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
Energy
Mackinac Bridge from Straits of Mackinac. Gregory Varnum / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Gov. Signs Bill to Keep Line 5 Pipeline Flowing

Michigan's outgoing Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation on Wednesday that creates a new government authority to oversee a proposed oil tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac to effectively allow Canadian oil to keep flowing through the Great Lakes.

The controversial tunnel will encase a replacement segment for Enbridge Energy's aging Line 5 pipelines that run along the bottom of the Straits, a narrow waterway that connects Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The illegal La Pampa gold mine, seen here in 2017, has devastated the Peruvian Amazon and spread poisonous mercury. Planet Labs

Unprecedented New Map Unveils Illegal Mining Destroying Amazon

A first-of-its-kind map has unveiled widespread environmental damage and contamination of the Amazon rainforest caused by the rise illegal mining.

The survey, released Monday by the Amazon Socio-Environmental Geo-Referenced Information Project (RAISG), identifies at least 2,312 sites and 245 areas of prospecting or extraction of minerals such as gold, diamonds and coltan in six Amazonian countries—Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. It also identified 30 rivers affected by mining and related activities.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Mako sharks killed at the South Jersey Shark Tournament in June 2017. Lewis Pugh

Shark Fishing Tournaments Devalue Ocean Wildlife and Harm Marine Conservation Efforts

By Rick Stafford

Just over three years ago, I was clinging to a rock in 20 meters of water, trying to stop the current from pulling me out to sea. I peered out into the gloom of the Pacific. Suddenly, three big dark shapes came into view, moving in a jerky, yet somehow smooth and majestic manner. I looked directly into the left eyes of hammerhead sharks as they swam past, maybe 10 meters from me. I could see the gill slits, the brown skin. But most of all, what struck me was just how big these animals are—far from the biggest sharks in the seas, but incredibly powerfully built and solid. These are truly magnificent creatures.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Sen. Joe Manchin and United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts held a press conference on Oct. 3, 2017. Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call

Coal-Friendly Manchin Named Top Dem on Senate Energy Panel

After weeks of discord over the potential appointment, Sen. Joe Manchin, the pro-coal Democrat of West Virginia, was named the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Tuesday.

Many Democrats and environmental groups were adamantly opposed to Manchin serving as the top Democrat on the committee that oversees policies on climate change, public lands and fossil fuel production.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Insights/Opinion
Hikers on the Mt. Hollywood Trail in Griffin Park, Calif. while a brush fire burned in the Angeles National Forest on Aug. 26, 2009. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Major Health Study Shows Benefits of Combating Climate Change

During the holiday season, people often drink toasts to health. There's something more we can do to ensure that we and others will enjoy good health now and into the future: combat climate change.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Employees of Rural Renewable Energy Alliance working together with students and faculty of Leech Lake Tribal Collage to construct solar panels, 2017. Ryan James White

A Tribe in Northern Minnesota Shows the Country How to Do Community Solar

By Susan Cosier

Last summer on a reservation in northern Minnesota, students from Leech Lake Tribal College earned their solar installation licenses while they dug, drilled and connected five photovoltaic arrays. The panels shine blue on the plain, reflecting the sky as they generate roughly 235 megawatts of electricity a year, enough to help 100 families pay their energy bills. This is community solar in action.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
Arches National Park. Chris Dodds / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Trump Auctions Off 150,000 Acres of Public Lands for Fracking Near Utah National Parks

On Tuesday the Trump administration offered more than 150,000 acres of public lands for fossil-fuel extraction near some of Utah's most iconic landscapes, including Arches and Canyonlands national parks.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Vanderford glacier in East Antarctica is one of four that is beginning to melt, according to NASA. Angela Wylie / Fairfax Media / Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Melting Discovered in East Antarctic Region Holding Ice 'Equivalent to Four Greenlands'

Ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica have been melting at alarming rates in recent years, but at least the glaciers of East Antarctica were believed to be relatively stable. Until now. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists have discovered that glaciers covering one-eighth of Antarctica's eastern coast have lost ice in the past 10 years. If the region keeps melting, it has enough ice in its drainage basins to add 28 meters (approximately 92 feet) to global sea level rise, BBC News reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

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