When it comes to fat, it’s all about the butter (in my world at least)! But are there things you don’t know about America’s favorite saturated fat?
1) All butter is not created equal.
There is no golden ticket when it comes to butter; your butter is as clean as its source. Cows store toxins in both fat tissue and dairy fat, so that bioaccumulation of toxic substances from factory farms- hormone injections, cows living in filth, and contaminated feed gets passed on to YOU and your detoxification system. You see, cows are meant to be fed grass, but the milk yield is much lower on a natural diet. In order to increase milk production and profits, diets of GMO corn and soy (often mixed with animal byproducts) are the cow’s dietary delight at factory farms. So choose to get your butter from happy grass-fed cows—your body will thank you.
2) Color matters.
Butter color varies from pale yellow [white] to a deep buttercup yellow. Generally speaking, the darker the yellow coloring of the butter, the richer the butter is in nutrients, so long as a colorant is NOT on the ingredient list! The deeper color comes from higher levels of vitamin A; the result of beta carotene from a grass-fed diet.
3) There is no substitute.
Accept NO substitute! “Butter flavor” does not equal butter, nor does “buttery spread.” That is marketing, not nutrient-dense and heart-healthy butter! Don’t be fooled by deceptive ingredient lists either- butter should contain cream, milk and salt.
4) Many butters contain food additives concealed as “natural flavors.”
I find natural flavors particularly common in non-organic unsalted butter. I usually don’t like to get too technical, but I find the FDA’s definition of natural flavors comical:
The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”(source)
If that is not very broad, loose definition, I do not know what is! Unfortunately, these low quality, additive-laden butters are popular in the food and restaurant industry. So yes, you might even find your local upscale bakery using these cheap, low quality butters.
5) Butter is an amazing, nutrient dense health food!
With butter rich in vitamins A, D, E, K2, saturated fat, lauric acid, and cholesterol (antioxidant) there is no reason not to love it. And it doesn’t stop there! Dr. Ray Peat, PhD goes on to say,
Butter and coconut oil contain significant amounts of the short and medium-chain saturated fatty acids, which are very easily metabolized, inhibit the release of histamine, promote differentiation of cancer cells, tend to counteract the stress-induced proteins, decrease the expression of prolactin receptors, and promote the expression of the T3 (thyroid) receptor. (A defect of the thyroid receptor molecule has been identified as an “oncogene,” responsible for some cancers, as has a defect in the progesterone receptor.)” (source)