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Although it has been widely believed that butter is generally bad for health, studies show that it may have some health benefits. Still, you may wonder, is butter good or bad for you?

There are many dairy products globally, and butter is just one of them. It is produced by churning milk to separate the semisolid part of milk from the watery part. Whipping cream also helps produce butter. For a long time, it has been believed that consuming butter is unhealthy because this product may clog the arteries and increase one’s risk for heart disease. Recently, though, studies have shown that taking butter in moderation may add some health benefits. In fact, conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) is a form of fat found in butter and is closely linked to some health benefits. Here is all you need to know about butter, and whether it is good or bad for you.

Understanding butter

First things first, let’s get to the roots and understand what butter is before examining its health implication. Simply stated, butter is one of the commonest and oldest dairy products prepared by churning milk to separate the semisolid part from the liquid component. Since whipping cream produces butter, we can describe the latter as the fat content of the creamy. Butter is rich in fatty acids, which makes it quite creamy. In fact, 65% of its fat is saturated, while the rest is unsaturated (poly and monounsaturated).

Butter is widely used in foods. The baking industry uses it to add texture and volume to baked products because of its creaminess. Besides, the creamy nature of butter also makes it ideal for using it as spreading on bread and pasta dishes and other servings. It also works best for frying, especially when doing high-heat cooking, including pan-frying and sauteing. The good news to all this is that butter is stable and will less likely dissociate to release free radicals even under high temperatures characteristic of high-high cooking. There are different types of butter depending on the ingredients used in making them and the processing methods used. Ghee, clarified, sweet, and cultured butter are among the commonest butter types available in the market.

Butter: what is the typical nutritional composition?

Nutritionists and technologists widely rely on the nutritional profile of foods and dietary elements and examine them to determine their health implications and what they contribute to the body. We will do the same for butter to explore how it may benefit the body. A normal tablespoon (14 g) of butter has the following;

The breakdown above clearly shows that butter is rich in fats and calories. While high calories may mean that butter is not good for weight gain and probably heart health, we recognize that this dairy product is a good source of vitamins. For instance, it has vitamin A which the body needs for healthy eyesight, and Vitamin E, which contains antioxidants needed by the body to fight free radicals. Additionally, butter has trace amounts of phosphorus, niacin, calcium, and riboflavin, all of which the body needs to function well.

Butter is rich in conjugated linolenic acid (CLA)

The other benefit of consuming butter is that you get to take advantage of CLA, a form of fatty acid primarily found in dairy products and meat. It has many health benefits, including lowering risks of certain types of cancer, including colorectal, liver, prostate, liver, breast, etc. Furthermore, some studies indicate that moderate consumption of CLA (as in butter) could help reduce weight. This reduces the total by promoting fat burning in the body, resulting in reduced weight.

Moreover, CLA may help reduce inflammation and the chronic conditions related to it. A two-year study examined those consuming 3.4 g of CLA daily against a group taking a control substance. At the end of the study, the inflammation markers and inflammatory proteins in the CLA were considerably reduced. Nonetheless, these studies used concentrated forms of CLA, and such would not be found in the regular butter. As such, there is a need for further studies to tell how exactly CLA impacts health, and by extension, butter.

Butter is high in butyrate

Butyrate is a form of fatty acids naturally produced by gut microbiota to help aid in digestion. Studies also suggest that butyrate helps keep the alimentary canal healthy. Butter is high in this fatty acid, which may be a plus for it. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a serious medical condition that results in detrimental effects when not treated. Butyrate has been studied and found to effectively remedy IBS symptoms, including diarrhea, bloating, and constipation. Additionally, studies show that butyrate could also help the digestive tract absorb more electrolytes, ensuring that fluid and electrolyte balance remains in place.

Butter is high in saturated fats

Saturated fat has been labeled in a bad light. Many studies have linked it to increased heart disease risk and clogging of the arteries. However, recent research shows that moderate consumption of this fat may not be entirely bad. Butter is rich in saturated fats, which makes up about 65% of its total fat content. Keeping it low and including unsaturated fats from nuts and seeds may benefit heart health.

Butter is rich in calories

Another issue with butter consumption is rich in calories. Is anything the problem with this? Too much fats contributes to the stacking up of extra calories and unnecessary weight gain. Remember that a tablespoon of butter has at least 102 calories. Keep it moderate to avoid potential adverse side effects.

Having seen both sides of butter, you must have seen that butter is best consumed in moderation. In fact, the American Heart Association suggests that you keep saturated fat at less than 10% of your total calorie intake. For instance, this means 22 g (42 g of butter) if your total calorie intake is 2,000 calories. As such, the body tolerates 14- 24 g or 1- 2 tablespoons of butter.


Butter refers to a creamy dairy product produced by churning milk. Over the years, there have been lots of controversies about consuming it. It is high in fats and calories, two drivers of weight gain and increased risks of heart disease. However, keeping in moderate (1- 2 tablespoons) daily helps you benefit from its CLA, butyrate, and the product’s nutritional components.

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Nutritionist. Bluffton University, MS In today's world, people's eating and exercise patterns have changed, and it is often lifestyle that is the cause of many diet-related illnesses. I believe that each of us is unique – what works for one does not help another. What is more, it can even be harmful. I am interested in food psychology, which studies a person's relationship with their body and food, explains our choices and desires for specific products, the difficulty of maintaining optimal body weight, as well as the influence of various internal and external factors on appetite. I'm also an avid vintage car collector, and currently, I'm working on my 1993 W124 Mercedes. You may have stumbled upon articles I have been featured in, for example, in Cosmopolitan, Elle, Grazia, Women's Health, The Guardian, and others.

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