Medical Is butter really bad for you?

  1. nsaspook

    nsaspook 1,390
    Science Advisor

    I see this article about a school dept. cracking down on the use of even small amounts of butter in cooking. Is there really medical evidence that "low" fat oils are healthier than the equivalent about of 'butter' in a balanced diet with normal amounts of daily exercise?

    A shallow and quick google search for "is butter bad for you" shows mainly links showing it's actually better than most replacements.
  2. jcsd
  3. Monique

    Monique 4,445
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I don't know but that article doesn't make sense: the school must use low-fat oil? I think oil contains more fat than butter per unit. Also, they should serve "peanut butter, jelly and cream cheese with bread", because it's less fattening than butter? Peanut butter contains lots of fats and oils, jelly lots of sugar. Cream cheese doesn't sound that healthy either.

    However, I think it's good to limit the use of butter as an ingredient, often I had the impression that US restaurants use a couple of sticks per serving. Oil would be a healthier option, since one doesn't use the same amount and it lower on saturated fats.
  4. I remember some years back when I studied nutrition a bit to learn how to eat healthier, I paid a lot of attention to how much saturated fat various foods have because my dietician had told me that was one of the things, along with sodium, that I wanted to keep to a minimum.

    I was quite startled when I looked up butter and it said amount of saturated fat = 100%

    In other words, as far as saturated fat goes, there ISN'T anything that can possibly be worse than butter (or taste better)
  5. Monique

    Monique 4,445
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That can't be right.

    According to USDA Food-A-Pedia

    1 tbsp butter: 102 cal. 7 g saturated, 3 g unsaturated fat
    1 tbsp olive oil: 119 cal. 2 g saturated fat, 11 g unsaturated fat
  6. Hm ... maybe I misremember and what it said was FAT = 100%, not saturated fat.
  7. While olive oil and canola oil are high in total fat, these oils are high in monounsaturated fat. Together with polyunsaturated fats, these are referred to as the "good fats". Saturated fat and trans fats are the so called "bad fats" which have been linked to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. As already shown, butter has higher proportions of the bad fats while the oils have the higher proportion of the good fats. It's not black and white. Polyunsaturated fats are a mixed bag and there is still controversy about their impact on heart disease. My Trader Joe's olive oil has 10g of monounsaturated fat, 1.5g of polyunsaturated fat, 2 g of saturated fat and 0 cholesterol and trans fat per serving.
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  8. DrDu

    DrDu 4,648
    Science Advisor

    Butter also contains about 16% water, so this can't be true either.
  9. Ok, I've got it. The % of CALORIES is 100% fom fat!
  10. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

  11. Huh. The site I looked at really quickly did say calories from fat = 100% so I guess they were throwing out what almost amounts to being a rounding error.
  12. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Still wrong. :tongue: If you look at a tiny amount, say a tablespoon, they do round it.
  13. Maybe it's the butter content that was 100%
  14. Saturated fats are also necessary....
  15. There are just two essential fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3) and linoleic acid (an omega-6). All others can be synthesized by humans. Both are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). In modern Western diets, there is a considerable excess of omega-6 over omega-3 PUFAs (20-30:1). Current research indicates a ratio over 4:1 is unhealthy. Cold water fish, walnuts and flaxseed are good sources of omega-3 PUFAs.
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
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