It may seem dramatic, but many people in society avoid butter as though it is going to do them in! This thought became very popular around the same time the low-fat craze really picked up steam. We all know what happened when this fad took effect… clearly we became a society of concise, healthy individuals. Oh, that’s right – not at all!
Yes butter has saturated fat, and in some cases is overused. However, if you are concerned about the saturated fat and negative health implications from butter, we can reassure you no one is having a heart attack because of the small pat of butter on top of their steamed broccoli – it’s the shortening, lard, and other trans-fat laden foods being pumped into the body creating health issues. The surprising fact is in many ways that butter is good for you.
We need fat. For many years the message has always been low-fat food for a low fat body. While too much fat can leads to serious diseases you should not be fat phobic. Fat found in the body functions as stored energy; releases hormones that control metabolism; transport some vitamins; insulates the body; and cushions you from injury. Fat in food also serves an important role, improving flavor, texture, and appearance.
So you’re saying there’s a chance? Absolutely! Butter can be a healthy part of a balanced diet. When used in moderation butter has some pretty great health benefits.
• A-Number-1: Butter is the number one source of vitamin A in the American diet. In fact, butter is rich in all fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E, and K. You need all these vitamins to perform at your max capacity. However, one noteworthy vitamin – K2 – deserves a special shout out here. Vitamin K2 is gaining ground in the research world, showing powerful effects on health including prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.
• Go All-Natural: Butter is a more natural food compared with margarine. To create margarine, a chemical process has to happen leading to the addition of trans fats. If you haven’t been living in a cave, you know trans fats are the worst of the worst and should be avoided.
• Be the Butyrate: Butyrate is a fatty acid found in butter that can actually prevent weight gain and has anti-inflammatory properties. When lifting heavy weights you are stressing your muscles and inflaming them, choosing foods with these elements may help your overall performance.
• Get Your CLA: If you are thinking “Ah yes, my conjugated linoleic acid… We knew we were missing something!” That is absolutely right! Butter is a great source of conjugated linoleic acids which have a powerful effect on metabolism and have even been shown to lower body fat percentages in humans.
Before you go diving into a tub of butter, remember, fat contains 9 calories per gram making it one of the most calorically-dense foods. Therefore, butter contains some great benefits but you should enjoy them in moderation. Once you go beyond the recommended 10% of your total fat intake from saturated fats (aka: butter) you start to lose those benefits, increasing your risk for weight gain and cardiovascular disease.