Butter is the current fad. Foodies and scientists around the world have claimed that butter has been falsely maligned. They say that refined carbohydrates (like bread, sweet drinks, and corn syrup) are the real problem and that you can have as much butter as you want. It is true that refined carbs are unhealthy -no one disagrees with that. But a recent study funded by the Danish Dairy Research Foundation demonstrates once and for all what the best science from the 1940s – 1990s indicated—that butter is not benign. Rather, butter is no better than other foods rich in saturated fat. Saturated (or hard fat at room temperature) is the unhealthiest kind of fat, and the recent research shows that butter raises cholesterol levels more than alternatives like olive oil.
The Danish Dairy Research Foundation-funded study results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that when people were randomly assigned to diets with moderate amounts of butter or olive oil that people who ate butter had increases in bad cholesterol—both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol—compared with people who ate olive oil. Should we believe the study? Yes, for three reasons. First, it was a randomized study—the best kind—and used rigorous research methods. Second, it was funded by the butter industry. The butter industry wanted the study to show butter was healthy. Studies funded by industries investigating their own products are notorious for showing the result the industry wants. This makes the current study, conducted by scientists at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports at the University of Copenhagen, even more convincing. Third, the study is consistent with most previous research that shows that diets high in saturated fats like butter raise bad cholesterol and put people at increased risk for hardening of the arteries, strokes, and heart attacks.
Sure butter tastes good. But so do alternatives like olive oil. Why not choose the delicious healthy alternative?