Scientists have discovered that eating one tablespoon of butter a day had little impact on overall mortality, no significant link with cardiovascular disease and strokes – and could even have a small effect in reducing the risk of diabetes. The robust research – one of the largest meta-studies to be carried out on the health effects of butter – adds weight to growing calls for the end of the ‘demonising’ of the dairy product and other saturated fats. It follows reports earlier this month that the (British) Government is reconsidering its advice to restrict saturated fat intake to limit the risk of heart disease, after two recent studies found no link.
In the latest research, scientists from Tufts University in Boston analyzed the results of nine studies published since 2005 from 15 countries, including the US, UK and Europe. Results were based on nearly 640000 adults with an average age of between 44 and 71 years old, tracked over a combined total of 6.5 million years.
By combining and standardizing the results, researchers found a daily serving of butter – 14g or roughly one tablespoon – was associated with a 1 per cent higher risk of death. Butter consumption had ‘no significant association’ with any type of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke. A smaller sample of results indicated a daily serving of butter was associated with a 4 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes – although researchers said this needed further investigation.
Commenting on the research, cardiologist and National Obesity Forum advisor Dr Aseem Malhotra said: ‘This high quality study clearly reveals that decades of demonising butter has been a huge mistake. I follow the advice I give to my patients which is providing you cut the consumption of sugar and other refined carbohydrates the regular consumption of butter can be very much part of a healthy diet.’ But Professor Pete Wilde, of the Institute of Food Research, warned the study was not a ‘carte blanche to consume large amounts of butter’. And Tracy Parker, of the British Heart Foundation, added: ‘While the findings of this review indicate a small or neutral association between butter consumption and increased cardiovascular risk, it does not give us the green light to start eating more butter. More investigations are needed into the effects of saturated fat.’
Source: Daily Mail