Should You Worry About the Calories in Butter?

Should You Worry About the Calories in Butter?

If you’re one of those who has switched over to margarine from butter, you have probably done it to stop consuming those extra calories.

Research has shown butter’s fatty content to be detrimental to health. Not only have people begun associating it with obesity but also with serious cardiovascular diseases. As a result, lesser people are now looking at butter for daily use.

That being said, butter remains one of the key elements of our diets. Some of us have it during breakfast with bread, while others like to use it as an extra flavor when cooking certain dishes. The truth is that butter cannot do serious harm to you if you have it in moderation.

Knowing how many calories there are in butter can help you decide how much of the product you can consume.

Nutritional Facts of Butter:

Living without butter entirely can prove to be a difficult task. If you are trying to understand the importance of butter in your usual diet, then you need to understand its nutritional qualities first.

Butter marketed by different brands often has different quantities of micronutrients. Usually, it contains fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and K. You will also find some brands selling butter that contain vitamin D. It is also known to have minerals like calcium, copper, selenium, phosphorous and potassium. However, they are present in low quantities, and that does not make butter a reliable source for minerals. Salted butter also has sodium because of the presence of salt.

Butter might not be the best carrier for micronutrients, but it is nevertheless a helpful food item as it helps in better absorption of minerals and vitamins.

Every tablespoon of butter has 30 mg of cholesterol and 102 calories. The content of total fat is around 12 grams. It has 7g saturated fats, 0.4g polyunsaturated fat, 0.5g trans-fat, and 3g monounsaturated fats. Altogether, the total fat content stands at around 12 g.

It is widely known that butter is a healthy mixture of fats and water. The former makes up for almost 80% of the product. Butter is obtained by separating the fatty portion of milk from carbohydrates and proteins. As a result, it is a rather complex dietary fat that has over 400 kinds of fatty acids. About 70% of butter is made of fatty acids, while another 25% is monounsaturated fatty acids. Butter, however, does not have a high quantity of polyunsaturated fats.

Types of fats in butter:

If you want to consume butter, then you should know in detail about the kind of fats you would include in your diet.

1. Short-Chain Fats: Some of the saturated fatty acids present in butter are of the short-chain variety. The most common example is butyric acid which is usually present in the milk fat of animals like cattle, goats, and sheep. Butyrate, a form of butyric acid, can improve the functioning of your digestive system which is a huge advantage.

2. Ruminant Trans Fats: You might have heard a lot of people saying that trans fats in processed foods can be harmful to the body. However, dairy trans fats like conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vaccenic acid are beneficial for humans. Both of them can help improve the overall health of people and also act as barriers against diseases cancer.

Types of fatty acids:

The fatty acid profile of butter is impressive. The presence of these fatty acids accounts for a large number of butter's benefits.

    • Oleic Acid: This monounsaturated fat has the ability to reduce the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body. It also increases the presence of HDL or good cholesterol simultaneously.
    • Palmitic acid: Butter has about 15% palmitic acid. This saturated fat can be found in large proportions in palms, and hence the name. It helps the body to produce a compound called phenethylamine. This can help improve the functioning of nerves in the body. Moreover, this compound is known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Stearic acid: This saturated fatty acid has the potential to reduce visceral fat in the body. Visceral fat tends to line against internal organs and cause heart diseases over time. Certain studies have also found that stearic acid can provide the body protection against atherosclerosis.
    • Butyric acid: As mentioned before, this short-chain saturated fatty acid is crucial for your digestive health. Usually, this acid is produced in the colon due to bacterial formation, but butter also contains a small quantity of butyric acid which can help in the healing of the gut.

Vitamins and Minerals in Butter:

    • You cannot depend on butter for your daily nutrition because they do not have adequate quantities of micronutrients. However, that does not mean that you should underestimate the power of butter in improving your nutritional intake.
    • Vitamin A: Even one tablespoon will provide your body with a lot of Vitamin A which is essential for the proper functioning of your eyes.
    • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is crucial for healthy skin and dental health among other things. Butter is a great source for Vitamin D.
    • Vitamin E: The Vitamin E present in butter act as an effective antioxidant.
    • Vitamin B12: Named cobalamin, this vitamin is known to be greatly beneficial for the functioning of the brain and the synthesis of red blood cells.
    • Vitamin K2: This vitamin is also known as menaquinone. It is excellent for the heart and can also improve bone health.

