Is butter bad for you?

Is butter bad for you?

A delicious dollop of yellow goodness on the famous street-side pav bhaji, or spreading it thin on freshly made toast for breakfast, butter is one item that makes almost every dish better. However, almost everyone knows that it creates a mess in your body, affecting your heart; not to mention adding that extra layer on your hips. Did you know, though, that butter has a host of nutrients too? And it can add the missing vitamins in your body. 

People asking all the time — is butter good or bad for health? And the answer is, yes and no. Let me elaborate further. 

Also read: Are sugar substitutes bad for you?


What is butter? 

From the times that Makkhan was made at home to now when you find packed butter, the process of preparing it remains the same -taking the rich, creamy part of milk and churning it till the solid fats are separated from the liquid. There are many types of butter made from cow, goat, sheep, and buffalo milk. However, butter made from cow’s milk is the most popular in India. 

Why is butter good? 

Besides the fat, butter contains essential nutrients such as vitamins A, E, B12, and K. One tablespoon or 14 grams (used for cooking one small meal), contains 11% vitamin A, which is needed for maintaining healthy skin and boosting immunity. Additionally, it has 2% vitamin E, that is good for the heart and helps the antioxidants in your body protect against cell damage. Vitamin B12 is usually missing in the diet of vegetarians; with butter, you can get your daily supply of this vitamin. Additionally, butter even has small amounts of calcium, niacin, riboflavin, and phosphorus that help your daily functions. Butter is a great source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a nutrient found in meat and dairy mainly, and has amazing health benefits.

In fact, it is found in most weight loss supplements that are natural. It fights the common cold, high blood pressure, and helps manage diabetes too. Your yellow dollop of butter also contains butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid that has a host of benefits for your body. Your gut has good bacteria that help digest your food better and improve overall immunity. These bacteria use butyrate to power the cells in the intestine. This, in turn, helps treat irritable bowel syndrome, insulin sensitivity, boosts metabolism and reduces inflammation. 

Why is butter bad? 

Alright, so I’m sure you are now convinced about adding that extra spoonful of butter in your daily meals, but before you do that, learn how butter can harm you too. First, as everyone knows, butter is high in saturated fat, with almost 63% of it in a tablespoon. It also has 26% monounsaturated and 4% polyunsaturated fat, known to raise bad cholesterol that blocks the arteries, eventually causing heart diseases. Besides health issues, I advise weight watchers to keep away from butter. One tablespoon packs about 102 calories, so just one serving a day can make you gain over five kilos in six months. 

Yes, you can consume butter, but in moderation. You should limit butter intake to match your daily calories — it should just be 5% of your calorie intake. For instance, if you consume 2,000 calories today, the butter intake should not have more than 100 grams of calories. Hence, you can only consume half a teaspoon daily. Additionally, you should combine this with other healthy fats like nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and fatty fish. Opt for organic butter, made without preservatives and chemicals, which aids your overall health too. It is best to consult your nutritionist and doctor to learn if butter works for your body or not. Always remember to start or stop a food item under expert guidance.

Barkha Verma

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