Butter is Healthy: 5 Fat-free Food Lies that Made You a Butter-hater!

Today’s post 5 Fat-free food Lies that Made You a Butter-hater  comes to you from my freind (and soon to be nutrition supa-star) Ana Castilla.

Ana is a standout Biology major at Nova Southeastern University who is a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sport Nutrition.

If you’re ready to get some cold, hard nutrition science on why Butter is Awesome – Read on!


5 Fat-free Lies that Made You a Butter-hater

by Ana M Castilla

You know that awkward moment, when you realize you are holding an empty tub of Nutella in one hand and a spoon in the other. It’s weird how that happens. Well, that won’t exactly get you the cover of men’s health now will it? You ought to take a closer look to all that fat there kido; or so they tell you. Because someone, somewhere, took the gigantic leap of faith and decided that fat is singlehandedly responsibly for making us ugly, overweight, sick and inflamed. We have been instructed to avoid buttery goodness like a visit from your in-laws. But not candy. No. Candy you can feed to children, the future generation, because it’s harmless- it’s just sugar. Exactly.

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For the love of butter! Do yourself a solid and next time you brag about your “healthy” fat-free self, try to sound like you read anything other than the twilight series. Not to worry though, you’ll be all buttered up in no time. Keep in mind though, than when I talk butter; I’m talking about real-grass-gracing-cow’s butter, not country rock’s buttery spread. The difference is important. Careful now the fat-free mentality is about to expire, one lie at a time.

1. The law of volumetrics:  Eat foods with the least amount of calories possible.

low fat low calorie

Butter, at a whopping 9 calories per gram, would sadly never make the cut. Would the answer then be moderation? Now I bet you have that down. You eat the good fats in moderation! So you sprinkle some olive oil, macadamia nuts and almond butter here and there; you also take your fish oil. High five to you! Keeping those calories in check I see. However to assume that all calories are created equal and that fat in one teaspoon of Crisco is equal to one of olive oil, just because they both have the same amount of calories, is utter nonsense. Your body has completely different fates for those 9 calories. Hormones, among other factors, determine how your body partitions the nutrients it receives.(1) That’s why girls grow hips and breasts and guys don’t, even if they were to eat the same amount of calories.

2. Saturated fat will make you drop dead on the spot

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Doc’s orders: saturated fat should be keep to less than 10% of calories. Have you ever asked yourselves why? You’ve learned that saturated fats are very stable compounds and that sounds really scary. How the heck are we gonna get rid of it then? Hold tight for a second. First you really want to make good use of the pesky little things. See, it is quite steamy in our blood vessels. In there, saturated fat provides the cell with just the right amount of stability, teaming up with the omegas to keep the cell’s gate system running smoothly.

Saturated fat is extremely resistant to oxidative damage, very unlike any of your other “healthy” fats. Oxidized fats in our bloodstream are a bad thing buddy. (2) With the amount of oxidative stress we deal with on a daily basis, I believe saturated fat to be protective in this sense. Tell your GNC guy to hold up on that order of antioxidants.

Butter is indeed mostly saturated fat as you’ve heard, especially the very saturated butyric acid which aids in metabolism, inflammation(23 and stress resistance(4) and which oddly enough you can also find as a supplement. Don’t forget about the, again saturated, medium chain triglycerides in butter, also known for its health benefits. (5) I guess it simply looks better in a pill than in real food huh?

Safe diet pills

That’s all really nice, but won’t wont saturated fat add to the chub? Agreed, saturated fat in the presence of elevated blood glucose is no good news. But this is we’re an itty bitty piece of knowledge is dangerous. These fats only become harmful under conditions of hyperinsulinemia, the big word for elevated insulin, in fact anything under this condition would be. Insulin levels rise primarily in response to ingestion of carbohydrates; not fat. Therefore if we lower our carbohydrate intake, saturated fat will help us to look good in that bikini and prevent coronary heart disease at the same time. (6)(7)(8)(9)

3. Cholesterol is Satan’s unclaimed child.


Arteries are like pipes and cholesterol is the gunk that gets stuck to it, making you die. Guys, this is the coloring book version of how this really works. The cholesterol you eat and the cholesterol in your blood are two different things. If you don’t eat it your body will convert whatever fat-free-cardboard-tasting food you shove down the pie hole into cholesterol; it is that essential.(1)

Our brain is merely 2% of body weight but houses up to 20% of our cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for brain development, AKA it helps you mentally perform at your best. You’re so smart! That’s why you skip the Goji berries and melt some butter because cholesterol is also an anti-oxidant.(10) Want to digest your food properly? Cholesterol is needed to produce those bile salts. Want to be all macho-macho and conserve your virility? Ladies any concerns about fertility? Well cholesterol makes sex hormones too – amazing isn’t it? (11)(12)

Now don’t sue me here! I am not saying you want high levels of cholesterol in your blood. But rather than avoid consuming it, you want to focus on making sure you keep chronic inflammation at bay and enable your body to make good use of this super-sterol.(8) This means better insulin sensitivity, lots of snooze, happy time and a myriad of other things.

