Butter has gotten a bad name over the years due to its high concentration of saturated fats, but is it really so bad for our heath? In the last few years, research findings are trending to show that not all saturated fats are the same, and fats from dairy products might actually be healthy, as in the case of eggs.
To help clarify the question, researchers from several universities in the USA and Australia collected the data from 9 previous research studies on the topic to come to a conclusion. They published their findings in the 29 June 2016 science journal PlosONE.
What they wanted to find out was: did people who eat more butter die earlier, or have more cardiovascular disease, or more diabetes? From a total of 636,151 participants in the 9 studies, the results showed that for each tablespoon of butter a person ate per day, their risk of developing diabetes was 4% lower, compared with people who don’t eat it.
As far as causing earlier death, the results were that people who ate significant amounts of this dairy product had only a 1% increased risk (very small). Regarding cardiovascular disease, there was no increased risk.
To summarize, butter consumption seems not to contribute to early death or heart disease, and people who eat it enjoy a slightly lower risk of diabetes. This follows the recent pattern of research results, showing that full-fat dairy consumption appears to lower the risk of diabetes. The reason may be that butter, while containing a significant saturated fat content, is also rich in healthy mono-saturated fats.
It is interesting that historically, butter was considered, in past millennia, almost a sacred food, full of nutritioun. Indeed, it is full of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. The most important in this food is beta-carotene, a compound important in Vitamin A metabolism.
Study author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science at Tufts University in Boston, says that butter should be considered a neutral food, basically neither bad nor great.
The recommendation is to not eat a lot of this particular dairy, but moderate consumption seems to be fine.
Butter in comparison and with what?
Butter is healthier than foods such as white bread or sugars, but other oils are healthier, such as olive oil, or, for cooking, canola oil. The other thing to consider is: what are you putting your butter on? If it’s white bread, that’s not a great combination, but with high-fiber whole wheat bread, it’s OK, in moderation.
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