Could Butter Actually Be Healthy for Diabetics?

For many years, butter suffered the wrath of health care professionals who confidently brand it as the “big bad wolf” of the fat world. However, recent research is putting anti-butter activists to shame as it is revealed that this dairy product might be so bad after all. In fact, it could actually be healthy.

Say what?

A couple of years ago, no one would even think of putting the words butter and healthy into one sentence. Now, so-called wellness experts are endorsing butter as the next superfood, encouraging people to try out the new food trend – butter coffee.

Are you skeptical?

Allow me to enlighten you.

A Little Bit of History

butter-01Before we get into the core of the subject, let me brief you on how the appeal for butter came about. In the old days, much of the concern and research focus primarily on the nutrients. From then, we somewhat classify foods as “bad” or “good” based on their nutritional content. As you may know, butter is composed of 80% saturated fat, a type of fatty acids previously believed to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, time has changed, and foods and overall diet are becoming the focal point while nutrients are slowly taking a step back. While butter is loaded with saturated fats, it contains a type of saturated fat called butyric acid and other fats like conjugated linoleic acid that may be beneficial for health.

The Study

One tablespoon of butter per day increased the risk of death by 1% and decreased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 4%.

According to a 2016 meta-analysis, the link between butter consumption and all-cause mortality, heart disease, and stroke is weak to non-significant. What threw me off was that the researchers found that butter was “inversely associated with incidence of diabetes.”

“How can this be possible?” you might ask.

Well, we need to be reminded that butter is more than just fat: it also contains vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, and different types of saturated fats – some of which may be good. It has also been previously stipulated that monounsaturated fats derived from dairy products “might improve glycemic responses and insulin sensitivity.”

The authors of the study concluded that their review “suggests relatively small or neutral overall associations of butter with mortality, CVD, and diabetes” and that major guidelines emphasizing on the need to reduce butter consumption should not be the focus.

What to Gather

From this study, enjoying less than one tablespoon of butter per day appears to be harmless. While butter may not be as bad as we once believed it to be, it is important to point out that vegetable oils like canola, soybean, and olive oils represent a healthier choice due to its unsaturated fatty acids content.

Moral of the story: slather that butter on your toast – just don’t overdo it.

[expand title=”References“]
University of Lethbridge. URL Link. Accessed January 23, 2017.

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