Is Butter Bad for You? The Real Benefits of Real Butter
by Elizabeth Renter
Natural Society, 4 December 2012
Is butter bad for you? Sweet, salty butter has become a decadent treat for many people, something that some have shunned for years for fear of the vilified “saturated fat”. But now that the hype of margarine has been sufficiently shattered, we can take a more honest look at butter. A look that isn’t colored by the companies making margarine, one that might reveal butter to actually be beneficial to our health. At least when it’s in the right form.
For decades, people ate butter with nearly every meal, smeared on bread with fresh (homemade) jam or slathered over (non-GMO) corn. But in the 1920s when margarine made its debut, things changed for the creamy topper. We were quite literally sold on the benefits of this man-made chemical storm competitor, and only later would we figure out that it contained something called trans fats—far more dangerous than the saturated fats it chased us away from.
From margarine, we moved to healthier fats like those in olive oil and coconut oil. These are great sources of good fat, and no one would argue otherwise. However, we are still missing that bread-topping creamy goodness of real butter. And why? Though we were fed information that butter caused heart disease, is it any coincidence that the rate of heart disease has skyrocketed since we abandoned butter for margarine? Since we were scared away from saturated fats, the number of Americans battling preventable diet-related diseases has grown. Perhaps the alternatives we’ve sought out (margarine and other highly processed foods) are actually worse for us.
Is Butter Bad for You? Examining the Benefits
Butter is not bad for you. There are several little-known benefits of real butter, including:
It is one of the most easily absorbable sources of Vitamin A
It’s rich in important trace minerals, including chromium, manganese, copper, zinc, and selenium (a powerful antioxidant).
It contains cancer-preventing conjugated linoleic acids (CLA)
It is a good source of Vitamin K2, for teeth and bone health
Butter contains iodine, good for a healthy thyroid
Rich in vitamins A and E
The saturated fats within have anti-tumor properties
Butter does not lead to weight gain as it is burned quickly for energy rather than stored
And perhaps most surprising, butter is a good source of dietary cholesterol, and unlike you’ve been told, this cholesterol can help protect the body from damage by free radicals found in things like vegetable oils and trans fats. So, not only does it have its own redeeming qualities—it can combat the negative qualities of the poison we tried replacing it with.
The Most Beneficial Butter
When buying butter, look for:
First Choice: Butter made from the raw milk from grass fed, healthy cows (no antibiotics or growth hormones).
Second Choice: Second to that is butter made from pasteurized milk instead of raw.
Third Choice: Lastly (but still better than margarine) is conventionally made butter.
So, is butter bad for you? Now you know.
Disclaimer: This isn’t for vegans. If you are vegan and committed to eating no animal products (more power to you!), this article won’t likely convince you to turn to butter. This is, however, for those people who eat some or all dairy products and may be unclear on the risks/benefits of real butter.