Study finds little to no association between butter, disease and total mortality
For decades butter was bullied by the health world, but in recent years more and more research has been published suggesting that its negative health impacts aren’t as bad as everyone made out. It seems that this trend shows no signs of stopping as, according to a new study by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, butter consumption was only weakly associated with total mortality, not associated with cardiovascular disease, and slightly inversely associated (protective) with diabetes,
The study analyzed the association of butter consumption with chronic disease and all-cause mortality, looking at 636,151 unique individuals with a total of 6.5 million person-years of follow-up. Over the total follow-up period, the combined group of studies included 28,271 deaths, 9,783 cases of cardiovascular disease, and 23,954 cases of new-onset type 2 diabetes. The researchers combined the nine studies into a meta-analysis of relative risk.
Eating an average of one tablespoon of butter per day resulted in mostly small or insignificant associations of each daily serving of butter with total mortality, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
“Even though people who eat more butter generally have worse diets and lifestyles, it seemed to be pretty neutral overall. This suggests that butter may be a “middle-of-the-road” food: a more healthful choice than sugar or starch, such as the white bread or potato on which butter is commonly spread and which have been linked to higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease; and a worse choice than many margarines and cooking oils – those rich in healthy fats such as soybean, canola, flaxseed, and extra virgin olive oils – which would likely lower risk compared with either butter or refined grains, starches, and sugars.”
Laura Pimpin, Ph.D., former postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy