What is everyone’s problem with butter?

What is everyone’s problem with butter?

Is butter healthy? If you would have asked me that while growing up I would have said, “Duh. No.”

But I have a confession: I love butter. Real butter. You know, that yellowy goodness that comes from cream. I love it. I’ve even made my own butter. A number of times. The problem is that sometimes I feel all alone in my love affair. Thankfully, the internet is full of real foodies who also dream in butter.

I know other people who like butter and want to enjoy it, but they can’t love it because of the guilt they feel when they eat it. They will eat butter, but only after making a comment about a “heart attack on a plate” or some other publicly accepted cliché about the evils of butter. Because, when asked “is butter healthy” the socially acceptable thing is to say: No way.

What’s the deal? Why are people so anti-butter?

Maybe it’s the cholesterol. It will kill you, right?

Maybe it’s fat. Fat, fat, fat! Fat is bad. Fat makes us fat. Get rid of the fat! Butter be gone!!!!

Maybe it’s not just the fat, but the saturated fat. You know, the leaders of the bad guys.

So you should probably avoid it, right?

That’s what the nutrition world would have you believe. In fact, I’ve recently noticed the following article making the rounds on Pinterest:

The actual image from the horrible Better Homes and Gardens article

It’s a Better Homes and Garden “eat this not that” piece. This particular one gives all sort of “great” (ugh!) substitutions in baking. You know, like swapping out a real ingredient (butter) for a highly processed, full of fake-garbage one. Yeah, like marshmallow cream.



I get so angry when I see things like this. Clearly this is a clever marketing ploy by the company of the gross marshmallow goo. But the problem is people believe it. Good people. REALLY good people. People trying to get healthy. People who are doing their best to feed their kids right. People who have been battling their weight for years wondering just how much “lower” they can make their low-fat diet. People who believe everything that the disastrous food pyramid says they should do.

I’m gearing up to do a whole post on why you should not be afraid of real fats. But until then, can I just talk a little bit about why you (yes, YOU!) should absolutely, positively have NO FEAR of butter?

Is Butter Healthy? YES!

Check out these butter facts:

  • Butter has been around for thousands of years—going back to when our ancestors first started domesticating animals. In fact, the first written reference to butter was found on a 4500- year old limestone tablet illustrating how butter was made.  (1)
  • People around the globe have valued butter for its life-sustaining properties.

When Dr. Weston Price studied native diets in the 1930’s he found that butter was a staple in the diets of many supremely healthy peoples. Isolated Swiss villagers placed a bowl of butter on their church altars, set a wick in it, and let it burn throughout the year as a sign of divinity in the butter. Arab groups also put a high value on butter, especially deep yellow-orange butter from livestock feeding on green grass in the spring and fall. American folk wisdom recognized that children raised on butter were robust and sturdy; but that children given skim milk during their growing years were pale and thin, with “pinched” faces (2).

  • Butter is rich in trace minerals, especially selenium, a powerful antioxidant. Ounce for ounce, butter has more selenium per gram than either whole wheat or garlic (3).
  • Butter also supplies iodine, needed by the thyroid gland (as well as vitamin A, also needed by the thyroid gland) (3).
  • Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which gives excellent protection against cancer. Range-fed cows produce especially high levels of CLA as opposed to “stall fed” cattle (3).
  • Butter is rich in short and medium chain fatty acid chains that have strong anti-tumor effects. Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid which gives excellent protection against cancer (2).

But doesn’t butter cause heart disease?

Yeah, that’s a myth. A big one, too. Consider this:

Heart disease was rare in America at the turn of the century. Between 1920 and 1960, the incidence of heart disease rose precipitously to become America’s number one killer. During the same period butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in statistics to conclude that butter is not a cause (2).

  • Butter is America’s best and most easily absorbed source of vitamin A. Consider that vitamin A is needed for the health of the thyroid and adrenal glands, both of which play a role in maintaining the proper functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system.
  • Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
  • Butter also contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries.
  • Butter has been shown to help with growth and development, gastrointestinal health, arthritis, and helps protect the immune system.
  • Butter is also a good dietary source cholesterol.

