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Study: Butter's not so bad

Butter was not associated with chronic disease or mortality in a review of research from Tufts.

Nope, butter won’t kill you, according to a recent review of research.

Tufts University researchers took data from nine previous studies that included 636,151 people and did a meta-analysis of the relative risk of eating butter. The average butter consumption across the studies ranged from roughly one-third of a tablespoon to 3.2 tablespoons daily.

The researchers found mostly small or insignificant associations of each daily serving of butter with total mortality, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The results were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

"Even though people who eat more butter generally have worse diets and lifestyles, it seemed to be pretty neutral overall," researcher Laura Pimpin, Ph.D., former postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts in Boston, said in a university release. "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."

Natural foods consumers have been embracing butter and other full-fat dairy delights. “For years, conventional wisdom was that a diet low in fat was the best way to stay healthy,” Dan Brooks, creative director for Vital Farms, a conscious company with a butter SKU that contains 85 percent fat, told last year. He added that the newest slew of studies suggest that eating whole-milk products may even help stave off obesity. This research, paired with high-profile, fat-focused diets like Bulletproof (which encourages followers to stir butter, ghee or coconut oil into morning coffee), ketogenic and paleo, has contributed to the notion that, fat, well, doesn’t make you fat. Rather, eating fat keeps you full for longer. “The current popularity in high-fat diets is still just the beginning, but hopefully widespread acceptance is not far off,” Brooks continued.

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