Butter may be good for you after all, claims a new study.
The research by Lund University in Sweden shows that butter leads to considerably less elevation of blood fats after a meal compared with olive oil and a new type of canola and flaxseed oil.
The main explanation for the relatively low increase of blood fat levels with butter is that about 20 percent of the fat in butter consists of short and medium-length fatty acids. These are used directly as energy and therefore never affect the blood fat level to any great extent.
"A further explanation, which we are speculating about, is that intestinal cells prefer to store butter fat rather than long-chain fatty acids from vegetable oils. However, butter leads to a slightly higher content of free fatty acids in the blood, which is a burden on the body," explains Julia Svensson, a doctoral candidate in Biotechnology and Nutrition at Lund University.
The greater difference in men is due to, among other things, hormones, the size of fat stores, and fundamental differences in metabolism between men and women, which was previously known. This situation complicates the testing of women, since they need to be tested during the same period in the menstruation cycle each time in order to yield reliable results.
"The findings provide a more nuanced picture of various dietary fats. Olive oil has been studied very thoroughly, and its benefits are often extolled. The fact that butter raises blood cholesterol in the long term is well known, whereas its short-term effects are not as well investigated. Olive oil is good, to be sure, but our findings indicate that different food fats can have different advantages," says Svensson.
"Finally, all fats have high energy content, and if you don't burn what you ingest, your weight will go up, as will your risk of developing diseases in the long run," she adds.
The study involved 19 women and 28 men.