Butter 101: nutritional information and effects on health

Butter is a popular dairy product made from cow's milk.

It is composed of milk fat that has been separated from other components of the milk. It has a rich flavor and is widely used for cooking, baking or spreading on bread.

In recent decades, butter has been unfairly blamed for cardiovascular diseases due to its high content of saturated fats.

However, public and scientific opinion has been slowly changing in their favor, and many people now consider butter to be healthy.

nutritional information

Being mainly composed of fat, butter is a high-calorie food. A tablespoon of butter contains approximately 101 calories, which is similar to a medium-sized banana.

The following table contains detailed information about the different nutrients in the butter.

Nutritional information: Butter, salty - 100 grams

sixteen %
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0.1 Sun
0.1 Sun
0 Sun
81.1 Sun
51.37 Sun
21.02 Sun
3.04 Sun
Omega 3
0.32 Sun
2.17 Sun
Trans fat
3.28 Sun

Butter Fats

The butter is approximately 80% fat, and the rest is mainly water.

Basically, it is the fatty portion of milk that has been isolated from proteins and carbohydrates.

Butter is one of the most complex dietary fats, since it contains more than 400 different fatty acids.

It is very high in saturated fatty acids (around 70%) and contains a good amount of monounsaturated fatty acids (around 25%).

Polyunsaturated fats are only present in minimal amounts, which represent around 2.3% of the total fat content (1, 2).

Other types of fatty substances found in butter include cholesterol and phospholipids.

Short chain fats

About 11% of the saturated fatty acids in butter are short chain (1), the most common is butyric acid.

Butyric acid is a unique component of the milk fat of ruminant animals, such as cattle, sheep and goats.

It has been shown that butyrate, which is a form of butyric acid, reduces inflammation in the digestive system and is used as a treatment for Crohn's disease (3).

Trans Ruminant Fats

Unlike trans fats in processed foods, trans fats in dairy products are considered healthy.

Butter is the richest dietary source of trans fats in dairy products, also called trans fats of ruminants, the most common of which are vaccinic acid and conjugated linoleic acid or CLA (4).

CLA is a family of trans fats that has been associated with several health benefits (5).

Studies in animals and human cells in laboratory culture indicate that CLA can protect against certain types of cancer (6, 7, 8).

CLA can also promote weight loss in humans (9), and it is actually sold as a weight-loss supplement. However, not all studies support this (10).

In addition, there are some concerns with large doses of CLA supplements, as they can have deleterious effects on metabolic health (11, 12).

Bottom line: Butter is mainly composed of fat. The types of fat include saturated fat, monounsaturated fats and trans fat from ruminants.

Vitamins and minerals

Butter is a rich source of several vitamins, especially those that are usually associated with fat.

The following vitamins are found in high amounts in butter:

  • Vitamin A: The most abundant vitamin in butter. One tablespoon (14 g) can provide approximately 11% of the recommended daily allowance (2).

  • Vitamin D: Butter is a good source of vitamin D.

  • Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant, often found in fatty foods.

  • B12 vitamin: Also called cobalamin, vitamin B12 is only found in foods of animal origin, such as eggs, meat and dairy products.

  • Vitamin K2: A form of vitamin K, also called menaquinone. It can protect against cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis (13, 14, 15).

However, butter does not contribute much to the total daily intake of these vitamins because it is usually consumed in small amounts.

Bottom line: Butter is rich in different vitamins. These include vitamins A, D, E, B12 and K2.

Health benefits of butter

A few years ago, butter was considered unhealthy, mainly due to the high content of saturated fat.

However, public and scientific opinion is slowly changing in favor of butter consumption.

Cardiovascular health

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in modern society.

The relationship between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease has been a controversial topic for several decades (16, 17, 18, 19).

It is well known that a high consumption of saturated fats can increase the levels of cholesterol in the blood (20), which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

However, it is not necessarily the amount of cholesterol that is of concern. The blood lipid profile, or the type of lipoprotein cholesterol, is much more important.

The intake of saturated fats can improve the lipid profile in the blood in many ways:

  • They raise the levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good" cholesterol, which is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (21, 22).