But isn’t cholesterol bad?

Is butter healthy? Depends who you ask. Time to sift through the lies and get to the truth about butter.In a nutshell, no. Our bodies need cholesterol. A lot. In fact, high cholesterol levels are associated with longevity. Perhaps this is the real reason the French outlive us, not red wine (4).

Cholesterol is not the problem – it is the body’s way of solving a problem. Lowering cholesterol is just addressing a symptom and putting the body further out of balance. Too low of cholesterol is bad. The total cholesterol number is not a good indicator of heart disease risk factor despite what you may have heard from your doctor, but a sign of ongoing inflammation in the body. Real Fat is not the culprit – grains, sugars, and vegetable oils are much worse (5).

In fact, too low of cholesterol can harm you:

  1. The sex hormones are made from cholesterol. Lowered cholesterol often results in decreased libido and increased infertility and miscarriage.
  2. Sixty percent of the brain is made of cholesterol! Levels under 180 are associated with increases in depression, dementia and mental illness.
  3. Cholesterol is not a fat, but is a type of steroid alcohol. It moves at lightening speed. In fact, there is more cholesterol in muscle meat than in fat!
  4. Cholesterol is used to repair tissue throughout the body.

    Blaming cholesterol for clogging arteries is like blaming a policeman for a bank robbery just because he showed up after the crime has taken place. Cholesterol happens to be the last substance the body sends out to rescue the damaged artery (4).

Want to learn more about why you need cholesterol: Check out this article or this book.

Is all butter created equal?

It’s my opinion that where the butter comes from (and how the animals were treated) do affect the quality of the product (including vitamin content). When looking for good quality butter, raw and cultured is best. This might be hard to find, however. Organic butter is your next best thing, with store-bought butter being at the bottom. But even if you can’t afford (or find) quality butter, commercial butter still outshines the butter “alternatives” any day. What alternatives am I talking about? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.

So what do you think… is butter healthy? 



  1. http://bodyecology.com/articles/benefits_of_real_butter.php
  2. http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/why-butter-is-better
  3. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2001/03/31/butter.aspx
  4. http://chriskresser.com/the-diet-heart-myth-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-are-not-the-enemy/



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About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie


  1. Sarah

    Confession: I ate butter today for the first time in years. What was I thinking?! I should have had some marshmallow creme! Oh, and while I’m confessing, I bought raw milk yesterday… P.S. What kind of butter do you like to buy? I care about how the animals are treated.

    1. Post author

      Oh you’ll have to tell me what you think of raw milk. Where did you buy yours? The Real Food Market?

      I buy Organic Valley cultured butter from the Real Foods Market. :)

      1. Sarah

        Oh good. That’s the kind of butter I got. I LOVE raw milk. And I have never, ever liked milk before. I get it from Real Foods.

        1. Post author

          Awesome! I think we should get a group together one of these days and just reconnect. There seems to be several of us on this journey. What do you think?

  2. Melissa

    I know the low fat post is coming… and I do have to say, I started losing weight when I started eating more full-fat foods. That included butter. I feel healthier too. Low-fat = higher sugar intake. The diabetic in me should have figured that out sooner, huh?

    1. Post author

      I know! When I started drinking whole raw milk, lots of butter, more eggs, etc. the weight just came off. Crazy awesome. :)

  3. Katie

    I was JUST talking to my sister in law about this. She is super fit, lean, and active. She eats full fat. She says it fills her up more. I was shocked. I’m still on fat free milk, fat free plain yogurt etc because I grew up thinking that was healthy.

    I’m so excited for the “fatty” post. :)

    (Thanks for helping those of us going through the change…you know, the non-toxic home, whole food, real living, breathing and moving more, centering and connecting change.)

    1. Post author

      You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by.

      I was totally the same… thought I was doing myself a favor with fat-free stuff. Crazy how different I think now.

