While the message for years has been to avoid butter, the American Butter Institute says the dairy spread is back and Americans are eating a lot more of the product. Consumption is at a 40-year high and there’s been a 25 percent jump in the past decade, according to the trade group.
Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, joined the “CBS This Morning” co-hosts to discuss why butter’s popularity is increasing.
Narula told the co-hosts that it is “not really a good thing” that many Americans are eating more butter.
“I think people really wanted to switch away from artificial and processed foods and they went back towards butter,” she said. “But the reality is butter is filled with saturated fat and cholesterol, which can clog the arteries with plaque and form coronary artery disease.”
The big push for butter came about, according to Narula, because people were worried about the trans fats in traditional margarines.
“We know that trans fats are as bad as can be for the body and that’s why the FDA is now trying to get rid of them,” she said. “So, people said ‘let me switch back to something that’s natural.’ And they went towards butter.”
She explained that instead of fat from butter, Americans should be looking for healthy fats found in nuts, fish oil and olive oil.
“That type of fat is actually monounsaturated or polyunsaturated,” she said. “That’s what you want to choose, not the saturated fat that’s in butter.”
Narula explained that it’s important to not avoid fats all together, since “the body needs fats to work well.” But, the amount of fat that you take in should be limited.
“You want to eat a total amount of about 25-30 percent of your calories on a daily basis in the form of fats and less than seven percent in saturated fats,” she said.
However, if you do want to eat butter, Narula said the “the key is moderation.”
“About one tablespoon of butter has your daily recommended amount of saturated fat -- so, that’s it,” she said. “You can go with one tablespoon a day.”