Consuming butter is not linked to a higher risk for heart disease and might be slightly protective against type 2 diabetes, according to a new study that included more than 600,000 subjects.
The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts in Boston analyzed nine papers that included more than 600,000 people in 15 countries since 2005, and concluded that butter was nutritionally better than sugar, but not as good as olive oil, TIME has reported.
The findings add to a growing school of thought that saturated fats aren’t the evil they were once thought, that a low-fat diet may be misguided, and even that cutting back of fats may be “doing more harm than good”, TIME wrote.
Study author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian added that the findings don’t necessarily conclude that butter is a health food, but that “it doesn’t seem to be hugely harmful or beneficial”.
“In my mind, saturated fat is kind of neutral overall,” Mozaffarian says. “Vegetable oils and fruits and nuts are healthier than butter, but on the other hand, low-fat turkey meat or a bagel or cornflakes or soda is worse for you than butter.”
The study looked at people’s butter consumption and their risk of chronic disease and found no link to heart disease.
In the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, in four of the nine studies, people who ate butter daily had a 4 per cent lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes, which the study believes may be partly due to the fact that dairy fat also contains monounsaturated fats that can improve blood sugars.
TIME reported that study would add to the turning tide against the accepted wisdom that fat was evil, or as TIME reported in 2014, was “the most vilified nutrient in the American diet”, as a greater focus goes on the harmful effects of sugar consumption.
“This was despite the scientific evidence showing it didn’t harm health or cause weight gain” when consumed in moderation, the magazine reported.