Butter used to be deemed one of the worst things you could spread on sliced bread, but no more.
Researchers at Tufts University recently published a meta-analysis in the journal PLOS ONE. Their findings demonstrate that the public's past concerns over butter are simply overblown.
The study: Researchers analyzed nine studies that looked at roughly 600,000 people. They discovered that the average butter consumption ranged from roughly one-third of a serving per day to 3.2 servings a day. (One serving of butter is 14 grams a day, which is a little under one tablespoon.)
The results: Butter isn't killing anyone. There's little or no association between butter consumption and death or chronic disease like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Daily butter eaters actually had a 4% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in four of the nine studies.
This doesn't mean that butter necessarily lowers the risk for developing diabetes. The link between butter and a lower risk in four of the studies may be because dairy fats can improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, Time reported.
"Overall, our results suggest that butter should neither be demonized nor considered 'back' as a route to good health," senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, said in a press release regarding the meta-analysis.
Butter should be neither demonized nor considered "back."
But, as author Laura Pimpin, former postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, pointed out in the press release, butter isn't the healthiest cooking oil out there. Foods such as margarines and soybean, canola, flaxseed, and extra virgin olive oils have healthy fats and can lower the risk of heart disease.
What should health-conscious restaurant goers spread on their table bread, anyway?
Butter might be healthier than the carb-heavy bread you spread it on, Pimpin noted. Sugar and starches "have been linked to higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease," she said.
So if you want to lick butter straight from the knife and forgo the tempting sourdough bread basket, your table manners might not be appreciated, but you could be doing your body a favor.
In sum: Butter isn't bad for you.
And for anyone confused, à la Regina George, butter is not a carb.