The Benefits of Butter


“I’ve been treating eating disorders (ED’s) and obesity for nearly 25 years and have always had good outcomes.  My rate of success improved dramatically, however, when I discovered the critical role that processed food plays in causing as well as in preventing recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, (a combination of the two) Binge Eating Disorder (BED,) Emotional Eating and Obesity. To this end, I find it of great importance to provide both my patients and readers with relevant nutrition information to aid in their recovery. You can view all my Nutrition, Fitness, and Health articles here.

For decades, we have been told that saturated fats are unhealthy, the root cause of the epidemic of heart disease, obesity and high cholesterol that is plaguing our society. I can’t help but to wonder where this theory originated from and if there is really any truth to it? Can something my own grandparents regularly incorporated into their diet really be the cause of many of the health issues that are afflicting our nation?

When it was first announced that saturated fats were unhealthy, the soybean industry saw an opportunity for profit. They spent millions of dollars on an anti-saturated fat campaign, which resulted in butter and other saturated fats being viewed as “evil villains” that had no place in our diet. We were convinced that in order to attain optimal health, we should stop consuming butter and start consuming (often soy-based) margarine. The soybean industry wasn’t the only industry to profit off of this campaign, producers of America’s other main crops (cotton and corn) also benefited, as the majority of margarine is primarily composed of cottonseed, corn and soy oil.

The Weston A Price Foundation has done extensive research about these claims that saturated fats, like butter, have a negative effect on our health. Their research demonstrated that butter actually contains ingredients that PREVENT heart disease. They found that margarine INCREASES the risk of heart disease, due to the free-radicals that are generated during the process of producing margarine. Research by the Medical Research Council demonstrated that men who incorporate butter into their diets ran half the risk of developing heart disease than those who used margarine. Their research also demonstrated that butter does not cause weight gain. To the contrary, margarine is much more likely to result in weight gain because it lacks so many important nutrients, resulting in “cravings and bingeing.”

Butter, especially grassfed butter, is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2. It is also somewhat unique in the fact that it contains all of these vitamins co-factors that are required for our bodies to experience optimal benefit. Depending on the source of the butter, the concentration of these vitamins will vary. As a general rule, the more yellow the butter, the more concentrated the nutrients. Also, grassfed butter will typically be higher in nutrient content in the Spring and Autumn when the grass is greenest.

Vitamin A (or retinol) from butter is more easily absorbed by the body than from any other dietary source. Vitamin A is a ‘catalyst’, in that it helps our body to absorb other minerals. Since it is a fairly stable vitamin, little to no damage is done during the pasteurization of butter. Some of the main health benefits of vitamin A include:

  • it strengthens the immune system
  • it promotes good eye health
  • it maintains healthy bones and teeth
  • it prevents urinary stones
  • it reduces the risk of developing cancer
  • it improves the health of our skin
  • it improves reproductive health

Vitamin D is essential to obtaining maximum health. Much like Vitamin A, it serves as a catalyst in the absorption of minerals. Some of the health benefits of Vitamin D include:

  • it improves the health of our skin
  • it strengthens the immune system
  • it maintains healthy bones and teeth
  • it prevents osteomalacia and rickets
  • it improves cardiovascular health
  • it protects against osteoporosis and arthritis
  • it improves mental health
  • assists many bodily processes, such as regulating blood pressure, reducing muscle spasms, helps in cell formation, regulating insulin secretion

‘Activator X’, which is now known to be vitamin K2 was discovered by Dr Weston A Price in 1945. Grainfed butter is only a moderate source of this vitamin, grassfed butter contains up to 50 times more vitamin K2. This is because grass and other leafy greens contain vitamin K1, which is converted into vitamin K2 during the fermentation process that occurs in the cows stomach. Corn-based feed contains little vitamin K1 (0.3 µg/100 grams, some leafy greens contain more than 800µg/100 grams). Vitamins A, D and K all work together in our bodies. When we ingest foods containing vitamin A and vitamin D, a signal is sent to our cells to create certain proteins, vitamin K then activates these proteins. Vitamin K2 also plays a major role in:

  • the prevention of tooth decay
  • growth and development
  • reproduction
  • protection against heart disease
  • brain function

Vitamin E has many biological functions, it’s anti-oxidant function is the most well-known. In addition to it’s anti-oxidant content, vitamin e:

  • Promotes heart health
  • Promotes respiratory health
  • Helps with normal PMS symptoms
  • Supports circulation
  • Supports prostate and breast health
  • Is good for your brain
  • May help hot flashes in menopausal women

Butter possesses many other health benefits beyond it’s content of vitamins A, D, E and K2.

  • Butter is a good sources of short and medium chain triglycerides (these are the types of fat that cannot be stored in adipose tissue)
  • Butter contains the medium chain triglyceride, lauric acid. There are only two dietary choices when it comes to lauric acid: small amounts of butter or large amounts of coconut oil
  • Butter contains the short chain triglyceride, butyric acid. This short chain triglyceride is only found in butter
  • Grassfed butter contains a perfect balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Grassfed butter is an excellent source of CLA. It contains 300-500 times more CLA than grainfed butter
  • Butter contains lecithin, which helps the body utilize cholesterol and other components of fat
  • It is an excellent source of many trace minerals, including manganese, zinc, chromium and iodine.

I often make my own butter, using whipping cream from Snowville Creamery. The Snowville Creamery website provides directions on how to make it:

It is best to start with cream at about 55-60 F.

There are many ways to churn butter, but any form of agitation will cause the butter to form. The easiest way is to pour cream into a food processor up to the liquid fill line and run the processor beyond whipped cream until the butter separates from the buttermilk. You can also use a mixer, a hand whisk, or put cream in a jar and shake it.

Once the butter has separated from the buttermilk, pour the butter and milk into a strainer or colander. The milk that pours off of the butter is good to drink or use for cooking.

The butter that is retained in the strainer should be rinsed with cool water and repeatedly kneaded with a wooden spoon until all the milk is expelled and the water runs clear.

The butter can then be placed into a butter mold or bowl. For salted butter, add salt before pressing. Enjoy!

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. //’


Why Butter is Better – Weston A Price
The Skinny on Fats – Weston A Price
Why Butter is Better – Mercola
Grass Fed Butter – Choosing a Better Butter
On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor – Weston A Price
7 Health Benefits of Vitamin A
Benefits of Vitamin E
Health Benefits of Vitamin D

1 thought on “The Benefits of Butter

  1. Pingback: Characteristics of The Traditional Diet (as discovered by Dr. Weston A Price) « Eating Disorder Pro

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