      I am hoping to get the “fatty post” up next week. 😉

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  7. Sarah @ ActivityHero

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for posting this! So many people are so misguided as to what’s good and what’s bad. I saw an episode recently of Dr. Oz that advised people looking for a “guilt-free treat” to stick a tub of Cool Whip in their freezer and eat it. Are you kidding me? Hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring, and this is supposed to be guilt-free? We think we’re being healthy by buying low fat chips, sugar free cookies, and other nasty things made in labs somewhere instead of eating the things that our ancestors have been eating for hundreds of years like fruit, vegetables, and even–you guessed it–BUTTER! It’s not the butter making us fat, it’s the fact that we’re smearing it on jumbo sized rolls with hydrogenated oils and artificial flavors!

    Whew. Sorry, got a little carried away there.

    1. Post author

      No need for apologies here. :) I’m all for food rants.

      I think so many people have been brain washed into thinking that calories is the end all to health. It’s really sad. I grew up in a family that always used margarine and low fat milk. Ugh! I can’t tell you the difference I felt (and the weight I loss) when I got rid of that garbage and starting eating the good stuff.

  8. Traci

    I eat real butter and love it! I gave up dieting and started eating real food… and much more veggies. The weight is coming off steadily, now. I just hate it that my state will not allow the selling of raw milk. I can drive a state over and get it (which takes a few hours) but I don’t. I love, love, love butter! :)

    1. Post author

      I know. I feel really fortunate that I have access to good, clean raw milk within a 15 minute drive. Truly grateful. So silly (the nice way of putting it) what our government thinks is safe, isn’t it?

  9. Rayne Tsering

    when you are talking about the health history of butter, you are talking about RAW, not pasteurized butter. Pastuerized dairy products are poison. Get your butter RAW and stop listening to the corporate fearmongering that tells you it’s going to give you food poisoning. If you eat pasteurized butter you are going to have health problems.

    1. Post author

      Hi Rayne,

      I totally am on board with you on the raw butter. We love our raw diary products. But I also know that for a lot of people cost can be an issue (or just finding raw butter or raw milk to make it is impossible for some). I still think that pasteurized butter is better than margarine, even if it’s not ideal. But yet, raw is the way to go if you can find it! Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Stephanie @ Naturally Mindful

    Although I’ve never had to diet and never fell victim to the “fat free” scam, I did believe full fat was the enemy. I’ve been using organic butter, coconut oil, drinking whole non-homogenized milk, eating eggs freely (pastured eggs) for almost a year now and I find that one eats less rather than eating a whole tub of the fake butter in one sitting because “it’s not real butter!” ha ha ha. Great post, sharing this like crazy!

    1. Post author

      Thanks, Stephanie! I feel like we have a similar history. I was never fully fat-free, but I thought people who drank whole milk were weird. Looks like I’m the ultimate weirdo now. And I love it.

  11. Chandra R

    I have a chicken in the oven right now, smothered in butter just as my culinary hero Julia Childs said to do. The sweet potatoes and onion sharing his roasting pan – also buttered to the point of near drowning. I buy Kerrygold 10-15 lbs at a time from U.S. Wellness Meats because it is cheaper from them than at my local markets. Raw, sadly, is out of the question for me because I live in a state where raw dairy is criminalized. But I can at least manage grass-fed, and I go through TONS of it. As did Mrs. Childs. Love her!

  12. Jen

    Butter! So much to be said about this golden goodness! The BHG article about the fluff is just appalling and ridiculous. Even though I think margarine is HORRIBLE and extremely bad for you it’s less of a leap for the average person to think that is a healthier option. Total marketing. Not sure people even recognize this anymore. Sad.

    1. Post author

      I totally agree. We are so sucked into the marketing ploy that we don’t even realize what’s real anymore.

