Rich, malleable, melting patties of deliciousness have a way of making pretty much everything else seem like sawdust. No strings attached, which would you choose? Yeah, I thought so.
Well, there’s good news for all you butter-lovers out there (and for those of you who have been abstaining from this golden goodness too!): A new report released last week found no link between butter consumption and heart disease.
While the benefits of eating butter do not outweigh those of eating olive oil, you’re far better off getting your fix from butter than, say, processed sugar (a kitchen staple that studies have shown to be downright toxic). Findings from nine papers covering data from 600,000 participants conclude that eating butter does not increase the risk of heart disease and might, in fact, slightly protect against type 2 diabetes. Since this is what’s called a “meta-study,” a review of many similar, individual studies, and has a huge number of participants, it is considered to be very reliable.
A Time magazine article on the subject indicates that these findings “[go] against longstanding advice to avoid butter because it contains saturated fat.” And, Time points out, along with saturated fat, dairy also contains monounsaturated fat that supports blood sugar and insulin sensitivity—a good bet as to why butter deters type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, is continuing research in this area. He hopes to move the nutrition conversation away from individual, compartmentalized nutrients and toward a holistic view of the actual foods people eat. Mozaffarian points out that “in the end, just making decisions about a food based on one thing like saturated fat is not useful.” Judging by the research on butter alone, I tend to agree.
This newest headline from Time joins a conversation that we’ve been having here at Rootstock for a while already. A November installment of our “In the News” series unabashedly proclaimed that “Fat is Back,” and in April 2015 Rootstock Radio host Theresa Marquez interviewed Nina Teicholz about her book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat, and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet.
Of course, moderation is a good guideline for any balanced meal-plan, but I intend to continue spreading a certain creamy condiment freely, and mounting research suggests that you have good reason to do the same.