Butter isn’t good or bad for you, study finds
Low-fat meat, a bagel, cornflakes, margarine and soda are all worse for you than butter, according to a new study.
A study authored by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts in Boston, has declared butter a “neutral” food. It isn’t good for you, but it isn’t bad for you either.
There is no link between consuming butter and an increased risk of heart disease or stroke, the study says. It actually found that butter might slightly prevent Type 2 diabetes.
It is another hit to the message, sounded out since the 1950s, that fat makes us fat and leads to early death.
“Overall, our results suggest that butter should neither be demonised nor considered ‘back’ as a route to good health,” Mozaffarian said in a statement.
The findings “do not support a need for major emphasis in dietary guidelines on either increasing or decreasing butter consumption,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers analysed nine eligible research studies representing 636,151 unique individuals with a total of 6.5 million person-years of follow-up.
“Even though people who eat more butter generally have worse diets and lifestyles, it seemed to be pretty neutral overall,” said Laura Pimpin, one of the paper’s authors.
“This suggests that butter may be a ‘middle-of-the-road’ food: a more healthful choice than sugar or starch, such as the white bread or potato on which butter is commonly spread and which have been linked to higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and a worse choice than many margarines and cooking oils – those rich in healthy fats such as soybean, canola, flaxseed, and extra virgin olive oils – which would likely lower risk compared with either butter or refined grains, starches, and sugars.”
The average butter consumption across the nine studies ranged from one-third of a tablespoon per day to 3.2 tablespoons per day. The study found small or insignificant differences in terms of total mortality, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
In four of the nine studies, people who ate butter daily had a 4 percent lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. But those findings need to be further explored, Mozaffarian cautioned.
“More research is needed to better understand the observed potential lower risk of diabetes, which has also been suggested in some other studies of dairy fat,” Mozaffarian said. “This could be real, or due to other factors linked to eating butter – our study does not prove cause-and-effect.”
Experts still advise eating butter in moderation.
“Recent research seems to be suggesting that butter may not be quite as bad as it was once believed to be, however although it’s fine to use, it’s wise to use it in moderation as opposed to lavishly slathering it over all of your food,” said Melbourne-based dietitian, Melanie McGrice. “I usually encourage people to use avocado in preference to butter where possible as it has a better fat profile and not as much salt.”
McClatchy with The Juice Daily
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