Recently, I read Time magazine’s cover story ‘Eat Butter’, a wonderful synopsis of how the demonization of fats has led us to worse health... and epidemic levels of diabetes! It’s great that this information is now getting out into the mainstream, and with the help of blogs and podcasts, is spreading rapidly. Butter is cool again… FINALLY!
I first heard about the beneficial impacts of saturated fats in the 1990s from Dr. Udo Erasmus during a lecture he gave at the University of British Colombia. However, what he outlined was in such contrast to the common low-fat diet dogma that colleagues and professors I spoke to were mostly skeptical.
Butter is critical for maintaining superior health and performance by providing short-chain fats (SCFAs) that serve many important roles in the body. SCFA’s support a healthy gut via their antimicrobial activity, killing off harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. They also provide instant energy for exercise, work, or daily activities WITHOUT significantly impacting blood sugar levels.
Another important component is cholesterol… YES, CHOLESTEROL! Cholesterol is a critical building block for sex hormones like testosterone that increases lean muscle, burns body-fat, improves cardiovascular health, and supports healthy mood. Studies show that athletes who are rundown from overtraining have low levels of testosterone and cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. When athletes consume a diet rich in healthy saturated fats these hormones return to normal levels, while those on low-fat diets stay rundown and fatigued.
Worried about butter’s impact on cholesterol? Rest easy… high levels of cholesterol DO NOT lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Elevated blood sugar levels are the underlying problem for most people, and adding more fat to your meals will help improve blood sugar control.
All of this to say… it’s been a long time coming and I am overjoyed that healthy saturated fats – butter, ghee, coconut oil – are being recognized more readily as health promoting. Remember, GRASS-FED BUTTER has the highest nutrient density, so look for that on your grocery stores shelves. If you are in good health and active then eating butter with salt is perfectly fine. If you suffer from hypertension or have high belly-fat, then you should consider the unsalted type.
Butter is back! I will happily continue cooking my eggs and meat with it, and adding it on to my veggies. You should too!
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND