Saturday, 10 August 2013

This butter be good

WARNING: this post contains obscene amounts of delicious fat and calories. 

Many people are surprised when I tell them I have around 40g of butter every morning. Most people respond with 'Urrrgh' 'Why would you do that?', or a slap to the face. Bet you are sitting there thinking exactly the same. But why is there this instant reaction, after all butter is just churned cream, where the casein associated with heart disease and diabetes, is removed. Some of the healthiest people on the planet, Tibetans, are reknowned for their butter tea, and have ridiculously low incidence of heart disease. The dogma that fat is bad for you is not right, that half your required vitamins for you to work properly are fat soluble, does it not make sense that fat should be a larger part of your diet.
But before you take a big chunk out of that block of butter, please beware fats, and butters for that matter, are NOT created equal

A buttery prophecy

I only eat grass fed butter. I normally buy Kerrygold or President, Natoora also sell great quality french butter, aswell as their other produce. These come from cows with their natural diet, so has higher omega 3, conjugated lineoic acids (CLA), vitamins A, D, E and K2. The attention really is in the details

So why is grass fed better than grain or silage fed (the same can be said with grassfed beef):
  • Higher Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio
    • Grain/silage fed has higher omega 6 content that leads to an inflammatory response
  • 3-5 times as much CLA, shown to increase heart health, CLAs are actually sold as a weight loss supplment!
  • Greater beta-carotene and vitamin A quanities which is why it looks more yellow
  • Higher vitamin K2
    • Made from vitamin K1 containing grass in the cow's stomach
  • What's most important, TASTES AWESOME! Low quality butters are watery and insipid 
Most of my butter comes in the morning in coffee blended together. Coffee is great for the brain and cognition, but having that unadultered hit causes spike in insulin levels and a crash in blood sugar because of this soon after. By blending the coffee with the butter it allows the coffee to be absorbed slower and over and longer length of time, so you don't get the crash and prolong the good effects of coffee. I use Hasbean coffee with an aeropress, great coffee, and cheaper than most other independent roasters. 
This is my energy source for the morning and don't need to eat again until later in the afternoon. By taking more calories in I've actually been losing weight, and this is post marathon training.

This is hard for most people to get their head around, but actually the 'calories in calories out' is too oversimplified and doesn't work in reality, hence why most people yoyo on diets. Think about it, is the body going to process 500 calories worth of broccoli the same as 500 calories of doughnut? No. How your body stores food, and your metabolism is more important.

Listen to this BBC4 podcast on butter, featuring the Butter Viking, who you may have heard, he supplies, Noma, Fat Duck, Ben Spalding to name a few.

As a pharmacist I dismay at the amount of misinformation out there, that is actually doing potential harm to people's diets, as there are always those that take it to the extremes. It's a difficult message to try and convey, as there is an attention to detail in the types of fat to take in, but one that I think is throughly worthwhile. Half the vitamins you need to function properly are fat soluble, does this not tell you what part fat has to play in your diet.

Stocking up
Owen - Gourmet Focus Ltd


  1. This is great.
    The Kiwi ANZACs, widely considered to be the fittest troops in the Allied armies in two world wars, were raised in a nation where per capita weekly butter consumption was 415 grams. It is now 112 grams, which is half of the reduced 1940s wartime ration.

    I wrote about the health benefits of butter here:

    "What is the fat in butter? It's the fat produced from a 100% plant-based, high-fibre diet by an animal actually designed to eat one."

  2. That's really interesting, thanks. My brother lives out in NZ, fantatic produce everywhere

  3. I would have previously recommended NZ Anchor butter as another grass-fed alternative for people in the UK, but now it's produced IN the UK (from local cream). Better for shipping miles, I suppose, but not much else. :-(


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