Butter and health: should you eat more
  • Sep 24, 2016

In areas and communities where butter is a staple in culinary tradition, impact of butter on health is a frequently debated topic.  In view of relationship between consumption of saturated fatty acids and cardiovascular (CV) health, the traditional recommendation has been to limit saturated fatty acid intake and to replace it with unsaturated fatty acids / edible oils. Because butter is one of the foods highest in saturated fat, the advice often given has been to limit butter consumption.

Is Butter Harmful
Does eating butter increase the risk of developing cardio-vascular (CV) disease? No study formally answers this question. Analysis of nine studies carried out in 15 countries, came to u/m conclusions:-

  • That eating butter is not associated with an increase in CV risk.
  • There is no dose/effect relationship.
  • Consuming butter is associated with a lower risk for diabetes; and
  • Consuming butter is associated with a discrete but significant increase in overall mortality.
Butter and Cholestrol Level
Butter has the highest saturated fatty acid content: 10 g of butter contains 5 g of saturated fat. By comparison, 10 g of olive oil contains 1.5 g of saturated fat.
Butter increases the blood low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level, even when consumed in moderate amounts. In study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, there are potential benefits in incidence of CV diseases by replacing saturated with unsaturated fats, especially when the latter are provided by vegetable oils
Butter consumption is promoted because of its high vitamin A content. One would have to eat 100 g of butter daily to get the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A. The best way to achieve the recommended vitamin allowance is, therefore, to eat fruits and vegetables containing vitamin A precursors.
In short, when talking about butter, we need to have a balanced discussion that is in line with current knowledge:
·         Butter is not necessary for maintaining good health. It is not a "health food" per se.
·         Butter is one of the foods with the highest saturated fat content, and consuming it on a regular basis promotes an increase in blood cholesterol levels.
·         Butter is not a poison. There is, therefore, no justification for stigmatizing butter. It should be considered a pleasure food for those who are fond of it, provided that it is consumed in moderate amounts and not consumed in addition to other foods that are high in saturated fatty acids.

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