Is butter good for your health?

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sliced cheese on clear glass plate

Contrary to popular belief, butter is good for you. Butter isn’t the enemy of good health that we thought, and is, rather, an essential part of our diet.

Due to the water content of butter, 10 grams has fewer calories than the equivalent of extra-virgin olive oil: 75 calories for the butter as opposed to 90 for the oil. In the USA, Nina Teicholz, journalist and nutrition expert, has published a study into how the removal of fats from the Western diet has been a big mistake. Shortly after its publication, the weekly magazine, ‘Time’, used the headline ‘Eat Butter’, after it was discovered that the fatty acids contained in it (including Omega 3 and Omega 6) contribute to the growth and the regeneration of cells. Butter is one of the few foods that contain Vitamin D, and it is also rich in vitamin A, K and E, which, along with selenium are essential for the nervous and immune system, according to a study carried out by Cambridge University.

Recent data from Italian milk and dairy association, ‘Assolatte’, shows the benefits of butter: a recent survey carried out by the association found that Italians have rediscovered butter. In fact, they love it. They love the taste, the smell and the memories it evokes. The data shows that sales of butter continue to grow all over the country.

From a nutritional and technological point of view, butter is good for you: it is made organically, without the use of additives. Good quality butter is obvious by its appearance, compact and clear and without drips when cutting it. The taste must be delicate, not strong, and the colour changes depending on the season: white in winter and more yellow in summer. Furthermore it is easy to digest. It should not be the only fat consumed but should be used in the preparation of food, if it is consumed alongside a healthy lifestyle, it does not pose a risk to the health of a population.

The advice is, however, to not over indulge in the use of butter, nor with foods such as cured meats, cheeses, red meat or processed foods. Butter and jam for breakfast. Rice or pasta with butter and parmesan and then breaded cutlet with risotto cooked in butter, not to mention sweets. Butter is one of the protagonists of the Italian culinary tradition. A pleasure to be rediscovered, but in moderation.

Bibliography:

  • Cardio-metabolic and immunological impacts of extra virgin olive oil consumption in overweight and obese older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2015 Aug 7;12:28 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26251666
  • High sugar and butter (HSB) diet induces obesity and metabolic syndrome with decrease in regulatory T cells in adipose tissue of mice. Inflamm Res. 2015 Dec 9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26650032