Butter is a miracle food when it comes to cooking, greatly enhancing both the taste and texture of savory and sweet dishes alike. However its high fat and calorie count makes it a bad option for dieters or people at risk for certain diseases.
- ...contains various vitamins. Butter naturally contains vitamins D, E and K, and is particularly high in vitamin A, with 360 milligrams per 100 gram serving. Vitamin A plays in integral role in skin and vision health.
- ...is low in lactose. Even the lactose intolerant can generally eat butter: 100 grams contain only about 0.6 grams of lactose on average, considered in the "lactose-free" range.
- ...is high in calcium. 100 gram serving of butter contains 115 milligrams of calcium.
- ...is high in cholesterol. 100 grams of butter contains about 240 milligrams of cholesterol, which can help cause circulatory and heart diseases.
- ...has tons of calories. It’s something we all know: If you want to lose weight, consume this calorie-heavy ingredient in moderation.
- ...contains many saturated fatty acids. The milk fat in butter is composed almost exclusively of saturated fatty acids. In smaller quantities, this is not necessarily a problem for healthy people. However, those who are already under treatment for cardiovascular diseases should rarely treat themselves to butter.
What You Should Know About Butter
Of course butter, like any fat, provides a lot of energy, with 740 calories per 100 grams. But for many people, the cholesterol content of butter is more problematic than the amount of calories. At 230 milligrams, butter contains more than three and a half times as much cholesterol as a rump steak or full-fat cheese.
Butter is also very high in different types of fat, containing about two thirds saturated and almost one third monounsaturated fatty acids. The particularly useful polyunsaturated fatty acids are only present in butter in traces. Although the fat-soluble vitamins A and D are present in butter in good quantities, vitamin E, which is abundant in many vegetable oils and important for fat metabolism, is not found in butter. Like all edible fats, butter does not contain fiber.
How Healthy Is Butter?
If you come from a family where heart and circulation diseases are common or if you already have diabetes, high blood pressure or high fat or cholesterol levels, you should use butter sparingly or even switch completely from butter to margarine or other plant-based subtitues. If you prefer to spread butter on your bread despite your metabolic problems, it is best not to use more than 10 to 20 grams of butter per day, use vegetable oils for cooking, avoid fatty meat and sausage products and eat plenty of wholemeal cereals and vegetables instead.