Butter as a litmus test for civilization

A brief comment and nutrition advice

When I was still a child, they started rolling a propaganda that “margarine is healthier than butter”. It was obviously bankrolled by margarine producers. To me, even back then, it never made any sense that an artificial concoction with bland taste and bad smell could somehow be healthier than natural and delicious butter. My family, however, switched temporarily to margarine, also because it was cheaper and we were not rich. I never liked it, though, and since I became an adult, I’ve only bought butter. (I’m still not rich, but priorities are priorities.)

The point is that I’ve learned from early on that a lot of nutrition and health advice coming from the media or government or “experts” is bullshit, intended to sell you bad stuff, when not to harm you. Then, usually, after 30 years or so, someone comes up and says, “yeah, we were wrong, this is not really healthy.” But, by then, it is too late.

Aspartame, for instance, 40 years after the FDA approved it, is now being associated with severe health risks. And not just that, several other artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, have also been outed as damaging. Sugar (in excess) may be bad for you, but all artificial sweeteners are worse.

A good rule of thumb is the taste. If it doesn’t taste as good as the natural version, it’s usually not healthy. Except for liver. Liver is supposedly natural and good for you, but I never liked its bitter taste.

However, there are things that taste good — or are at least addictive — such as chips, instant noodle soup, burgers, etc, but which are not good for you. Mostly, not because of the food itself, but because of the additives and chemicals inserted into it.

As a society, it seems that we evolved or devolved into childish habits. A child likes sweets and fast food, basically. And that is true of most adults now, too. Traditional cuisine is left for a few in the middle and upper classes. Most working-class people eat trash food, and that’s the main reason why they are so fat.

But I’m thinking now that lying about butter marked the end of civilization as we know it. Because it showed that we were living in a society basically based on lies, lies promoted as truth. From “margarine is better than butter” to “you can choose your sex” to “diversity is our strength” is one small step. Once you accept one lie, you can easily accept all others.

In fact, the “transgender” and “diversity” stuff is perhaps easier to swallow, being abstract concepts with difficult proof. But saying that “margarine is healthier than butter” was a complete fabrication, an inversion of the truth that is very easy to disprove. After all, we have consumed butter for thousands of years, but margarine made with processed oils is a very recent invention which was only possible with industrialization.

Modern technology, who can deny it, brought a lot of comfort and facilitated people’s lives in many ways. But one area in which it arguably was counter-productive was in food production. Industrialization made it possible to produce much more food, it is true, so hunger is not a big issue today even in poor countries — in fact, obesity among the poor is the big problem now. But, on the other hand, industrialization also made food worse and less natural. From cows fed with hormones to chemical additives to HCFS to genetically modified seeds, 20th and 21st century food production became increasingly artificial and unhealthier. So much so that for eating “organic food” (the only type of food available to our ancestors) you have to pay a premium.

But don’t expect a return to more natural ways. Things are, if anything, getting worse. Now besides the usual processed food they are offering us “lab-grown meat”, “edible vaccines” and “bugs on the menu”. Margarine is going to be the least of your worries. You will eat the genetically-modified bugs, and you will be happy.