The Truth About Butter
Ohhhh, butter. I can’t believe it’s not…straightforward how unfavorable the consumption of butter can be to your health. That sentence doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely as the commercials.
This week we’re tackling a tough one. When you have the French on one side saying this golden substance is imperative to their famed croissant-making and the Antarctic explorers claiming this easy-to-carry light-weight yellow bar is what kept them alive on their lengthy expeditions, it’s hard to tease out the truth.
Never fear, your thinking CAP is here! Get it? CAP = Craving a Peace. Haaaa, that was awful.
From the beginning, butter as I knew it was a staple to my American diet. Buttered toast, buttered pancakes, buttered popcorn at the movies, butter on a warm muffin, melted butter on mashed potatoes, cube of butter rubbed on an ear of corn, butter in the pan as a dish’s flavor-maker, a buttered bagel (all of you New Yorkers know what I’m talking about), and remember spray-on butter?! What a time. Honestly, I even remember Oprah doing a show about fried butter when she went to a country fair in one of the southern states.
Butter is usually bought on a regular basis and it is usually overlooked as a source of unhealthiness. Stick it in your shopping cart and home it goes; never a second thought. That was the case at least until margarine, a refined vegetable oil spread, rolled into town. I won’t get into margarine too much now, but, its introduction into the market posed an immediate threat to the butter industry and that was not going to fly.
Commercials, magazine ads, newspapers all tried to make eating butter look sexy. Perhaps the phallic look of a stick of butter turned people on? With the emergence of olive oil spreads, coconut oil spreads, and of course, margarine, butter needed to do whatever it could to stay relevant.
Several articles were published saying butter wasn’t bad for you when the revealing of its high saturated fat contents were exposed. The butter industry still to this day does whatever it can to make people believe eating it is a-okay for you.
I’m afraid to tell you, it’s not.
Before I lay out all the reasons butter is something you should seriously consider eliminating from your diet, I’ll tell you some good news. The good news is that there are dozens of healthier and more ethical options that will leave you 100000% just as satisfied. I’m proof of that!
I have a disgusting confession and you can totally judge me if you’d like…I used to butter BOTH sides of my toast…every single morning. I slathered that melty, salty golden sauce all over my toast until it was dripping with deliciousness.
If you’re not a vegan and you’re reading this, I hope you can believe me when I say, life is still just as juicy, salty, and savory without butter. And, truthfully, I’m so much more content because of it.
Alright, let’s get into the facts of why I gave up butter and why you may want to consider it yourself, too:
- Butter is 80% fat, which comes from the fatty portion of milk
- 1 tablespoon of butter contains 101 calories
- Butter contains more that 400 different fatty acids (aka fat and cholesterol), which translates to clogged arteries when consumed
- The demand for butter causes cows to suffer tremendously. Full stop.
- Butter is a massive contributor to the global warming crisis as it is a link in the farming chain of methane emissions
- The consumption of animal products, including butter, is linked to heart disease
According to the research I’ve been doing for this article, butter sales are at an all time high. If you search for facts about butter, the first few pages of Google are coated with why-butter-is-so-good-for-you articles. Years and years of believing that butter is the preventer of cancer or has absolutely no link to heart disease just absolutely kills me.
Okay, sorry. I’m getting emotional now.
Think about this, though… The butter you’re eating came from a cow, which has likely been forcefully impregnated against its will in order to produce milk. Said cow, without human interference, could typically live until it is about 24 years old. Because farmers repeatedly use this cow for its milk, and then ultimately for butter, they only find use for this cow for approximately four years, then slaughter it since it is usually deemed useless to them at that point.
In a similar essence, cows are also pumped with antibiotics, hormones, and steroid-like boosters to avoid disease, infection, or to promote genetically modified growth. These injections are passed through a cow’s milk to us through the consumption of ice cream, milk, butter, cheese, etc.
Dairy products contain a level of adrenaline in them, deriving from the fact that they are made of cow’s milk. Milk from a cow is produced with the intention of consumption by a baby calf. A mother cow is essentially trying to hook her baby into coming back to her udder so it can quickly grow into a 1500-pound animal (600-900kgs). The addictive adrenaline makes the baby calf come back to drink as much of this growth liquid as it can; and that is the work of Mother Nature, my friends.
So, ultimately, we are consuming something that is meant to be growth syrup for a baby cow, not for us, a completely different species. Diseases, cancers, and illnesses are at an all time high in human history, yet people do not consider the truth right in front of them by analyzing what’s on their plates.
We are hooked to the udder and there is no sign of detachment.
I’m not saying this to be an asshole, I’m saying this because knowing the hard truth now and making conscious decisions is far better than learning it at the end and wishing you had known sooner. Don’t you think?
Now, here’s that good news we talked about. There are loads of alternatives to butter, which vary in healthiness, but they do not put any cows in harms way or contribute to global warming nearly as much, and they can still make a piece of toast taste pretty damn delicious.
Give these a try instead:
- Homemade vegan butter recipe
- Homemade aquafaba butter
- I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
- Earth Balance
- Coconut Oil with butter flavor
- European Style Cultered VeganButter
Warning: Some non-dairy-looking spreads may contain milk solids, so always read the ingredients label. They are tricky bastards! Be careful.
As a former butter-a-holic, I tell you the absolute truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. YOU DESERVE IT. Life is still so unbelievably golden and my body is beyond grateful that I started telling it the truth. I really and truly hope you consider doing the same for this one, precious life that you have.
Let me know in the comments below how this article affected you.
- Is Butter Back? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Butter Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Total Mortality
- Pacific Standard article about the flaws in the study above: Saturated Fads: Butter is Back Only Because Our Biases Remain
- Center for Science in the Public Interest article also about the flaws in the study above: "Latest Study" on Butter Misleads Press, Public
- ODPHP 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans which states butter should be avoided as much as possible and provides alternatives
- Harvard Medical School: Butter vs. Margarine
The Sun article about Harvard University findings: ANOTHER U-CHURN: Butter is bad for you again as new study proves link between dairy and early death
NPR: Eating in Antarctica