Is Butter Really What You Thought It Was? Time To Know The Bitter Truth

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Butter is one of those tasty foods that is usually taken for granted. Buttered toast, buttered popcorn, corn on the cob, pancakes, hot biscuits, muffins and sandwiches are just a few of the foods we eat every day that are 100 times better with butter. Not to mention all the sauces that go from ordinary to superb with butter. Along with good taste, butter has also been credited with causing heart disease and obesity. However, butter has some qualities that actually make it healthy such as healthy fats. In recent studies, it was found that butter is not responsible for obesity and the vitamin K2 may reduce heart attack risk. So, what’s wrong with butter?

By Jonathunder (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jonathunder (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

What Kind of Butter is Dangerous and Why
Whether butter is healthy or harmful depends on what the cows eat that produce the cream. Organic butter means the cows are not being fed antibiotics, growth hormones, toxic pesticides or any genetically modified organisms (GMO). Grass fed or pasture raised cows produce more nutritious butter. Most conventional butter is made from cream produced by cows that are fed GMO products such as corn and soy as well as cottonseed and sugar beets. Cottonseed is the worst because it is not a food; it is a textile, so the regulations for food crops do not apply. Cows are also fed GMO alfalfa and rapeseed. What does all this mean? It means that butter made from this cream is based on GMO products that studies have shown to produce shocking results in animals.

By Tractorboy60 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tractorboy60 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Almost half of the GMO corn produced is fed to animals and 98 percent of GMO soybeans. These crops are contaminated with huge amounts of herbicides that are connected to cancer and pollute the water table as well as the earth. There are also studies that suggest that GMO crops harm the overall biological diversity with modified genes that find their way into wild plants and non-modified crops. The vast majority of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are GMO. Consumers may buy organic fruits, veggies and meat, but not even think about their butter. It’s time to look more closely at the butter you buy if you want to avoid eating toxins and contributing to environmentally unfriendly agricultural practices.

According to a 2009 article in the Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, GMO goods can be toxic or allergenic. Mice that were fed GMO peas developed immune reactions to normally non-allergenic foods. These peas were not commercialized. The first commercialized GMO tomato produced ulcers and stomach lesions in rats. There were 19 studies, some of which were conducted by the producers of GMO food, on mammals fed with commercialized soy and maize. Toxic effects were developed in the kidneys and liver that could be the beginning of chronic diseases, but there were no long-term studies as follow-up because long-term studies are not required in the U.S. or anywhere else.

What is GMO doing to the environment?

More than 80 percent of all GMOs grown all over the world have been engineered to be herbicide tolerant. Because of this, the use of toxic herbicides has increased up to 15 times since GMOs were introduced. They also produce super bugs and weeds that take even stronger chemicals to kill. It’s interesting that GMOs have been produced by the biggest chemical companies. No one knows the long-term impact.

How to Choose the Right Butter
In spite of all of this, butter is still the ingredient that takes our baked potato from blah to fabulous, and there is nutritious butter out there. It takes a little time initially, to choose the best brand, but once you know, you can enjoy butter, worry-free.

By Tomertreves (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tomertreves (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Organic labeled butter will most likely not contain any GMOs, antibiotics, growth hormones or toxic pesticides. However, organic labeling may differ, so a little research into the organic certification on the package is a good idea. Some labels specifically state that there is no GMO product fed to the cows.

Grass-fed or pasture raised cows produce more nutritious cream than grain fed. The most CLA and Omega 3 fatty acids are found in butter from grass-fed cows as well as 50 percent more vitamins A and E and 400 percent more beta carotene.

By LittleGun (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By LittleGun (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Healthy Alternatives to Butter
Butter substitutes are not usually a good idea because they are manufactured with oils from GMO crops as well as contain unhealthy additives. However, there are some healthy alternatives that are made from 100 percent olive oil, coconut oil, hemp oil or red palm oil that are vegan-friendly and very tasty.

It’s nice to know that even though the conventional butter brands may be secretly ruining your health, there is a solution. Making healthier butter or butter substitute choices not only improves your health, it sends the message to the manufacturers that, now that we are aware of their toxic ingredients, we will avoid them.