How many calories are in a tablespoon of salted butter?

One tablespoon of salted butter has about 101 calories. Every 100 grams contains 717 calories and 81.1 g fats. One of the main differences between salted and unsalted butter is the presence of sodium in the former. You will find that salted butter is more popular in the market, but you can also get your hands on the latter if you want to avoid that extra intake of sodium.

butter keto

The Top Benefits of Taking Butter:

By now you must have understood that butter is a great addition to your diet. There are a number of advantages of having butter regularly that you simply cannot ignore.

1. It contains a variety of vitamins:

Fat soluble vitamins like A, E and K2, are essential for your wellbeing. While you can get the first two easily if you have a healthy diet, the last one is trickier to find. That is why butter is precious when it comes to providing the body with vitamin K2. This particular nutrient improves calcium metabolism which helps bones to become stronger. More importantly, a deficiency of K2 can lead to cardiovascular diseases and even osteoporosis. Grass-fed butter has more Vitamin K2 to offer.

2. The saturated fats in butter are beneficial:

If you think that all kinds of saturated fats are harmful, then you are actually placing your faith in an urban myth. Saturated fats may not be the healthiest if you have them limitlessly, but they do not cause serious damage when consumed in moderation. Studies have found that there is no direct link between bad heart health and saturated fats. On the contrary, certain saturated fats help to increase the HDL cholesterol in the bloodstream while transforming the LDL to a more benign product. The short and medium chain fats present in butter also help to accelerate the burning of fat in the body.

3. It has the potential to reduce heart attack risk:

You might have heard that margarine is better for your heart than butter is. However, a recent study has found that it is not always true — the Framingham heart study researched the different effects of butter and margarine on the heart and cardiovascular system. It was found that the latter increased the chances of cardiovascular diseases while the former did not affect whatsoever. In another study, it was found that consuming high-fat dairy can lower the risk of heart diseases by almost 69%, and this can be attributed to the presence of Vitamin K2 in butter.

4. Butyrate is a blessing for the body:

As mentioned before, the human body needs plenty of butyrate to ensure proper functioning of the digestive system. Usually, certain bacteria present in the colon can produce this fatty acid when they have access to dietary fiber. Incorporating another source of butyrate hence cannot hurt. Butter is a great dietary source of butyrate.

A study conducted on rats found that butyrate can increase energy expenditure and lower insulin in the body. The human body finds butyrate to be an anti-inflammatory acid which protects the digestive system.

5. Conjugated Linoleic Acid can improve metabolism:

If you have grass-fed butter, you will be supplying your body with CLA which can improve the metabolic properties of the body. Moreover, CLA is also associated with reducing fat in the body. Certain studies have found that this fatty acid has anti-cancer properties which are a huge benefit.

6. Butter does not necessarily cause obesity:

Dispel all the myths that tell you that butter will cause you to gain weight no matter how less of it you consume. There is no doubt that butter indeed has high-calorie content, but that is not necessarily linked with obesity. A review paper published in 2012 concluded that high-fat dairy did not augment the chances of metabolic diseases. In fact, they did not have a direct to obesity at all.

7. It adds flavour:

When you are on a diet, you crave for tasty food. Butter is a delicious ingredient no matter where you add it.

How much is butter per day healthy?

The myths surrounding the consumption of butter are slowly being eliminated, but too much of anything can be bad for you. Nothing changes the fact that butter contains a whole lot of saturated fats which can cause heart problems when consumed in excess. Try to limit your daily butter intake to 1 tablespoon each day to be on the safe side. That roughly amounts to 14.2g of butter. Do not use butter both as a medium for cooking and as a breakfast condiment each day.

Like with every other restriction, you can take a cheat day once in a while but remember that it is your body that you need to preserve.

Butter in Keto

Butter in Keto diet:

The Keto diet is becoming increasingly popular among people of all age groups largely because of its effectiveness in cutting down excess fat from the body. You must have heard about the Keto diet if you are interested in fitness and dieting.

The Keto diet requires you to cut out carbs completely from your diet. However, it allows you to consume proteins and fats. It is meant to be a high-fat diet, and the fats you have are converted into fuel for the body. This sends the body into a state of ketosis, and that is the entire objective of a keto diet.

