Nutrient Analysis of Butter

Most people are educated from an early age about the risks associated with the excessive consumption of large amounts of butter. While butter may be safe in small amounts, eating too much can lead to weight gain, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Despite these health risks, it continues to be a major component of most meal plans. Understanding the nutrition behind butter can be helpful for individuals who are unsure of its safety.

Fat Content

As stated previously, one of the major components of butter is fat-and unlike carbohydrates and protein, which each provide approximately four calories per gram, fat provides consumers with as many as nine calories per fat gram! It is of no surprise, then, that eating large amounts of butter, and other foods rich in fat, can lead to serious health problems and complications. What’s worse than that high calorie count associated with the fat found in butter is the fact that it is a type of saturated fat. Unlike unsaturated fats, which may actually be effective in the promotion of good health, saturated fats tend to lead to clogged arteries, possible heart attack, stroke, or even death. There is no question that avoiding foods rich in unsaturated fat is essential for good health.

Sodium Content

Like fat, high amounts of sodium consumption has been linked to a variety of health conditions. While most of the butter consumed today is salted, unsalted butter is also available. Individuals who have been encouraged to limit their sodium intake should switch to unsalted butter as soon as possible to avoid hypertension, kidney disease, and other complications. It is important to remember that while unsalted butter may be free from added salt, there may be already be small amounts of salt found intrinsically in the dairy products used to make the butter. Therefore, there is no such thing as “salt-free” butter.

Protein Content

Since butter is made primarily from dairy products, and since dairy products come from cows, it should be of no surprise that butter does contain small amounts of dietary protein. In most cases, however, the amount of protein found in butter is not enough to meet the needs of the body. In fact, protein levels of butter are so low that one would have to eat over a pound per day to meet their average requirements! As this would lead to serious health conditions, it is not recommended.

Calcium Content

Finally, like protein, there is a small amount of dietary calcium found in butter. Calcium is needed by the body to promote strong bones, teeth, and fingernails. Recent research has found that calcium is best absorbed by the body when moderate amounts of vitamin C are also present. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, lemons, strawberries, spinach, and other green, leafy vegetables. Individuals who are concerned about the amount of calcium or vitamin C that they get in their diet may want to consider taking a multivitamin. Most multivitamins can now be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies or grocery stores.

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