A lot better with a little butter

Forget everything you know because butter is back in a big way. We take a look at some of the nasty rumours surrounding this so-called “evil” ingredient and why maybe the French had it right all along.

In the past few decades, butter has been blamed for everything from obesity to heart disease. Here are six reasons why butter is good for you.

1. Butter is rich in fat-soluble vitamins.

Butter contains heaps of vitamins. Grass-fed butter is particularly rich in Vitamin K2 which can have powerful health benefits, it is linked to how well our body absorbs calcium. Calcium is important for bone health and in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis.1- 3 Dairy from grass-fed cows is particularly rich in Vitamin K2.4

2. Butter contains saturated fats, and it’s not a bad thing.

New studies show that there is no association between saturated fat and heart disease.5-6Saturated fats raise the ‘good cholesterol’ in our blood, also known as HDL. It can also help change the LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’ to a larger type which are non-threatening to our health.7-8 Butter contains a decent amount of short and medium-chain fats, these types of fats are broken down differently than other fats. They keep you feeling fuller and more satisfied, plus they can help you burn fat better.9-10

3. Butter lowers heart attack risk compared to margarine.

In terms of the effects of butter and margarine on heart disease; margarine has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, while butter had no effect. 11 High-fat dairy consumption has also been indicated to reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 69%, most likely due to increased Vitamin K2 intake.12

4. Butter is a good source of butyrate.

Butyrate is a fatty acid that is important for digestion. It is created by bacteria in the colon when we eat fiber, which may be why fiber is so darn good for us. Butyrate is also anti-inflammatory and has powerful protective effects on our digestive system.13-16

5. Butter is rich in CLA.

Butter, especially grass-fed, is a great source of a fatty acid called Conjugated Linoleic Acid (let’s lose the mouthful and go with CLA). All you need to know is that CLA has powerful effects on metabolism and is actually sold as a weight loss supplement. CLA has been shown to have anti-cancer properties as well as lowering body fat percentage in humans.17-18

6. Butter is associated with a lower risk of obesity.

You might have thought in the past, that low-fat dairy products are the healthy choice.Despite the higher calorie content of butter, eating high-fat dairy products is not associated with obesity. In fact, a review paper came out in 2012 that discovered high-fat dairy is associated with reduced risk of obesity, and doesn’t increase the risk of metabolic disease.19 Metabolic disease is basically the symptoms that lead to heart disease, diabetes type two etc.

Who knew? Butter, delicious creamy grass-fed butter, will keep you healthy and in good shape.

More on fats:

Fats 101 - Forget everything you’ve ever heard about low fat diets.
Four Big Fat Lies - We set the facts straight on some common fat myths.
The Seedy Truth - Why ‘healthy’ seed oils are doing you more harm than good.

Contributing editors: Diana Archer-Mills, Sarah Wakeman BSc. Biology PGDip. Food science, Kris Gunnars.

Heading up our nutrition project is Dr. Jackie Mills (B Phys Ed, MBCh B, Dip Obstetrics), a specialist in nutritional medicine, an obstetrician and general medical practitioner. Jackie completed her post-graduate studies in nutrition at the Australian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) and has practiced nutritional medicine for 25 years. As Les Mills’ Chief Creative Officer, Jackie is responsible for the development of all LES MILLS™ exercise programs.

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