The Butter Debate – Good or Evil


Recently, I spoke to a client of mine who was concern about using butter in her cooking since she has no problems with her heart and cholesterol.  There is so much controversy and debate about butter that so many people do not know what to believe.  Is it ok to use or should I use another substitution? The first thing is to know what butter is.  It is the fatty portion of milk, separating as a soft whitish or yellowish solid when milk or cream is agitated or churned. (1).   The problem with butter is the saturated fat content.  Saturated fat raises cholesterol and increase cholesterol translates into higher rates of heart disease or greater rates of mortality.  These findings are usually shown when there is an excessive amount of all foods that are high is saturated fat or possibly due to genetic family disposition. But even though these have been major complaints about butter, there are alots of benefits about pure butter.  Butter is a rich source of easily absorbed vitamin A, needed for a wide range of function.  Butter also contains all the other fat-soluble vitamins (D, E and K), which are often lacking in the traditional American diet.  Butter is rich in important trace minerals, including manganese, chromium, zinc, copper iodine and selenium (a powerful antioxidant).  Butter also provides the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acid.  Since butter has so many benefits why health professionals are recommending their clients to use Margarines, Shortenings and Spreads?  It could be that a lot of research is being done about the causes of heart disease and the excess intake of saturated fats not the moderation amount intake of fats.  Are there problems with these butter substitutes?  The problems with these butter substitutes are high contents of free radicals which contribute to numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease.  The use of artificial flavors, emulsifiers, synthetic vitamins and preservatives cause the product to become a fake plastic butter substitute product.  Now that we have discussed about the benefits of butter, how can you choose the best kind of butter from those that fake and harmful.

The best butters are raw butter or pasteurized butter from grass-fed cows’ not grain-fed cows.  Food that comes from grass-fed animals also contains CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) which is a particularly healthy fat that has demonstrated anticancer properties.  If you have not been able to find these types of butter then use regular pasteurized butter from supermarkets which is still a much healthier choice than margarine, shortenings or spreads.

Now you know the good vs. bad of butter you will need to remember the portion size about of butter is 1 tsp which equals to 4 gms fat serving.  Be careful of not over doing your portion sizes and beware of the amount of butter you are using in your cooking.  Start a healthy eating plan and use a food journal to record all of your intake and eating habits.  This butter debate will continue but you can make the final decision on how you can make changes with your health for the better!

1)       (1)

        (2) – Weston A. Price Foundation

              (3)   The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth – Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.


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