Is Butter Bad for You
Butter has gotten a bad wrap in the past, and it’s a sad thing because many people have been led to believe c about the health ramifications of this dairy fat. We think it’s time to clear up some misconceptions.
But before we begin to espouse the benefits of butter, it’s important to distinguish between a high quality and low quality source.
To truly reap the health benefits this rich food has to offer, you must seek out a high quality organic pasture based (grass fed) butter. Even buying organic that is not specifically grass fed will not yield the same nutrients as a grass fed butter. Pastured cows better assimilate the vitamins they get from eating grass, and the Vitamin K from the grass creates a deeper gold color than regular conventional (or even organic) grain fed cows.
The next time you’re in the dairy aisle, pick up a package of grass fed and a package of regular organic (or just standard non-organic) butter, take it home and inspect the color and taste differences. It will be apparent as soon as you open the wrapper!
And now to the misconceptions…
1 – Butter causes heart disease? Grass fed butter is high in Vitamin A, which can actually protect you from heart disease. Vitamin A keeps your thyroid and adrenal glands functioning properly, which help your heart and cardiovascular system stay healthy. Childbearing women with a deficiency in Vitamin A are actually at a risk of birthing babies with heart defects, so Vitamin A rich foods are a good idea for pregnant moms.
Vitamin A has also been found to boost the immune system. Since butter is an easily absorbed source of Vitamin A, it stands to reason that consuming it regularly is actually good for your heart and immune system.
Additionally, butter contains beneficial anti-oxidants that protect against
the kind of free radical damage that can weaken the arteries, including Vitamins A and E and Selenium.
Butter contains lecithin, which assists in the proper
assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat
constituents. And according to the Weston A. Price Foundation,
Butter is also a good dietary source cholesterol. What?? Cholesterol
an anti-oxidant?? Yes indeed, cholesterol is a potent
anti-oxidant that is flooded into the blood when we take in
too many harmful free-radicals–usually from damaged and
rancid fats in margarine and highly processed vegetable oils.3
A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating
butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those
2 – Butter causes weight gain? Wrong! Butter contains short and medium chain fatty acids that are actually used for quick energy, not for storing in the body. The type of fatty acids stored in human tissue that cause weight gain are long chain fatty acids.
And because butter is high in other nutrients, it will cause you to feel fuller than if you eat a lesser quality fat or nonfat food. So take a pass on margarine and “low-fat” snacks. Eat some butter, feel content, get a burst of energy, and exercise! Then perhaps you’ll burn some of those long chain fatty acids and lose weight!
3 – People with overactive thyroids should avoid butter? If you’ve struggled with weight gain due to thyroid problems, chances are you’ve fallen into the low-fat and non-fat foods trap. You likely avoid butter like the plague, thinking it will pound on more pounds. But butter is a great source of iodine, which can help regulate your thyroid, so there’s no reason to pass it up. In actuality, you should eat more and let it feed your body the nutrients your body needs!
As stated in the beginning of this article, Vitamin K found in grass fed butter creates a much higher quality product than conventional butter. According to a study recently published by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), and referenced by Chris Kresser L.AC,
Increased intake of vitamin K2 may reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 35 percent… The findings were based on data from more than 11,000 men taking part in
the EPIC Heidelberg cohort. It adds to a small but fast-growing body of
science supporting the potential health benefits of vitamin K2 for
bone, cardiovascular, skin, brain, and now prostate health.
Cattle grazing on lush green vitamin K-rich grasses such as wheat
grass and alfalfa produced fat with the
highest amounts of Vitamin K2. Additionally, the soil in which the pasture was
grown also influenced the quality of the butter.
So remember the saying, “it’s better with butter”? According to our research, it definitely is! But be choosy and buy organic grass fed/pasture based butter. Then you can enjoy not only a richer tasting meal, but the confidence in knowing you’re doing something good for your body.
Chris Kresser, L.AC. www.chriskresser.com Vitamin K2: The Missing Nutrient May 6, 2008
Fallon, Sally and Enig, Mary G. PhD. Weston A. Price Foundation. www.westonaprice.org Why Butter is Better. January 1, 2000
Amerman, Don. SFGate.com Foods Rich in Vitamin K2.
Ozich, Eleanor. New Zealand Herald. Butter is Better. October 10, 2013