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Is Butter The True Criminal or A Straw Man? How Unhealthy Is It?

Is Butter The True Criminal or A Straw Man? How Unhealthy Is It?

There is a famous myth in cooking:it is dairy that is fattening and is therefore, bad for you. Cheese is, milk is, and butter, being essentially pure fat, most definitely is.

This is so accepted that margarine (made from vegetable oil and water) fills supermarkets world wide and is just as, if not more popular than butter. Its popularity comes from people avoiding butter for its high fat content.

But if this is an undisputed fact, then why am I writing an article?

Well, as you may imagine, the truth is more complicated.

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Now, I’m not going to make the outlandish, and patently untrue claim that there isn’t fat in butter.

No, what I am going to claim, that fats by themselves, even unsaturated fat (as found in butter) are not totally bad for you.

A Myth Dispelled: Not All Fats Are Harmful

People are often quite scared of the word fat, and consider all forms of fat to be totally harmful. However, there is such a thing as healthy fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat have a range of health benefits.

Now, it is true that saturated fats increase cholesterol [1]. If these fats are built up in the body, they can lead to serious health issues such as coronary heart disease. Because of this, it is strictly and severely inadvisable to eat too much butter as butter contain only saturated fat.But cutting it out entirely is unnecessary.

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The Nutritional Component of Fat: Cholesterol

Whilst cholesterol in high levels can be severely harmful, however, in low levels it can aidimportant bodily functions [2] such as in the production of Vitamin D, helping cell health and functionality, and the development of bodily hormones.

Entering the blood carried on lipoproteins, cholesterol carried on high density lipoprotein has these beneficial effects, and can counteract the harmful effects of low density lipoprotein cholesterol.Basically there are two forms of cholesterol, one good, one bad [3].

Butter, which contains a lot of saturated fats, contains a quantity of both forms.The harm done by saturated fats, too has recently been called into question.

What is Saturated Fats?

This view that butter is not a purely harmful substance, as once thought comes from recent research [4] . This research from 2014 [5]even goes so far to cast doubt on the direct link between saturated fats and an increased risk of heart disease. This is the important part, it may mean that our stance on saturated fats, like the fats in butter, need re-evaluation.

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It should be stated, of course, that just because something is not so clearly bad for you is not [6]the same thing as being good for you. So though it seems that saturated fats may not be as harmful as once feared, they should still be consumed in moderation.

It may even one day be discovered that not all saturated fat is harmful, this is a lot like how once it was thought that all cholesterol was harmful, but, again, now we know that some forms are actually beneficial.

How much saturated fat should you consume has caused some significant debate among nutritionists? Some (such as the World Health Organisation[7]) recommend that no more than 10% of total calories taken in should come from saturated fats.

Meanwhile others [8]have suggested that not only might saturated fats not increase risk of heart disease, but the kinds of saturated fats found in dairy products, may actually decrease the risk.

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So who to believe?

It is not my intention to bamboozle you with contradictory information, but only to suggest something that goes against common understanding. That butter, instead of being an almost deadly, super unhealthy lump of fat, which should be avoided at all costs, is actually perfectly fine to eat in moderation. It might not be super bad for you, but like with a lot of things, eating a lot of it may have some bad consequences.

So, before you root through stores to find the perfect butter substitute to spread, you can be safe in the understanding that simply buying some good old fashioned butter is not something you should worry about.

5 Surprising Health Benefits of Butter

Though there is a debate about the risks of saturated fats. There are a number of other genuine benefits which have been accepted. Here are five ways butter can actually be good [9]for you.

  1. Bone health
    Butter is naturally rich in important minerals like Zinc, Manganese, Selenium, and Copper. These minerals are all essential for the body, and help in a large number of important bodily functions, such as blood production (Manganese) and maintaining good functionality of the immune system (Selenium), and they are all essential in maintaining healthy bones and aid in bone regrowth and repair. As such can help keep issues like Arthritis and Osteoporosis well away.
  2. Vitamin A
    Butter is a good source of Vitamin A which is an essential vitamin, used by the body for a number of important functions. Vitamin A [10] is maintaining healthy eyes and can even improve your eyesight in dimly lit areas.
    That’s not all, Vitamin A is vital for boosting and maintaining the immune system, improving your bodily defense against further illness and infection.
    Also, Vitamin A has been shown to help maintain healthy skin.
  3. Intestinal Health
    I’ve written already about how fatty butter is, however in that fat are glycospingolipids, which whilst being hard to say, is a very beneficial fatty acid, one key in promoting healthy intestines by making it much more difficult for harmful bacteria join and bind with parts of your intestines, which could cause a number of gastronomical issues.
  4. Anti Cancer properties
    Butter, particularly butter from grass fed cows [11]is a good source of the beneficial fatty acid Conjugated Linoleic Acid, (CLA) which, on animals have been shown to help reduce tumors. Of course, its no way near a treatment, and certainly not a cure, but CLA could prove to be a great ally in the fight against cancer.
  5. Combats sexual dysfunction
    It has been found that vitamin A and D, both found in butter are important for sexual performance and aid against sterility. Indeed vitamin deficiency has a known connection to sexual sterility in both men and women. Therefore sources of vitamins, like butter, are vital for maintaining sexual functionality.

So, with the above considered, its clear that butter both may not be as bad for you as previously thought, but also contains an impressive range of health benefits.

Reference

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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