Science Says You Don't Have To Avoid Eating Butter Anymore

by Talia Koren

I've never loved butter. I've always thought it was terrible for you. As it turns out, science is proving me (and everyone else who thought the same) wrong, once again.

Ever since we were given options like coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, people have tried to stay away from eating butter completely. In fact, people even stay away from butter substitutes, such as margarine, since they've also been proven to be bad for your health.

But the real stuff isn't the culprit here, apparently.

Butter gets a bad rap, but this is actually misguided. Science says that eating butter isn't bad for you. In fact, it's what you're putting butter on that you should be concerned about.

Based on a new study led by researchers at Tufts University, butter isn't directly related to chronic disease. The study found that butter has little to no correlation with cardiovascular diseases and overall mortality.

Wait, what?

They call butter a "middle-of-the-road" food: It's not as bad as sugar or starch, but it's also not as healthy as olive oil. Portion size is an important factor in this, so everything in moderation is still the best rule to stick to.

One of the most shocking findings from the study is that butter might actually help people lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but more research is necessary. Senior author Dariush Mozaffarian said,

Overall, our results suggest that butter should neither be demonized, nor considered 'back' as a route to good health. More research is needed to better understand the observed potential lower risk of diabetes, which has also been suggested in some other studies of dairy fat. This could be real, or due to other factors linked to eating butter — our study does not prove cause-and-effect.

That's right. Do not demonize butter. But also do not stack it on top of white bread, potatoes and pancakes because that's not good either.

Food products that have white flour in them are some of the least healthy things you can eat, and putting butter on them just makes them worse. But avoiding eating butter completely isn't going to do as much for you as avoiding heavy, starchy foods will.

If you're a butter lover, the good news is there's no reason to stop using it. Just be careful of what you're putting it on, and practice moderation.

Here are some easy, healthier swaps to keep butter in your life:

Instead of white bread, butter up a slice of whole wheat bread.

For pancakes topped with butter, try using a healthier pancake batter.

Consider whipping up some protein pancakes, or even banana-based pancakes.

White potatoes are yummy, but I promise you that butter on a sweet potato will be better.

I swear by sweet potatoes. Their health benefits are through the roof, and they're delicious to boot.

Instead of regular pasta, lather that butter on some quinoa or whole wheat pasta.

If you're feeling adventurous, throw some butter on veggies and brown rice instead of the typical white rice.

The bottom line is butter isn't necessarily "back," but at the same time, you can cross it off your list of things to avoid. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty happy about it.

Citations: Little to no association between butter consumption, chronic disease or total mortality (Science Daily)