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  15. Lyza @ Chic Shades of Green

    I love butter! I grew up putting lots of butter on everything. Then I started believing all the hype about low-fat being good for you, so I severely limited my butter intake. I don’t think I ever thought of margarine as being a healthier alternative until they came out with non-hydronated ones, still I rarely used it. Anyway, with my new set of smarts over the last couple years, I have reacquainted myself with my love affair with butter and in the past few weeks I have been making it from raw cream. I’m not going to feel guilty now if I just eat a spoonful of it. I read that some people even use it in coffee. I’m sharing this on Facebook. I found your link on Frugally Sustainable.

  16. Mary

    Great post, again! We eat REAL organic butter here, none of that margarine, country crotch or spray-on crap here!
    And we dont buy anything with hydrodgenated oils. Its horrible for your body, imagine squeezing crisco in your hand, thats what it does to your insides. Your body doesnt know how to absorb it. It does know how to absorb real butter.

  17. Martine

    Thank you for this, I have been saying it for years. Same goes for sugar over artificial sweeteners in my opinion, why swap a natural product for something manufactured from chemicals and call it healthy, there is no logic.
    My favourite no hassle dinner .. baked potatoes and lashings of butter:-)

      1. Post author

        Actually, sugar CAN be VERY natural. What do you think is in fruit? Or breastmilk? Lots of natural sugars. Just like fat, it’s they type of sugar and how it’s processed (or better yet, NOT processed) that matters.

  18. Jill

    I make no apologies for my love of butter. My favorite food quote: When it comes to the choice of butter or margarine, I trust cows more than I trust chemists”. Forgot who said it.

    But I do get a lot of disgusted looks at parties when I slab the butter on my bread – – by people who are chugging massive amounts of beer, eating non-stop out of the potato chip bowl, pouring their 3 year olds huge glasses of soda water, and proclaiming that the only thing carrots are good for is getting the dip into your mouth.

    And I’m supposed to feel bad about butter? I don’t think so!

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  20. Tanya

    Thank you for the great post. Instead of New Years Resolutions(as they don’t work) I have the last 5 years taken “What I grew up thinking was healthy” out of the house completely. Artifical Sweetners, Sugar free and fat free sweets( even though I am a Professional Pastry Chef) , non-fat dairy including fat free cheese, you get the idea.
    Butter, Eggs, Cheese, Bacon( not the turkey kind),etc.
    Wow do I feel great! I have a juicer where I drink a green glass everyday, usually before bed. The past 5.5 years my body went through medical hell as I put it. So besides trying to rid my system of all the medications and treatments so that I can feel healthy again. Real food from reputable sources, getting my veggies from a co-op and hiking,snow shoeing, sking, kayaking and love being outdoors in the mountains has been my lifeline back from having my arm/shoulder amputated, radical right mascetomy, allergies including the outdoors, medications and severe food allergies and cancer!
    I absolutely LOVE reading your blog! Thank You!

    : ) peace

    1. Post author

      Thanks, Tanya! Sounds like you’ve been through an amazing journey of health as well. Wow. What an inspiration. Than you for sharing.


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  22. Barbara Johnson

    Many years ago I learned from a dairy farmer, that real butter is the only way to go. Although all the scientific stuff wasn’t in the explanation, it made common sense. I stopped using margarine (yuck) even while it was being touted as better than butter. I also learned that you can leave butter out of the fridge for long periods of time. (Unless the woodstove heat is melting it!) This article is great….thank you for it. Holiday cookie time is approaching and, as usual, I’ll be using POUNDS of butter in all of my baking. Yayyyyyy!! Peace, all.