You are allowed to have butter when you are on a keto diet. Do not believe people who tell you that butter is a forbidden item because of its fat content. Butter is greatly beneficial for a keto diet, as long as you do not have it in excess. In fact, the micronutrients in butter help you achieve your daily nutrient targets easily. It is also great for providing your body with sufficient macros.

The best thing about butter is that it is an extremely versatile element when it comes to crafting a diet. You will be able to use it in a number of ways in your diet. To begin with, it serves as a great cooking medium as keto diet asks you to replace oil. Butter is also perfect for all your baking needs. If green vegetable salads are a staple for you, then you can spread a generous amount of butter on them before consumption. Butter as a condiment adds a rich and unique flavor.

1. Add butter to your beverages:

Coffee and butter are not a combination that most of us are familiar with. However, it will be a worthwhile experiment because the two items complement each other perfectly when you are on a keto diet. You can blend a dollop of butter with your coffee in the mornings to get that extra boost of energy.

While the caffeine helps to energize you, the saturated fats present in butter help to slow down the process so that you do not get spent easily steady flow of energy. This habit may also help to induce ketosis. If you are not bold enough to add butter to your coffee, then you can go down the safe route and have it with warm soup.

2. Cook butter-rich recipes:

When you are on a keto diet, you have to be particular about the dishes that you cook for your everyday consumption. There are a large number of keto recipes available online that employ butter as a primary ingredient.

3. Make your keto bread tastier:

If you are following a keto diet, you will know that you have to be extra particular when baking your keto bread. It has to have the correct combination of all ingredients so that the carb intake does not become excessive. Spreading a generous layer of butter on a slice of keto bread will make for a much more satisfying meal. Moreover, it will also provide your body with more nutrition.

4. Do not skip out on fat bombs:

For people on a keto diet, fat bombs are a blessing. Since you are not allowed to indulge in carbs, you only have to depend on fats for that extra jolt of flavor. You can make fat bombs using saturated fats such as butter as an ingredient as they help in the solidification of the item. Depending on your preferences, you can make the fat bombs sweet or salty.

Types of butter for a keto diet:

    • There are no specific restrictions imposed on the consumption of butter during a keto diet except on the quantity. If you toe the line about the amount of butter you are having, then you can have any kind of butter. However, these are the most popular types of butter among keto dieters.
    • Grass-fed: The reason why grass-fed butter appears to be a better choice is that it is more nutritious as compared to commercial butter. With almost 500 % extra CLA, it is much more beneficial for you.
    • Clarified butter: This product contains no milk and no proteins. It also does not have any lactose which makes it perfect for all those who are lactose intolerant. This variant is basically 100% butterfat and is wonderful as a cooking medium.
    • Ghee: If you ever live in India, you will find a specific kind of clarified butter called ghee. It has a nutty flavor that can make all your keto dishes much tastier.
    • It is not necessary that you have to go hunting for these butters when you are on a keto diet, but they are a better choice undoubtedly.

Butter brands that are perfect for a keto diet:

To be fair, you do not need to go on a special hunt looking for butter that is especially good for a keto diet. Regular butter works well enough. However, if you want to go the extra mile, then you can opt for brands like Organic Valley, Smjor, Allgau, and Kerrygold. These are not cheap by any means, but their butter is guaranteed to be fresh and healthy. Try to buy them during a value sale at your nearest departmental store.

Summary

Butter will be a loyal friend to you if you are trying to stick to a keto diet. There is no reason why you should not take advantage of that fact! Eliminating butter from your diet is not the solution that you need.

If you are embarking on a keto diet, the key fact that you need to remember is that you are supposed to cut down on carbs and not on fat. The variety of fatty acids present in butter make it surprisingly good for your body as they improve both the cardiovascular system and the digestive system.

The commercial butter that is available in the market is not the best choice for a keto diet. You can go for certain varieties that provide more nutrition to the body which is an advantage during ketosis.

However, you must remember that moderation is essential. You cannot indulge in dollops of butter every day simply because you know that it will cause you irreparable harm. Even the healthiest things can have adverse effects when had in excess. You now know the calorie count of a spoonful of butter, and it is up to you to decide how you want to fit it into your regular schedule.

References

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