Is Butter Bad For You? New Research May Surprise You

If you were to take a lot of health gurus and diets at their word, you'd see butter as one of the principal antagonists in the battle against fatty acids and oils. FitDay declares that it leads to bad cholesterol. Mayo Clinic tells you to use butter substitutes for healthy recipes. It's like butter is the antichrist incarnate, smiting people down left and right with clogged arteries and heart issues, with its apocalyptic helpmeet Paula Deen sinfully persuading people to make fried butter balls and Krispy Kreme bread pudding. Except — sit down, guys, the surprise might shock you — it turns out butter might not be that bad for you after all.

Woah there, dear readers, that doesn't mean that you should be making fried butter balls. Here's the new skinny on fatty foods: a meta-analysis of 72 studies published in Annals of Internal Medicine says that there's no real link between saturated fat and heart disease. (Although other experts are just as quicky contradicting these new findings, so remember to do your research before running off to the grocery store.) The study's conclusion is that fats are a crucial part of making you feel satiated.

Carbohydrates can cause roller coaster-like swings in your glucose levels, which can affect your energy and appetite levels. Butter or other fats can balance those reactions. Once again, what this really seems to be is a call for a variety of foods. Eating fats along with proteins and sugars will lead to even-keel blood sugar levels — and won't make you binge on flavor-blasted Goldfish an hour down the road.

As PolicyMic explains, a lot of food companies have tried to project a healthier image by removing fat from their products. Except that doesn't make anybody happy in the long run — just hungry. Just like any other drastic change in your diet, cutting all ties with fat can have negative effects.

Delicious, but maybe not so filling.

New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman remarks that the true dangers to our diets are sugar and overly processed foods:

"You can go back to eating butter, if you haven't already. This doesn't mean you abandon fruit for beef and cheese; you just abandon fake food for real food."

Although Kerrygold is having a field day with this news, that doesn't mean going bananas on fried food and butter-soaked baked goods. It does mean examining your diet to make sure you're eating a good mix of food types. I guess that makes my mother's admonition that slathering so much butter on my toast would kill me false...but she was right when she told me to fill my plate with "a rainbow of colors" or something like that. At least, as long as those colors point to a variety of fat, protein, and sugar.

So what are you waiting for? Celebrate this news by whipping up some croissants or other French pastries. Just remember: everything in moderation!