    1. Post author

      Yes! I love it. And we’ve been leaving our butter out at room temperature for several months now. Why haven’t I done that before!? :)

      1. Laura

        I’m so glad I found your site. I’ve felt very alone and, well, ridiculed. I am lean and fit. Always have been and I love food. I eat the entire egg, not just the whites. I eat bacon. I render my own lard and dare to cook with it. I definitely believe in whole milk. They change the milk so much now that many people develop reactions to it and are not able to obtain its benefits. It’s bad enough that it is homogenized, removing nutrition and enzymes, then when they reduce the fat, it knocks the fat/sugar ratio off, and the excess sugars turns to fat. So, yes whole and raw, when you can get it. Butter, don’t get me started on butter [yum]. I also grow a garden, my children grew up grazing while they played outside. I love a great piece of meat [difficult to find], whether it is ham, lamb, beef, poultry or fish. I do not like pre-packaged foods. I cook like my grandmother did. Full course meals. That includes desserts. My children’s tummies are satisfied. They get a big kick out of going to school with their homemade lunches because all of the kids want what they have. They share as much as they can, when and if it is allowed, a lot of the time the schools don’t even allow them to share. This nation is starving their children and they do not know it. The new national lunch law is further starving the children. It is not enough. If we give our bodies what our bodies need to grow, develop, think and function then we won’t over-eat in an unconscious attempt to obtain the nutrition our bodies are craving. We stop eating when we are satisfied.
        ~Thank you for being out there…

        1. Aquaria

          Oh for pity’s sake!

          Homogenization is nothing more than the mixing up of the milk from different breeds, to have one sorta standardized product. That has NO effect on the quality of the milk.

          You’re surely confusing it with pasteurization, which is the heating process that removes assorted pathogens from milk.

          Me, I don’t like the idea of risking TB, staph, e coli, brucellosis, scarlet fever, diphtheria and more, just because drinking unpasteurized (read: disease-riddled) milk will supposedly make me healthier than thou.

  23. Gina

    I just made my first batch of raw butter and it tastes amazing!!! It’s a bit of an issues in Australia, as raw milk is illegal, and can only be sold “for cosmetic purposes”. Anyway, I bought my “bath cream” from the same guys I get my “bath milk” from, and it took me literally 4 minutes to make raw butter!!! Next time, I’ll try culturing the cream before making it…:)

  24. Donna

    Only butter on my table! Margarine was developed to fatten turkeys. Apparently it sickened the turkeys so they added yellow food dye and sold it to people! Would love to try raw milk. Whole foods opened near me so……on my list! Totally agree with this blog……no artificial sweetener here. Coconut palm sugar is awesome!

    1. Aquaria

      I think you people are really funny.

      It’s bad to have artificial sweetener, but it’s good to have refined sugar that is as processed and nasty as artificial sweeteners.

      Makes totes sense.

      Hint: Sugar is NOT natural, and if you’d bother to look up how it’s processed, you’d stop using it.

      The only sugar that might–MIGHT–be somewhat less harmful to you is raw. But not really.

      Sugar is poison. The sooner people realize that, the healthier we’ll all be.

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  26. Brenda

    I <3 <3 <3 Butter!!! I was fortunate enough to have a father that knew about the evils of margerine and encouraged me to use butter in the early years of raising my own family and so I did. Thirty-five years later, it's only been till recently that I learned about the benifits of raw dairy/grass fed which I'm not able to buy localy. Fortunately, I am able to buy Kerrygold at my local grocery so I am happy for that. Great article though! Didn't take me long to post this one on my FB.

  27. Carol

    I think that the “fat-free” stuff should be consumed by those who have a low tolerance for “fatty” foods…ie: people with no gall bladder or people who’ve had stomach and or intestine surgeries. If you are trying to lose weight, sorry to say, but, the fat free stuff will hinder your progress. This article is good! BUTTER IS BETTER!

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  29. mel

    tho’t I’d share:

    I was in a cardiologist office at 38 y/o with a strange rhythm that I’ve actually taken care of myself, without any meds and with a change of diet. Through all the testing, I saw that my “bad” cholesterol level was so extremely low, it might have just killed me — it was 40 — my cardiologist said he had NEVER EVER seen a reading so low; after hearing that I did research and the Lord gave me uninvited knowledge through the Dr. Phil show (which was somewhat new back then) …his wife did a few days on is show regarding peri-menopause and how it affects your vital organs. Low cholesterol was a HUGE issue to women’s health. I am living proof that living with low (EXTREMELY low) cholesterol is incredibly unhealthy. I was thin, in very good shape and could’ve died living that way. I may have looked decent, but felt horrible. I am 10 years older now and of course I’m a little heavier than I was back then, but I’m healthier and feel better. I’m living proof, thankfully! of ‘don’t believe everything you read or what your doc tells you’ … question everything you are unsure about and do a LOT of research. It may just save your life.

