Fats shouldn’t be scary.  I went on Yahoo today, and saw an article about butter and margarine.  Which is healthier?  How do you decide?  If saturated fats and trans fats are both unhealthy, what do you choose?

Let’s go back a bit in history.  Butter has been eaten for centuries.  Saturated fats are found in many foods, including some vegetable fats (basically, saturated fats are solid at room temperature in a cooler climate – here in the UK it’s a hot day when butter melts in the kitchen).  These foods have been an important part of diets around the world for ages.  Are they really so bad?

When did trans-fats appear?  Well, the sort that are causing concern are those man-made ones that occur when we process liquid vegetable oils into hard fats.  These appeared in the early part of the twentieth century when people worked out how to extract oil from seeds and turn it into hard fat (margarines and shortening).  These trans fats are very new in the history of mankind.

More than ten years ago, my friend who worked in the office of our local doctors told me that all the doctors families used butter and olive oil. ‘They don’t use margarines and vegetable oils’ she said.  It has taken me a long time to get round to investigating why. 

You have to make up your mind.  My money is on the foods that people in my part of the world have been eating for centuries – in moderation of course.  In my blog, I explore how to put a healthy, varied diet on the family table on a sensible budget.  And I am particularly interested in fats, which cause such a lot of concern these days.