Unless you are knowledgeable about the history of nutrition science, it is likely that you believe that butter is just terrible for you – that it causes heart disease, obesity, and all sorts of other horrible ailments. Maybe you, like many others, believe that conventional advice – advice that is provided in influential publications such as the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans – can be trusted. Well, here’s the truth: Despite what the federal government and nutrition “authorities” have been saying for decades, butter isn’t bad for you.
In fact, it is actually GOOD for you.
A combination of flawed studies, political bias, hidden data, and clever marketing by the food industry led to the demonization of dietary fat and the birth of the low-fat craze – a trend that has lasted for many years. To think that for DECADES people avoided the deliciousness that is butter based on erroneous information is, well, a bit heartbreaking.
(For the in-depth history of the unjust incrimination of butter and saturated fat, please read Pass the Butter, Skip the Sugar: We’ve Been Told Big Fat Lies About Heart Disease.)
Now, lo and behold, a big new study published in the journal PLOS ONE (it analyzed nine papers that included more than 600,000 people) concluded that consuming butter is not linked to a higher risk for heart disease and might be slightly protective against type 2 diabetes. This goes against the longstanding advice to avoid butter because it contains saturated fat.
In four of the nine studies, people who ate butter daily had a 4 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As of now, researchers don’t fully understand why, but it may be due in part to the fact that dairy fat also contains monounsaturated fats that can improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.
In fact, a growing body of research that suggests that saturated fat is better for you than processed carbohydrates like sugar and white bread, which have been linked to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
If you’ve been avoiding butter, here’s what you’ve been missing…
Butter is rich in vitamins: One of the many beneficial vitamins we get from butter is Vitamin A, which is needed to maintain good vision and keeps our endocrine system functioning well. In addition to Vitamin A, butter also contains fat-soluble vitamins D, E, and K2. Vitamins A, D, and K2 are essential for the proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are necessary for strong bones and teeth. Butter is also a good source of Vitamin B-12.
Butter contains valuable minerals: It is rich in manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, iodine, and selenium (which is a powerful antioxidant). Iodine – and Vitamin A – are important for thyroid health.
Butter has beneficial fatty acids: It contains short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which support immune function, boost metabolism, and have antimicrobial properties – they fight against pathogenic microorganisms in the intestinal tract. Butter provides the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Arachidonic acid in butter is important for brain function, skin health, and prostaglandin balance.
Butter is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): When it comes from grass-fed cows, butter contains high levels of CLA, a compound that offers excellent protection against cancer. Bonus: CLA helps your body build muscle rather than store fat.
Butter contains a neat thing called Glycospingolipids: These are a special category of fatty acids that protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the very young and the elderly. They contribute to the mucus layers along the membrane and make it more difficult for bacterial infections to bind to functioning receptors.
Butter is a good source of dietary cholesterol: Despite all the terrible things you’ve heard about cholesterol, it is actually a GOOD thing – it is needed to maintain intestinal health, and is important for brain and nervous system development in children. Cholesterol is used to make hormones like cortisol, testosterone, and estradiol. Without it, you would die.
Butter contains saturated fats: Saturated fats raise HDL (good) cholesterol, which helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Butter contains butyrate: A 4-carbon fatty acid, butyrate has anti-inflammatory properties and offers protection to the digestive system.
Butter provides a very unique beneficial substance: The Wulzen factor, a hormone-like substance that prevents arthritis and joint stiffness, is found only in raw butter and cream (it is destroyed by pasteurization). It ensures that calcium in the body is put into the bones rather than the joints and other tissues, therefore and protects against arthritis, cataracts, and hardening of the arteries.
What you put butter ON is likely more of a problem than the butter itself. Bagels, toast, muffins, and the like are filled with refined carbohydrates, which actually ARE linked to health problems like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high triglycerides.
The BEST butter is raw butter from grass-fed cows, preferably organic.