“Butter consumption is at a 50-year high. That’s because fat is back. There’s a lot of reasons for that . . . one of them is that farmers have funded 59 projects since 2002 to show the value of fat,” explained Tom Gallagher during a gathering at the 53rd World Dairy Expo.
When full-fat research projects were first funded nearly two decades ago, many of the top health professional groups thought that re-establishing fat as a vital component for human nutrition was an impossible uphill battle.
“You’re going against science. You’re going against the dietary guidelines,” Gallagher recalled of those conversations with leading health professionals nearly 20 years ago.
“We think they got it wrong,” Gallagher had countered during those conversations. “We think that was a political decision,” he continued.
“It’s turned out that we were right,” said the longtime strategist in looking at the results of 59 National Dairy Council-funded studies.
“To get this turned around, it’s like planting trees in the forest,” he said, looking at the fat situation another way.
Gallagher explained there are more than 100 milkfat studies overall when you factor in those NDC didn’t fund that “fill out that forest.”
Bringing it back to whole milk
As for what the future holds for butter’s full-fat cousin — whole milk — Gallagher gave this perspective.
“Now, we’re not sure if it will be in this go-around with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans . . . but I believe by the next Dietary Guidelines we will get the fat story reversed,” said Gallagher. “That opens up the door to whole milk products and other dairy products in schools, which would be a big plus.