Animal fats in particular, including milk fat, were criticised for their high content of saturated fatty acids – and this had an impact on dairy products. Consumers were advised to replace butter with vegetable margarine and to choose low-fat products.
However, fat influences the specific properties of a product and is therefore often replaced by sugar. Some low-fat products even need to be greatly modified to match their natural counterparts. The most famous of these is margarine, a purely manufactured product. Margarine is therefore not automatically healthier than butter.
Milk fat – a component of the food pyramid around the world
New studies clearly show that saturated fatty acids do not lead to heart attacks per se and
that low-fat products are often the worse choice. In addition to saturated fatty acids, milk and
milk products also contain small amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. A further advantage are its natural ingredients such as proteins, valuable vitamins and calcium.
A cross-comparison covering all continents and 14 different countries shows that the consumption of milk and dairy products plays an important role; whether in Benin, China or the Dominican Republic, it is always included in the food pyramid.
In the meantime, recent studies have reversed the reputation of milk fats. A healthy, varied diet may also include whole milk, normal-fat dairy products and butter.