Is Butter Good For You?

The good news is that butter is healthy – is good for you – and it does not affect heart health. There is also a “bad” butter which is mentioned below.

Dr. Fred A. Kummerow, author of Cholesterol Is Not the Culprit, is now nearly 100 years old. He has spent eight decades immersed in the science of lipids, cholesterol, and heart disease, and he was the first researcher to identify which fats actually clog your arteries.

His work shows that it’s not saturated fat that causes heart disease, rather trans fats are to blame. Dr. Kummerow was the first to publish a scientific article on this association, all the way back in 1957! Needless to say, the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) move to get trans fats out of the American diet is long overdue.

As noted in the June 23, 2014 Time Magazine cover story5 and the Today Health video6 above, refined carbs, sugar, and processed foods are the real enemy—not the saturated fats found in foods such as butter, lard, or eggs.

The very best quality butter is raw (unpasteurized) from grass-pastured cows, preferably certified organic. (One option is to make your own butter from raw milk.) The next best is pasteurized butter from grass-fed or pastured organic cows, followed by regular pasteurized butter common in supermarkets. Even the latter two are healthier choices by orders of magnitude than margarines or spreads. Beware of “Monsanto Butter,” meaning butter that comes from cows fed almost entirely genetically engineered grains. This includes Land O’Lakes and Alta Dena.

Research points to the fact that butter may have both short-term and long-term benefits for your health. One Swedish study found that fat levels in your blood are lower after eating a meal rich in butter than after eating one rich in olive oil, canola oil, or flaxseed oil.

The scientists’ main explanation is that about 20 percent of butterfat consists of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which are used right away for quick energy and therefore don’t contribute to fat levels in your blood. Therefore, a significant portion of the butter you consume is used immediately for energy—similar to a carbohydrate. The other oils (olive oil, canola, flax, etc.) contain only long-chain fatty acids. The primary nutrients found in butter are outlined in the table below. 

Nutrients in Butter
*Vitamin A in the most absorbable form Lauric acid Lecithin (necessary for cholesterol metabolism and nerve health)
Antioxidants *Vitamin E Vitamin K2
Wulzen factor: hormone-like substance known to prevent arthritis and joint stiffness (destroyed by pasteurization) *Fatty acids, especially short- and medium-chain in the perfect omega-3 to omega-6 balance *CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, and immunity booster
Vitamin D Minerals, including selenium, manganese, chromium, zinc, and copper Iodine in a highly absorbable form
Cholesterol Arachidonic Acid (AA): brain function and healthy cell membranes Glycospingolipids: fatty acids that protect against GI infections
*The highest amounts of CLA and omega-3 fats come from cows raised on grass pastures. Their butter is also 50 percent higher in vitamins A and E, and 400 percent higher in beta-carotene, giving grass-fed butter its deeper yellow color.

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