  • They may slightly increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, but are converting them into large LDL particles, which are not associated with cardiovascular disease (23, 24).

Many studies have not been able to find a link between the intake of saturated fats and cardiovascular disease (16, 25, 26).

The same applies to high-fat dairy products, such as butter. Studies have shown that high-fat dairy products do not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (18).

In fact, many studies have found that the intake of high-fat dairy products is beneficial for cardiovascular health (27, 28, 29).

However, most studies used "regular" amounts. It is possible that the consumption of large quantities (for example, adding butter to your coffee) may be problematic.

Bottom line:

As a rich source of saturated fat, butter has been blamed for increasing the risk of heart disease. However, considerable evidence points to the contrary.


Many people believe that butter is fattening because it is high in fat and calories.

However, this does not seem to be true when eating butter in normal amounts, as part of a healthy diet. A review of the evidence found that high-fat dairy products (such as butter) were associated with a reduced risk of obesity (30).

That said, butter is not a food that should be consumed in large quantities.

It is almost pure fat and should only be used to supplement foods, such as cooking or spreading fat, or as part of recipes.

In other words, butter should be eaten with a meal, not as food.

Bottom line: Although butter is a high-fat food, it does not seem to promote weight gain when consumed in normal amounts as part of a healthy diet.

Adverse effects

In conventional amounts, butter does not have many known adverse health effects.

However, eating butter in large quantities can lead very well to weight gain and associated health problems, especially in the context of a high-calorie diet.

Milk allergy

Although butter is very low in protein, it still contains enough allergenic whey proteins to cause reactions.

Therefore, people with milk allergies should be careful with butter, or avoid it altogether.

Lactose intolerance

Butter contains only minimal amounts of lactose, so moderate consumption should be safe for most people who are lactose intolerant.

Cultured butter (made from fermented milk) and clarified butter contain even less lactose and may be more suitable.

Bottom line: Butter is generally healthy, but can contribute to weight gain when overeating. Butter is low in lactose, so moderate amounts should be safe for most people with lactose intolerance.

Grass fed vs grain fed

Dairy cows' food can have a considerable effect on nutritional quality.

Grass-fed butter is made from the milk of cows that graze on the grass or feed on fresh grass.

In the USA UU., Grass-fed dairy products are only a small part of the dairy sector (31). Most dairy cows are fed mainly commercial grain-based foods.

In many other countries, such as Ireland and New Zealand, grass-fed dairy products are much more common, at least during the summer months.

Grass-fed butter is higher in many nutrients than butter from cows that are fed processed, grain-based or preserved grass (32).

A greater proportion of fresh grass in a cow's diet increases the amount of healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (32, 33, 34, 35, 36).

In addition, the content of fat-soluble vitamins and antioxidants, such as carotenoids and tocopherols, is significantly higher in grass-fed dairy products (37, 38).

In short, butter from grass-fed cows is a much healthier option.

Bottom line: Butter from grass-fed cows is higher in many nutrients than butter from cows fed grain.

Butter production

The first step in the production of butter is to separate the cream from the milk.

In the past, milk was simply left to rest until the cream came to the surface, from where it was spared.

This happens because the fat is lighter than the other components of the milk.

Modern cream production involves a more efficient method called centrifugation.

In the next step, the butter is produced from the cream in a process called shake.

The shake consists of stirring the cream until the milk fat (butter) is grouped and separated from the liquid portion (whey).

When the whey has been drained, the butter is continued to beat until it is ready for packaging.


Butter is a dairy product produced from milk fat.

It is mainly composed of fat, but it is also a rich source of many vitamins, especially vitamins A, E, D and K2.

However, butter is almost pure fat and is not particularly nutritious when considering the large amount of calories.

Due to its high content of saturated fat, it has been attributed an increased risk of overweight and heart disease.

However, several studies point to the opposite. Moderate consumption of butter can actually have a number of health benefits.

At the end of the day, butter can be healthy in moderation, but excessive consumption should be avoided.

Reference: https: //www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/butter


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