Among all dairy products and derivatives, one of the most famous to spread on all kinds of food is butter. Creamy, delicious and nutritious, it is a fatty product that was obtained exclusively from cow’s milk, but it was migrating to different types of raw material.

In the following article we will delve into what butter is , what its nutritional properties, benefits and risks are, as well as a comparison of the different types to create a reference of which could be the best.

What is butter?

Butter, in general terms, is an emulsion of the water and oil type obtained from cream whipping with concentrations of 80% fat and approximately 16% water. The fat is usually pasteurized and subjected to processes such as fermentation or acidification before beating. (1)

To highlight: Butter is also known as shortening and, as we previously mentioned, it was originally an exclusively dairy product. It is important to note from this that the Codex Alimentarius defines under the name of this product a fatty derivative of a dairy nature in the form of an emulsion (two)

Butter nutritional properties

Thanks to the nature of butter, it has an important nutritional content that benefits its consumers. Therefore, the nutritional properties of butter will be mentioned below to allow its knowledge and use:

1. Vitamins and minerals

Its contribution of vitamins contains mainly vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin E, which act as antioxidants and reduce the aging of our cells. It also contains vitamin D and minerals such as selenium, calcium, sodium and phosphorus. (3)

2. Other compounds

Among its other compounds we can highlight its fat, cholesterol and water content. It does not contain carbohydrates, fiber or protein . Its caloric intake is approximately 36% of the recommended daily total.

What are the benefits of butter?

Butter, despite being a fatty product, confers certain benefits to the consumer’s body. They will be mentioned and described below, thus allowing their use:

1. Promotes digestive health

It happens that the type of fats that are present in butter contain glycosphingolipids , which are fatty acids that have the ability to protect the body against gastrointestinal infections. 

You should know: The amount of cholesterol that butter provides is also a benefit, because it protects the intestinal walls. (4)

2. Reduces arterial calcification

Dairy products in general, thanks to their vitamin K1 content, reduce the progression of coronary artery calcification (CAC), which is a factor of high morbidity and mortality in cardiovascular disorders. (5)

3. Contributes to thyroid health

Iodine is also found in the nutritional composition of butter, a mineral that favors the proper functioning of metabolism and therefore prevents thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

4. Increases physical energy

As we previously mentioned, butter has a significant caloric intake, so it has an energy value that allows an increase in the subject’s physical performance and energy. 

Note: This benefit will be variable depending on the nature of the butter and its raw material. Butter has become the name for a spreadable product of various origins such as peanut, pumpkin, coconut, and hazelnut butter (6)

What damage does butter cause?

As a product of a fatty nature, there are certain damages that are mainly caused by excessive consumption of butter. They will be mentioned below:

1. Raises cholesterol levels 

A constant and excessive consumption of butter can cause high concentrations of cholesterol in the body , which is why it alters and raises the levels, causing disorders and symptoms that will affect the individual, such as dizziness, dry mouth, swelling of the extremities and recurring headaches.

2. Increases the risk of heart and cerebrovascular diseases

High concentrations of fat in the body is a sufficient reason to increase the risk of certain diseases, mainly of cardiac and cerebrovascular origin. The risk will only exist in the face of excessive consumption by the individual thanks to the presence of saturated fats. (7)

3. Increases the risk of obesity

Oils and fats generally increase the risk of obesity in individuals, especially when saturated fatty acids are consumed, such as butter. It may seem harmless, but an indiscriminate excess could lead to weight gain and the risk of developing obesity. (8)

What is the healthiest butter?

Although butter was initially an exclusively dairy product, its organoleptic characteristics have allowed the development of similar ones with variants in raw materials. They will be mentioned and described below, thus allowing the determination of which would be the healthiest:

1. Peanut butter

Peanut butter or also known as peanut paste is made from roasted and ground peanuts , it can be sweet or salty. Hydrogenated fats and antioxidants are added for its preparation and it contains a low moisture content. 

To highlight: It is characterized by containing proteins and carbohydrates, as well as fiber and B vitamins (9)

2. Pumpkin butter

Pumpkin butter is a product quite similar to cream, only after boiling it must be processed with a vegetable oil of preference, to achieve the correct consistency of the product. 

You should know: Pumpkin contains fiber, protein, and carbohydrates, making it an incredible variable with nutritional quality. 

3. Hazelnut butter

Hazelnut butter is a fairly handmade product that undergoes a process similar to that of peanuts. It is also known as hazelnut cream and is characterized by being pasty, spreadable and with a very pleasant flavor. 

4. Coconut butter

Butter or also coconut butter is an extremely versatile product and of wide gastronomic benefit. It is the one with a less firm but also unique texture, as well as a fresh and very pleasant flavor and aroma. 

Note: It contains nutritional properties and benefits, since it comes from natural sources such as coconut meat and is characterized by being obtained from non-invasive procedures. 

Key Findings

  • Butter is an emulsion of the water and oil type that was initially just a dairy product exclusively from the cow.
  • Butter, based on its nutritional value, confers great benefits on the body , favoring digestive and thyroid health, even increasing physical energy and reducing the concentration of calcium in the arteries.
  • Ingesting this product in excessive amounts can cause certain health risks, so moderate and responsible consumption is recommended.
  • There are other varieties of butter based on its organoleptic characteristics, allowing the inclusion of raw materials with higher nutritional quality and healthier.

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