Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Why Grass-Fed Butter Is One of the Healthiest Fats on the Planet

Popular
Why Grass-Fed Butter Is One of the Healthiest Fats on the Planet

Butter is one of the healthiest fats on the planet.

It's not just a big pile of yellow-colored fat, there are many important nutrients in there, some of which have potent biological effects.

Despite having been demonized in the past, real grass-fed butter is one of the healthiest fats on the planet. Period.Photo credit: Shutterstock

However, this does depend on the type of butter, and the amounts of these nutrients vary greatly depending on what the cows ate.

Butter From Grass-Fed Cows is a Major Source of Heart-Healthy Nutrients

Butter is basically just milk fat, also known as butterfat.

Butterfat is highly complex. It contains about 400 different fatty acids, and a decent amount of fat-soluble vitamins (1).

Fatty acids are actually more than just energy sources, some of them have potent biological activity.

As it turns out, many of the fatty acids in butter can affect our physiology and biochemistry in some way, leading to major health benefits.

This includes the fatty acid CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). It is popular as a fat loss supplement, and studies show that it can have powerful effects on health (2, 3).

Grass-fed butter contains five times more CLA than butter from grain-fed cows (4).

Butter from grass-fed cows is also much higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K2, compared to butter from grain-fed cows (5).

As you can see, butter from grass-fed cows is a much healthier and more nutritious choice.

Butter Contains Saturated Fat, But Who Cares?

Butter used to be considered unhealthy, because it contains saturated fat.

However, this is actually not a valid argument against butter, because the saturated fat myth has been thoroughly debunked in recent years.

Two massive review studies were published recently, one in 2010 and the other in 2014. Both included hundreds of thousands of people.

These studies clearly showed that there is no association between saturated fat consumption and heart disease (6, 7).

Studies Show That People Who Eat Grass-Fed Butter Have a Lower Risk of Heart Disease

The relationship between full-fat dairy consumption and heart disease seems to depend on the country in which the study is performed.

In countries where cows are largely grass-fed, the people who eat the most butter seem to have a drastically reduced risk of heart disease.

An impressive study on this was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in the year 2010: Smit LA, et al. Conjugated linoleic acid in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2010.

This study looked at the levels of CLA in the fat tissue of 1813 non-fatal heart attack patients, and compared them to 1813 similar subjects who had not gotten heart attacks.

Levels of this fatty acid are a very reliable marker for the intake of fatty dairy products, and this study was done in Costa Rica, where cows are grass-fed.

They split the subjects into 5 groups, from lowest to highest, depending on their levels of CLA. The results were fairly remarkable:

As you can see, the more full-fat dairy (like butter) people ate, the lower their risk of heart attack.

In fact, the people who ate the most were 49 percent less likely to experience a heart attack, compared to those who ate the least.

However, keep in mind that this was a case-control study, a type of observational study. These types of studies can not prove causation.

This study shows that people who eat more grass-fed dairy fat have a lower risk of heart disease, but it can not prove that dairy fat caused the reduction in risk.

But, at the very least, this study is pretty good reassurance that butter is not the devil it was made out to be.

Many Other Studies Have Shown Similar Results

This is far from being the only study.

Another study from Australia showed that people who ate the most full-fat dairy had a 69% lower risk of heart disease than people who ate the least (8).

Several other studies in European countries, where cows are generally grass-fed, have shown that dairy fat is linked to reduced heart attacks and strokes (9, 10).

Grass-Fed Butter is Super Healthy

Despite having been demonized in the past, real grass-fed butter is one of the healthiest fats on the planet. Period.

A dugong, also called a sea cow, swims with golden pilot jacks near Marsa Alam, Egypt, Red Sea. Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In 2010, world leaders agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's biodiversity over the next decade. By 2020, none of them had been met. Now, the question is whether the world can do any better once new targets are set during the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China later this year.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrew Rosenberg

The first 24 hours of the administration of President Joe Biden were filled not only with ceremony, but also with real action. Executive orders and other directives were quickly signed. More actions have followed. All consequential. Many provide a basis for not just undoing actions of the previous administration, but also making real advances in public policy to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A first-of-its-kind study has examined the satellite record to see how the climate crisis is impacting all of the planet's ice.

Read More Show Less
Probiotic rich foods. bit245 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Ana Maldonado-Contreras

Takeaways

  • Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that are vital for keeping you healthy.
  • Some of these microbes help to regulate the immune system.
  • New research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows the presence of certain bacteria in the gut may reveal which people are more vulnerable to a more severe case of COVID-19.

You may not know it, but you have an army of microbes living inside of you that are essential for fighting off threats, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Michael Mann photo inset by Joshua Yospyn.

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

The New Climate War: the fight to take back our planet is the latest must-read book by leading climate change scientist and communicator Michael Mann of Penn State University.

Read More Show Less