London-Despite decades on the list of “bad” fats that harm the heart, butter, on its own, is not linked to increased risk of heart disease after all, according to a recent analysis of existing research.
Eating more butter was even weakly tied to a lower risk of diabetes, the authors found.
Some people hold that butter is a “villain” while others think it is a superfood of sorts, and this review supports neither argument, said senior author Dariush Mozaffarian of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.
“The findings really suggest butter is neither of those things, whether you eat a lot or none at all, there’s not a big difference,” he told Reuters Health.
The authors reviewed nine large studies including a total of more than 600,000 people who reported what they ate and were followed over time. Overall, 28,000 people died during the studied periods, almost 10,000 people developed cardiovascular disease and 24,000 were diagnosed with diabetes.
Consumption of butter among people in the studies ranged from none to a tablespoon (14 grams) or more daily.
Researchers found a very small increased risk of dying from any cause based on how much butter people ate. For every additional tablespoon, risk rose by 1 percent compared to people who didn’t eat butter. But that difference is so small it could be due to chance.
Risk for heart attacks, strokes and overall cardiovascular disease was similar regardless of butter intake, according to the results in PLoS ONE.
Each additional tablespoon of butter consumed was tied to a 4 percent lower risk of developing diabetes.
“Butter’s net health effect is pretty neutral,” Mozaffarian said. Other daily dietary choices, like getting enough fruit and vegetables, may be more important for your health, he said.