Quantcast
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.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Health
Pexels

Natural Remedies: 8 Plants That Promote Wellness

It may seem like natural remedies are having a moment, but the trend is nothing new. Herbalism—the use of plants for their medicinal properties—has been around long before modern-day pharmacies, and certain sprigs and leaves are still touted for their healing powers. Whether you're planning your next natural shopping trip or want to try growing some helpful herbs at home, this overview can help you get started.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Vegetables in Whole Foods Market. Masahiro Ihara / CC BY 2.0

Food's Environmental Impact Varies Greatly Between Producers

By Jason Daley

There's no way around it—everything in the grocery store, from nuts and kale to beef and apples, has an environmental impact. Fertilizer causes water pollution, farm fields can encroach on habitat, and a lot of carbon gets released when food is transported from one place to another. But it turns out not every stalk of broccoli or pound of Gouda has the same ecological footprint. A new study of food systems in the journal Science shows the same items sitting next to each other on the shelf can have radically different impacts.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

GOP Senators Demand Probe of Federal Grants on Climate Change

A group of Republican senators are calling for an investigation of the National Science Foundation (NSF) over a program that "[turns] television meteorologists into climate change evangelists," according to a Wednesday press release from the office of Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
pxhere

World's Plastic Waste Problem Now Predicted to Reach 111 Million Metric Tonnes by 2030

Mountains of plastic waste are building up around the globe after China implemented a ban on other countries' trash.

By 2030, an estimated 111 million metric tons of single-use drink bottles, food containers and other plastic junk will be displaced because of China's new policy, according to a new paper from University of Georgia researchers, who cited UN global trade data for their study.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Politics
Children detained at a facility in McAllen, Texas under Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. U.S. Customs and Border Control

Trump Penalizes Migrants Fleeing Climate Crisis He Ignores

The impacts of climate change do not respect international borders. If they did, it wouldn't be the case that the countries who have done the least to contribute to global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to suffer disproportionately from their effects.

But as climate refugees begin to flee deteriorating conditions, they are already finding that borders very much apply to them.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Indigenous inhabitants of one of the floating islands in Lake Titicaca greet a tour group from Puno, Peru. David Stanley / CC BY 2.0

5 Ways Indigenous Groups Are Fighting Back Against Land Seizures

By Peter Veit

Much of the world's land is occupied and used by Indigenous Peoples and communities—about 50 percent of it, involving more than 2.5 billion people. But these groups are increasingly losing their ancestral lands—their primary source of livelihood, income and social identity.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals

Koko the Gorilla Dead at 46, an 'Icon for Interspecies Communication and Empathy'

Koko, the beloved western lowland gorilla who could communicate with sign language, died at age 46, the Gorilla Foundation announced. She died in her sleep on Tuesday morning in Woodside, California.

"Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy. She was beloved and will be deeply missed," the foundation said in a press release.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
West Palm Beach broadcast meteorologist Jeff Berardelli with the graphic used in Thursday's #MetsUnite campaign. Jeff Berardelli

#MetsUnite to Spread Climate Change Awareness as Heat Wave Season Begins

If you tune in to a TV weather report on today's Northern hemisphere summer solstice, you might notice the meteorologist wearing a unique striped tie or necklace that begins in blue and changes to red.

This isn't just a fun summer style. The design is actually University of Reading climate scientist Ed Hawkin's "Warming Stripes" visualization, which represents the change in annual global temperatures from 1850 to 2017. Nearly 100 TV meteorologists are displaying it in some way on Thursday as part of Meteorologists United on Climate Change or #MetsUnite, Weather Underground reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!