Quantcast

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

Popular

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.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Artist's conception of solar islands in the open ocean. PNAS

Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less
Marcos Alves / Moment Open / Getty Images

More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week OK the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?

EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, "that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to spray."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
View of downtown Miami, Florida from Hobie Island on Feb. 2, 2019. Michael Muraz / Flickr

The Democratic candidates for president descended upon Miami for a two-night debate on Wednesday and Thursday. Any candidate hoping to carry the state will have to make the climate crisis central to their campaign, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
A pumpjack in the Permian Basin. blake.thornberry / Flickr

By Sharon Kelly

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Craig K. Chandler

The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.

Read More Show Less
Denis Poroy / Getty Images

By Dan Gray

Processed foods, in their many delicious forms, are an American favorite.

But new research shows that despite increasing evidence on just how unhealthy processed foods are, Americans have continued to eat the products at the same rate.

Read More Show Less

By Sarah Steffen

With a profound understanding of their environmental surroundings, indigenous communities around the world are often cited as being pivotal to tackling climate change.

Read More Show Less