  30. Carol P. Heller

    I’m in “crunchie hippie” love with your website! Not only are you helping others find non-toxic alternatives, YOU LOVE BUTTER TOO! Keep up the great work and I will keep reading and following.

  31. Maria

    Thank you for this information! I love butter, have used it all my life, but am now beginning to eat vegan due to health problems. Do you know of a good plant-based alternative to butter? Maybe coconut butter? Just trying to educate myself. Thank you!

    1. Post author

      I’d definitely make sure you have coconut oil or coconut butter in your diet. Coconut oil is a great alternative for cooking… it’s also great raw but very different from butter. :)

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  35. Stephanie

    What about sweet cream butter? (Land O Lakes) I can eat this off a spoon but my sister has to stop me because she says “Stop it! That’s disgusting and you’re gonna get sick!”

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      Sweet cream butter should just great assuming the only ingredient is cream and maybe salt. Obviously organic (and raw) is best as you will avoid any pesticides/toxins that are stored in the fat, but butter will always be better than margarine or vegetable oils. :)

  36. Kate

    Butter!!! I’ve been having about 2 tbs of butter (and MCT oil…the good stuff in coconut oil) in my coffee every morning. It keeps me full until around 1pm! It’s called Bulletproof Coffee..google it!

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I’ve heard of bullet proof coffee… a very interesting idea. I’m actually not a coffee drinker, but I am a butter lover. :)

  37. Tiffany

    Thank you so much for this post!
    I’m always on the lookout for the best quality butter I can afford. I can’t get my hands on any raw organic grass fed cultured butter in BC Canada because it’s illegal here. The best I can get is butter from grass fed cows that are supplemented with organic grains in the winter or when the weather is not suitable for the cows to be out. It is also on its way to become certified organic and a plus is that it is cultured. Unfortunately, this butter is expensive! It’s $10.99 plus tax for just a small 200g block! I cannot afford that because I go through quite a lot of butter everyday and I have many other foods that I buy that is on the higher price like a dozen pastured eggs for $7. The second best I can get is just regular organic butter from Whole Foods Market. I’ve asked them before about whether the cows are grass fed and they replied that they are grass fed when it’s weather permitting but they usually get organic grains as well in the winter when they can’t go out on pasture. I’ve also noticed that this organic butter isn’t as deep yellow in color when compared to the first butter I mentioned above. However, my last option is to cross the border to Bellingham, WA and get me some Kerrygold butter from Trader Joe’s. I’ve heard many great reviews about Kerrygold butter since it’s grass fed. But what really worries me is that Kerrygold does supplement their cows with grains including soy and corn. They say that some of their feed are imported from the States and they cannot guarantee whether or not the feed is GMO free. My guess is that it’s probably not GMO free since so many crops like corn and soy are GMOs in North America. I avoid all GMOs and I don’t know whether it’s safe or not to consume Kerrygold butter everyday to get it’s nutrients. What do you think will be the best choice for me? May I also ask what brand of butter you use?

    Sorry for the long post and thank you again!

    1. Post author
      Robin Konie

      I enjoy Kerrygold and think it’s a much better alternative to most commercial butters out there. I usually get an organic cultured butter… there are a couple of brands I trust. If I had more money I’d really go out of my way for raw and grass-fed but we use way too much butter! 😉

  38. Armommi

    Kerrygold is my favorite. It’s grass-fed pastured and provided by family farmers in a cooperative. If you’re lucky enough to find raw milk , it takes minutes to make your own butter……..and a fun family project.

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