 4. Butter is nothing but empty calories


Real grass-fed butter, from real happy cows, has carotenoids along with a multitude of vitamins: vitamin A, E, D and K2. Butter also has powerful antioxidants such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper, selenium and iodine. Butter is loaded with beneficial fatty acids such as CLA, butyric acid and the perfect balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. Now that we know cholesterol is not the devils excrement, I’m going to add that in too.

5. You are what you eat: if you eat fat you will become fat


You are what your body does with what you eat. What determines what is going to be stored as fat and what will be used for energy has ABSOLUTLY nothing to do with the amount of fat you consume, but there is powerful evidence to suggest that it has everything to do with the amount of carbohydrates in your diet.(5)    Say I were to look into your small intestine after a butter mishap. I would certainly find lots of cholesterol and fat in there, but around 85% of it will have been produced in house. Only the remaining 15% would come from dietary cholesterol. Additionally we know that triglycerides and cholesterol will only be stored preferentially if you have high insulin levels.(1) That means you went crazy on the chocolate cake not the fat. So number five, we have just taken you down.

How to Bulletproof your breakfast with butter!

breakfast club

For those more adventurous reading this post, I can suggest a sneaky yet delicious way of buttering yourselves up in the mornings. The recipe comes straight from the brilliant minds at the Bulletproofexec.com. These guys put together a cement jungle version of the Tibetans Yak butter tea. It has this “je ne sais quoi” that keeps you sharp, warm and fuzzy, and metabolically ready to tackle the day.

  1. Start with 500 ml (2 mugs) of black coffee brewed with mold-free beans (important)
  1. Add 2 Tbs (or more, I prefer 80 grams, about 2/3 of a standard stick of butter) of Kerry Gold or other UNSALTED grass-fed butter
  2. Add 30 grams of MCT oil for max energy, weight loss and brain function (optional if you have none)
  3. Blend with a pre-heated hand blender, Magic Bullet, or (best) counter top blender until there is a creamy head of foam
  4. Devourer !


Ana’s Bio

ana 1 164x300 1Ana Castilla is a Biology major at Nova Southeastern University who is a certified sports nutritionist through the International Society of Sport Nutrition. She gives “Paleo” nutrition lectures at different Crossfit boxes in the South Florida area including 911 Crossfit, Crossfit Downtown Miami and Crossfit Key Biscayne and the Lies You been told about comes to you from Ana M Castilla. You can contact her through email at castilla@nova.edu.


References for the Nerds

  1. Berg JM, Tymoczko JL, Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002
  2. Steinberg D, The Cholesterol Wars: The Skeptics vs. The Preponderance of the Evidence.2000; San Diego: Academic Press
  3. Säemann MD et al. Anti-inflammatory effects of sodium butyrate on human monocytes: potent inhibition of IL-12 and up-regulation of IL-10 production. FASEB J. 2000 Dec;14(15):2380-2.
  4. Ranganna Kasturi et al.Butyrate, a small pleiotropic molecule with multiple cellular and molecular actions : Its role as an anti-atherogenic agent. Recent research developments in molecular and cellular biochemistry : V 2 (2005).
  5. St-Onge MPJones PJ.Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Dec;27(12):1565-71. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12975635.
  6. Jeff S. Volek, Matthew J. Sharman and Cassandra E. Forsythe .Modification of lipoproteins by VLCD. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 135:1339-1342, June 2005. https://jn.nutrition.org/content/135/6/1339.full.pdf+html.
  7. EM Cranton and JP Frackelton, “Free Radical Pathology in Age-Associated Diseases: Treatment with EDTA Chelation, Nutrition and Antioxidants,” Journal of Holistic Medicine, Spring/Summer 1984,pp 6-37
  8. Smith, MM, MNS RD and F Lifshitz, MD Pediatrics, Mar 1994 93:3:438-443
  1. Margaret A French, Kalyana Sundram , M Thomas Clandinin.Cholesterolaemic effect of palmitic acid in relation to other dietary fatty acids. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical nutrition. Volume 11, Issue Supplement s7, pages S401–S407,DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-6047.11.s.7.3.x. 2002.https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1440-6047.11.s.7.3.x/abstract;jsessionid=BE9DD3701BA03932D39E3A687E2469D1.d04t03.
  2. Katan MBZock PLMensink RP. Dietary oils, serum lipoproteins, and coronary heart disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Jun;61(6 Suppl):1368S-1373S.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7754989?dopt=Abstract.
  3. Robert H Knopp and Barbara M Retzlaff. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 5, 1102-1103, November 2004.Saturated fat prevents coronary artery disease. https://www.ajcn.org/content/80/5/1102.full.pdf+html.
  1. Alfin-Slater, R B and L Aftergood, “Lipids”, Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, Chapter 5, 6th ed, R S Goodhart and M E Shils, eds, Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia 1980, p 131

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