Do you love having butter in your breakfast? Are you worried if having butter regularly is a good idea or not? Well, you are not alone. This has been a concern for a long time with various pros and cons of having butter being discussed at every step. While some say butter is back, some positive and negative things still revolve around it. So, how good is butter for your health? Let us look deep into this.
How Good Is Butter For Your Health?
Butter is a milk product and a type of fat. It is mostly made from cow or buffalo milk but can also be from other sources of milk like sheep, goats, and yaks. Some studies have found links between dairy products like butter and lesser chances of diabetes and other diseases.1 However, as butter is high in calories and fats it may offer health benefits but at the same time, there may be some potential risks as well.
To understand how good is butter for your health, you need to know the nutritional value of butter.
Rich in Vitamins- Being a rich source of fat, butter mainly contains fat-soluble vitamins. Butter is a great source of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, and E.
As these important vitamins are present in butter, you can appropriate nutrition by consuming butter. This is one of the important ways in which butter is good for your health. While these vitamins are also present in egg yolk, fatty fish, and plant sources like whole grains, nuts, and seeds, you can choose to have the foods that best suit your health.
For Healthy Vision – Vitamin A is essential for healthy vision and to maintain healthy skin and mucous membranes.2 Butter contains vitamin A and beta carotene which can help slow the process of vision problems that occur with aging. It can thus reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.1 It is important to know this when considering how good butter is for your health.
For Healthy Bones – Vitamin D, which is present in butter, promotes better absorption of minerals like calcium, and phosphorus and helps bone mineralization. Consumption of butter gives you enough vitamin D and calcium thus ensuring healthy and strong bones. Maintaining bone strength is essential for all ages, particularly for the elderly. Proper absorption of calcium can help improve bone mineralization. It can thus prevent fragile bones or osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures.1
For Healthy Skin – Butter contains vitamin E which is known to improve skin health. It can reduce skin inflammation and damage to the skin, and improves skin healing. Vitamin E, present in butter is an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress.2 This protects cells from damage and helps improve healing.
Rich in Calcium – As butter is a milk product, it is rich in vitamins and minerals present in milk and calcium is one of the most important ones. Having butter can offer you a good dose of calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong and healthy. It may be more beneficial for children during their growth years as they can also play enough and burn down the excess calories.
Good For A Low-Carb Diet – Butter contains fat, offers satiety when included in your meals, and also contains various nutrients. Considering how good butter is for your health, it can be a great alternative to include in your low-carb diet.
However, this should be planned to keep in view your diet requirements and overall health. There are varying thoughts and findings about the role of butter in obesity, as it may lower the risk or increases the risk of weight gain, leading to obesity in some people.
Effects of Butter – What Do Studies Say?
With all the potential benefits of butter, there are a few things to remember. How good butter is for your health also depend on your health risks? Butter is a type of saturated fat and such type of fats have been studied for years to find their association with heart diseases.
Several studies have been conducted to find the effects of butter and to determine how good butter is for your health. While there are various outcomes, some studies have found interesting results.
Fat is an element of the diet, an essential nutrient that provides energy, and palatability, and also serves as a cooking medium. However, some foods may have a low quality of fat while others may have a more desirable fat quality.3
A 2009 study reported on the fat quality in foods for a healthy diet. After studying the data on the nutritional value of various types of fats, the report concluded that switching from low-fat quality products like butter or palm oil to high-fat quality products like soft margarine can show significant improvement in the nutritional quality of the diet. This step may be beneficial considering the healthy growth and development of children and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.3
A 2015 study found that a moderate intake of butter caused an increase in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) as compared to the intake of olive oil and a habitual diet. However, moderate intake of butter also resulted in a rise in high density lipoprotein (HDL) as compared to a habitual diet. The study concluded that people with high cholesterol levels can keep butter consumption to the minimum but people with normal cholesterol levels can have moderate butter consumption.4
In 2015 a study was conducted to study the effect of the consumption of a butter-rich diet (SAT – saturated fat) and its replacement with extra virgin olive oil (MONO – monounsaturated fat) on metabolic and lipid profiles in postmenopausal women. The study concluded that a butter-rich diet increased their cardiovascular risk while the olive oil diet decreased their risk of developing metabolic syndrome and heart disease.5
A 2016 study reported that butter consumption was weakly associated with all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. It did not support the need to change any dietary guidelines regarding increasing or decreasing butter consumption but suggested considering other healthier options. The study suggested the need to conduct further research on the health and metabolic effects of butter and dairy fat.6
The American Heart Association recommends a diet that can include 5% to 6% calories from saturated fat, which includes butter and many other foods like cheese, lard, ice cream, poultry with skin, beef, lamb, pork, coconut, and palm oil.7 So, you can plan a diet that includes these foods within the recommended levels and plan your consumption of butter appropriately.
Now it is clear how good butter is for your heart and also the potential risks that being saturated fat is linked with heart disease. So, if you wish to cut back on your calories or you have an increased risk of heart disease you can consume butter sparingly.
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