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The French paradox


Several news outlets carried stories yesterday about a Swedish study which found that full-fat dairy products not only may not be harmful to heart health but actually may be beneficial. For example, there was this story in the Guardian: “Research suggests a diet rich in dairy fat may lower the risk of heart disease.”

I’ll try to consider the case still open, because this was only one study (though a good study that went on for 16.6 years). Still, I have never worried a great deal about modest amounts of butter and cheese, partly because those of us with pastoral ancestors have had thousands of years to adapt to, and even thrive on, dairy foods.

Nor do I feel any pressure to give up my practice of using full cream in my coffee. I moved on from mere half and half years ago. The study involved people in Sweden, who, my guess would be, don’t follow the most Mediterranean of all possible diets. My guess would be that dairy fat would be even more forgiveable when blended with a Mediterranean diet with olive oil, rather than butter or lard, as the main dietary fat. And surely we should stick to the rule that no amount of hydrogenated fat is safe, and that newfangled oils such as corn oil should be avoided.


  1. JamesM wrote:

    I only cook with unsalted butter for 50 years now or olive oil depending upon the dish. I buy heavy cream and dilur with water per the recipe. My LDL numbers are among the highest my internist has seen. Moderation is the key. When I lived in Germany 45 years ago on a Fulbright, there was a schnapps factory with the motto : drink it regularly but moderately. A great maxim.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Hi, James: And there you have it… The best organic heavy cream that I have been able to find in this area comes from Trader Joe’s. As I recall, it formerly contained only milk and cream. Now gellan gum is listed. I don’t think I’m worried about that, especially if it extends the cream’s refrigerator life. I go to Trader Joe’s only about every three weeks and thus have to stock up.

    Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 8:44 pm | Permalink
  3. JamesM wrote:

    Trader Joes is awesome. We grilled racks of lamb tonight from TJ that were already Frenched. OMG. I could never be a vegan.

    Friday, September 24, 2021 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

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