Little to no association between butter consumption and chronic disease or total mortality

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Butter consumption was only weakly associated with total mortality, not associated with cardiovascular disease, and slightly inversely associated (protective) with diabetes, according to a new epidemiological study which analyzed the association of butter consumption with chronic disease and all-cause mortality. This systematic review and meta-analysis, published in PLOS ONE, was led by Tufts scientists including Laura Pimpin, Ph.D., former postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts in Boston, and senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the School.

Based on a systematic review and search of multiple online academic and medical databases, the researchers identified nine eligible research studies including 15 country-specific cohorts representing 636,151 unique individuals with a total of 6.5 million person-years of follow-up. Over the total follow-up period, the combined group of studies included 28,271 deaths, 9,783 cases of cardiovascular disease, and 23,954 cases of new-onset type 2 diabetes. The researchers combined the nine studies into a meta-analysis of relative risk.

Butter consumption was standardized across all nine studies to 14 grams/day, which corresponds to one U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated serving of butter (or roughly one tablespoon). Overall, the average butter consumption across the nine studies ranged from roughly one-third of a serving per day to 3.2 servings per day. The study found mostly small or insignificant associations of each daily serving of butter with total mortality, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

"Even though people who eat more butter generally have worse diets and lifestyles, it seemed to be pretty neutral overall," said Pimpin, now a data analyst in public health modelling for the UK Health Forum. "This suggests that butter may be a "middle-of-the-road" food: a more healthful choice than sugar or starch, such as the white bread or potato on which butter is commonly spread and which have been linked to higher risk of diabetes and ; and a worse choice than many margarines and cooking oils - those rich in healthy fats such as soybean, canola, flaxseed, and extra virgin olive oils - which would likely lower risk compared with either butter or refined grains, starches, and sugars."

"Overall, our results suggest that butter should neither be demonized nor considered "back" as a route to good health," said Mozaffarian. "More research is needed to better understand the observed potential lower risk of diabetes, which has also been suggested in some other studies of dairy fat. This could be real, or due to other factors linked to eating - our study does not prove cause-and-effect."


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More information: Pimpin L, Wu JHY, Haskelberg H, Del Gobbo L, Mozaffarian D (2016) Is Butter Back? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Butter Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Total Mortality. PLoS ONE 11(6): e0158118. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158118
Journal information: PLoS ONE

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Citation: Little to no association between butter consumption and chronic disease or total mortality (2016, June 29) retrieved 20 August 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-06-association-butter-consumption-chronic-disease.html
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Jun 30, 2016
Did I read this correctly about butter ...

"(being) a worse choice than many margarines ....... which would likely lower risk compared with either butter or refined grains, starches, and sugars."

I don't think so. Margarine is a synthetic factory fat and its alleged health benefit is a marketing scam.

Jun 30, 2016
I don't think so. Margarine is a synthetic factory fat and its alleged health benefit is a marketing scam.


You're thinking of trans-fats and partially hydrogenated oils.

Margarine does not necessarily contain trans fats. It depends on how it is made.

https://alphaalga...tion.pdf
Abstract: Modification of the solid phase lines of naturally occurring oils and fats is required to produce optimal hardstocks for fat continuous products like margarines, spreads and shortenings. Trans-free hardstocks are produced by combination of the trans-free modification techniques: full hydrogenation, interesterification, and fractionation together with the choice of the feedstock. The introduction of trans-free hardstocks in domestic margarines since 1995 has drastically reduced the daily trans intake by European consumers.

Jun 30, 2016
The reason why margarine is considered healthier than butter is because margarines made from vegetable oils don't have cholesterols.

The human body doesn't need any in the diet, because the liver produces cholesterols as needed, and excess intake beyond what the body uses leads to cardiovascular issues.

Athough you would need to eat about 200 grams of butter a day to exceed your recommended daily intake, which would give you about a third of the cholesterol you biologically need. Most people don't eat a stick of butter a day.

The problem with high cholesterol intake is that for some people the liver does not necessarily give up on producing cholesterol as you eat it, so you end up with an excess.

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