Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Is Butter Healthy For You?

I am an avid supporter of eating butter. I truly believe it is a healthy fat that should be in your diet. For those of you not eating or drinking milk or cheese you can still eat butter for butter does not contain mold, casein or lactose in it which are the main reasons why people cannot digest milk or cheese well. I put butter in the same category as olive oil and coconut oil for healthy cooking and science is slowly catching up now declaring butter 'may not be bad' for you which is a far different story than what science was saying decades ago when it was declaring butter will clog arteries and cause heart attacks.

A systematic review and meta-analysis looking at the association of butter consumption with chronic disease and all-cause mortality made headlines. Senior author Dariush Mozaffarian noted that “overall, our results suggest that butter should neither be demonized nor considered ‘back’ as a route to good health.”


What the study missed unfortunately is there is no specific comparison (i.e. butter vs. olive oil), so the default comparison becomes butter vs. the rest of the diet. That means butter is being compared to a largely unhealthy mix of refined grains, soda, other sources of sugar, potatoes, and red meat (for reference, less than five percent of the US population meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans). Partially hydrogenated oils—a source of trans fat—were also in the mix, as they would have been high in the food supply during much of the time period of the studies included.

Overall, the study reported that butter consumption was weakly associated with increased total mortality, not associated with cardiovascular disease, and slightly protective against diabetes. These predominantly neutral findings for butter were also acknowledged in the press release:

“Even though people who eat more butter generally have worse diets and lifestyles, it seemed to be pretty neutral overall,” said lead author Laura Pimpin. “This suggests that butter may be a “middle-of-the-road” food: a more healthful choice than sugar or starch, such as the white bread or potato on which butter is commonly spread and which have been linked to higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease".

So with this step of declaring butter as neutral maybe in another decade science will actually agree with me. We shall see!