How Can Butter Possibly be a Weight Loss Food?
By now we’ve all heard of bulletproof coffee and that it can help improve mental focus and induce weight loss. One of its main ingredients is unsalted butter. How can something that contains a tablespoon or more butter induce weight loss? Is butter a weight-loss food? Let’s dive into the research from one of our guest authors!
Be aware that you can’t put butter on everything and not gain weight. We are simply talking about a tablespoon or two a day – not an entire stick!
Butter a Weight Loss Food?
Butter has traditionally had a really bad reputation. But as the shortcomings of the low-fat diet become more and more common in mainstream nutritional advice, butter is making a comeback.
Being made popular by those following a paleo-style diet and the rise of bulletproof coffee (coffee with grass-fed butter & medium-chain triglyceride oil in it), butter in the US has hit a 40-year sales high.
So I took a look at the current research and some of the new claims surrounding butter.
Health Benefits of Butter
Butter has been a part of many cultures diets for centuries and although high in calories and saturated fat, has some great health benefits:
- Butter is actually a great source of vitamins & minerals, especially vitamin A which helps maintain eye health. It’s also a source of vitamin D, E & K as well as trace minerals such as selenium, manganese, chromium, zinc, copper & iodine.
- It contains healthy short and medium-chain fatty acids which help support your immune system and your metabolism.
- Grass-fed butter contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is a compound that helps your body store muscle instead of fat and glycosphingolipids which are fatty acids that protect your stomach from gastrointestinal infections.
- Contains lauric acid, important in treating fungal infections and candida
- Contains Arachidonic Acid (AA) which plays a role in brain function and is a vital component of cell membranes.
Butter as a Weight Loss Food
One of the more recently claimed health benefits of butter is that it can contribute to weight loss. Butter a weight-loss food?
Well the research that is cited generally seems to come down to two components of butter and the benefits of these.
The first is CLA, which as we have up above helps your body store muscle instead of fat. CLA has been determined to be so beneficial to us that you can actually purchase this as a health supplement.
One study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that CLA could in fact reduce body fat mass in overweight and obese participants. This fatty acid is actually sold as a weight-loss supplement due to its powerful effect on metabolism.
The other is butyrate. A small chain fatty acid that is created by bacteria in your colon when exposed to dietary fiber. Or you can consume a dietary source of butyrate in butter, which is about 3-4% butyrate.
In studies carried out on rats, supplementation with butyrate prevented weight gain on an unhealthy diet by increasing energy expenditure and reducing food intake. In humans, butyrate is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and has many benefits for the digestive system.
A review paper in 2012 examined the effects of high-fat dairy on obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other metabolic disorders. The paper concluded that high-fat dairy such as butter did not increase the risk of metabolic disease and that it was also associated with a significantly reduced risk of obesity.
Butter can also help decrease the glycemic load of starchy foods, such as white potatoes or pasta, by reducing the speed at which our bodies metabolize them.
Wrap-Up: How Much?
Although there are lots of reported health benefits of butter, the recommendation seems to still stand to consume butter in moderation as one tablespoon of butter has 102 calories. [Editor’s Note: see we aren’t saying eat scoops of the stuff – it still has to fit into your nutrition plan.]
A big proponent of consuming butter is Dave Asprey, creator of bulletproof coffee.
To find out more about the bulletproof diet and how to make the perfect cup of bulletproof coffee check out this link here.
So no longer feel guilty about adding butter to your food, it could actually be helping you towards your weight loss goals – in moderation, however.
- What’s the Difference Between Good Fat and Bad Fat? - January 7, 2016
- Do Men Lose Weight Faster Than Women? - October 5, 2015
- 7 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy Food at Restaurants - April 30, 2015
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