The Danish Butter Industry Would Like You to Know That Butter Is Bad for You
According to a recent study, butter is doing nothing good for your arteries. Oddly enough, that study was sponsored by the butter industry.
Photo via Flickr user tarale
Unless you're still sticking to a 1990s-era food pyramid and separating the skin from your poached chicken breast, you've probably heard the joyous news that fat is back on the menu. And we're not just talking about those "healthy" unsaturated fats found in olive oil and the like. Science has also given the saturated stuff the green light: lard, bacon, marrow, whatever.
That's because a slew of studies over the past several years have shown that our mortal fear of fat is largely unfounded—and while it does have plenty of effects on human health, it's not quite as deadly for us as we previously thought. Hell, it might even be good for you.
Except for butter. According to a recent study, butter is doing nothing good for your arteries. The research, recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that even moderate butter intake raises both total cholesterol levels and LDL (or "bad") cholesterol levels more than heart-healthy olive oil.
Interestingly, however, is that the study was funded by the Danish Dairy Research Foundation—which, yes, is part of the butter industry—presumably in an effort to prove butter's healthfulness.
Did the Danish butter industry just shoot itself in its buttery foot? Probably not, but it does represent a rare case in which a food industry has sponsored a study that doesn't make it look good.
The Washington Post spoke to food politics expert Marion Nestle, who has been tracking food industry-funded studies such as these for the past several years. "The purpose of a lot of these studies is to show that a food is a superfood so an industry can market it," she told the paper. "It looks like science, but it's not. It's business first."
The takeaway? Unless you're the kind to throw caution to the wind and smear butter on your every meal, always read that fine print.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- Danish Dairy Research Foundation
- Marion Nestle