Butter is back in our good books.
A flurry of recent studies has targeted the common belief that butter contributes to high cholesterol, obesity, and heart disease.
What Science Is Saying
However, the crucial piece of information that most people are still missing about this health food is that there’s a huge difference between organic or grass-fed butter and plain old butter.
Most people opt for the non-organic version because it’s cheaper. But nutritionally speaking, non-organic butter may not have all the health benefits that researchers are toting.
The Difference Between Organic And Conventional Butter
The composition of any given block of butter actually depends on the diet and lifestyle of the cows that produced it. This can affect the nutritional quality of the dairy as well as its levels of harmful toxins and hormones (9).
In fact, since it has such a high fat content, conventional butter is one of the worst sources of bioaccumulative toxins in the Western diet.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 35% of every adult’s dioxin intake comes from dairy products, with children getting an even higher percentage of dioxins from dairy (10).
Dioxins are a type of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic pollutant, also known as a PBT. In this case, bioaccumulation refers to the biological process in which PBTs and other fat-soluble toxins and chemicals accumulate in organisms, adversely affecting animals higher up in the food chain.
Bioaccumulation can eventually cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, hormone interference, and cancer. (11).
What Non-Organic Cows Eat
The problem all comes back to what cows are fed. Dairy cattle, which are used to produce products such as butter, milk, and cheese, are sometimes encouraged allowed to graze on crops treated with pesticides-if they’re lucky (12).
Most Dairy cattle live in extremely cramped quarters and are given processed cow feed fortified with nutrients such as protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid from genetically modified (GMO) canola (13).
With multiple studies investigating the health effects of GMOs, these multiple sources of dairy contamination are alarming at best.
What About Hormones?
Dairy cows don’t normally produce milk unless they’ve recently had a calf. In order to keep the dairy industry running, non-organic cows are given hormones to artificially trigger or prolong lactation.
Non-organic dairy products are known to contain many dangerous growth hormones, one of which is insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) (14).
Conventional butter may also contain higher levels of fat if the cow is fed an unbalanced and unnatural diet. Regular consumption of non-organic milk may, in fact, increase your chances of developing heart disease (17).
Not convinced to make the switch?
More Reasons to Organic Eat Grass Fed Butter
- It’s one of the best sources of vitamin K2, which has been shown to play a role in improving heart health (18, 19).
- It contains higher levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (20).
- It’s chock-full of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that provides long-lasting energy, increases insulin sensitivity, improves memory and mental health and has anti-inflammatory properties (21,22,23,24).
- It’s loaded with other vitamins, minerals, raw fats, amino acids, and proteins, all of which are highly bioavailable.