as expeller pressed but the temperature is controlled to preserve the delicate flavors, the antioxidants, and extend the shelf life.

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