Is Butter Healthy for a Keto Diet? Yes, and Here’s Why.
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You butter believe it!
We have a real love for butter, and contrary to popular belief, it’s actually GOOD for you! We did some digging to find all the health benefits that eating butter can bring. Keep reading to see why your keto diet is better with butter!
Butter is a healthy fat!
Yup, that’s a real thing! The saturated fat in butter raises HDL (good cholesterol) while converting LDL (bad cholesterol) to a less harmful benign form. This reduces the risk of heart disease. Butter also has strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
Don’t get hung up on the word “fat” either — the short and medium chain fats found in butter are metabolized differently from other fats. This actually leads to increased fat burning.
Butter is full of fatty acids.
Which fatty acids might you ask?
- Butyric Acid: Protects the digestive system and is anti-inflammatory.
- Lauric Acid: Aids in treating fungal infections.
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid: Offers powerful effects on metabolism.
- Arachidonic Acid: Is a key component of cell membranes and vital to brain function.
Butter is rich in antioxidants.
This is due to high levels of carotene, a powerhouse nutrient that benefits the body in two ways:
- It can convert into disease-fighting antioxidants that provide a boost to your immune system; or
- It can convert into Vitamin A, which benefits the skin, eyes, mouth, and throat, along with urinary and digestive tracts.
Butter is associated with lower obesity rates.
While it might shock the calorie counters in the room, high-fat dairy (even with the high-calorie count) is NOT associated with obesity as most believed. In fact, a recent study reports that high-fat dairy consumption within typical dietary patterns is inversely associated with obesity risk. This means a lowered risk for weight gain due to almighty butter. Heck yes!
Butter is a great source of fat-soluble vitamins.
Speaking of Vitamin A, butter also has vitamins D, E, and K2.
- Vitamin A: In addition to providing defense for the immune system, A’s a necessary component of thyroid and adrenal health.
- Vitamin E: Promotes healthy skin, hair, and nail growth.
- Vitamin D: Calcium’s best friend as it helps in nutrient absorption.
- K2: Also known as Activator X (seriously!), it increases the body’s efficiency to take in nutrients and has been linked to preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.
Butter lowers risk for heart attack compared to margarine.
Yup, so after all those years of “I can’t believe it’s not butter,” studies now show a link between margarine and a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Butter also lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In a study of 3,333 adults, researchers found that people who had higher levels of three byproducts from full-fat dairy had a 46% lower risk of getting diabetes than people with lower levels. More research to follow up these claims is still in the works, but scientists believe that monounsaturated fats in dairy fat could be a factor in improving blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. In general, many nutrition scientists are on board with the new way of thinking that cutting back fat (even the saturated kind) is doing more harm than good.
Butter is easy on the eyes.
No wonder we look at butter so adoringly! Thanks to beta-carotene, which is prominent in butter, our eyes get a healthy boost from additional cellular growth, a lower chance of macular degeneration, and it keeps the onset of cataracts at bay longer! It also lowers the risk of angina pectoris and other eye conditions.
And butter is easy on the stomach.
I’m going to throw a pretty ridiculous word at you — glycosphingolipids. What you need to know about this workhorse fatty acid is that it protects the body from gastrointestinal issues by helping build up the mucous membrane, which makes it difficult for bacterial infections to take hold. Overall, it’s the best line of defense for your stomach and digestive tracts.
Which butter is best?
So glad you asked! To get the most nutritional value, you want raw, organic butter. You’ll probably have to source this directly from a dairy farmer or look for it in a specialty store. That said, another option would be grass-fed varieties which are much more accessible. Our favorite is Kerrygold Irish Butter with its deep yellow color, creamy texture, and rich flavor. We like to get ours at either Sam’s Club, Costco, or ALDI for the best price!
But remember, everything in moderation…
As much as we love butter, we’re not actually going to start eating it by the stick. Like all good things, eat butter in moderation to within your macros. Consult with your healthcare professional to discuss what’s right for you.