Is Butter Unhealthy?


After writing about Julia Child’s love affair with butter in yesterday’s post, I think it is only fitting I share this with you today.

Today’s post is just a continuation of my many posts in my crusade for a common sense approach to diet, nutrition, and eating. More specifically it is an update of this post: Understanding Food Studies.


Brief History

Many years ago doctors and the food police waged a war against butter and urged Americans to eat margarine instead. Many folks switched. They gave up butter for margarine.

Woops. Too bad!!!

Years later Harvard School of Public Health and Boston’s Brigham and Woman’s Hospital reported the findings of a 14 year study of the fat intake of 80.000 nurses.

You know were this is leading, don’t you?

Yep. The fat that was most likely to cause health issues was the fat in margarine, not in butter.

That is the background for what I want to share with you today. Recently I came across a 2006 newsletter of the Harvard Health Publications. This was published after the Harvard/Brigham study came out.

See the Bias In Food Studies

This newsletter is VERY revealing about the butter scare, but mostly about food studies.

The third paragraph is what struck me most:

The truth is, there never was any good evidence that using margarine instead of butter cut the chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Making the switch was a well-intentioned guess, given that margarine had less saturated fat than butter, but it overlooked the dangers of trans fats.  [All emphasis mine.]

This one paragraph reveals the bias some researchers have when conducting food studies. This is why I take all of these studies with a grain of salt.

You can read the entire newsletter by clicking this link, Butter Vs Margarine.

True Confessions

Here you have true confessions about many food studies. Here you have a health profesional admit it. Too many times they are just guessing!  Guesses with precious little real evidence to back their guesses up. Sometimes there is outright lying as there was with Ancel Keyes and The Lipid Hypothesis, the study that started the fat is bad for you myth in the first place.


Yet, doctors, dieticians, and the government all tell us that we must eat this or must not eat this or that food. They make these pronouncements as if they are Moses come down from the Mount. Yet too often they are really only guesses based on the flimsiest and weakest of studies.

This leads me to another of my drumbeats here at More Thyme. It is one Julia Child believed in too.

Moderation. Moderation. Moderation.

I have said it over and over here at More Thyme Than Dough. I eat what I want. I eat a varied and colorful diet. And I eat in moderation. For more details on eating in moderation see: Want To Lose Weight Fast? Eat Fat.

The fact is your body, especially the brain, needs fat to be healthy. Fat is also very filling. Therefore, when you eat real fat you feel full longer. You are satisfied, therefore you eat less.

Featured Recipe        Roasted Potatoes with Bacon

You would think after a post touting butter I would share a recipe using lots of butter. That would make logical sense. I am not that organized. I do use bacon grease though.

Potatoes and bacon. A pairing made in heaven. Don’t you think?

Another fast and easy budget recipe for you today.

This is what you will need for 3 people:

2 pounds potatoes  (About 2 medium potatoes)

6 slices bacon

1 medium onion

1 – 2 tablespoon olive oil

Spray oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cook the bacon until crisp and crumble into medium sized pieces.

Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

 Cut the onion into quarters.  Cut the ends off of the onion pieces. Slice the quarters.

Peel the potatoes. Then slice the potatoes into rounds about one-half inch thick.

Cut the rounds into three pieces.

Cut those slices into thirds as well. You will have cubes when you are finished.

Toss the cut potatoes onto the foil lined baking sheet as you finish cutting them.

When all of the potatoes are cut and on the bakinsheet add the sliced onions to the baking sheet.

Now drizzle everything with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. I also added the left over grease in the skillet from cooking the bacon. This will give the potatoes extra added Yumminess.

Using your hands and fingres, toss the potatoes and onions to coat them with the oil. Then spread the potatoes evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Toss the bacon bits on top.

 Bake, turning occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes, or until fork tender and browned.

Hot out of the oven.

Serve for breakfast or dinner.

VARIATIONS: If I have green onions in my fridge I dice them very small and toss them over the potatoes right before serving. When I want to make this a meal I add a fried or poached egg or two on top of the potatoes.

This potato dish is great with any meat entrée. You might consider trying:

Minute Steaks with Butter Sauce

Oven Barbecued Chicken

Bon appétit!!!


2 pounds potatoes                 $1.00

6 slices bacon                       $1.68

1 medium onion                    $0.64

1 – 2 tablespoon olive oil       $0.24

Spray oil                              $0.01

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $3.57
Cost per person = $1.19

Quote of the Day

Only two things in this world are too serious to be jested on, potatoes and matrimony.

Irish saying


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5 comments to Is Butter Unhealthy?

  • I couldn’t agree with you more. I haven’t bought margarine in so long I can’t remember. I hate it. Not only do I love butter, I make my own.

    We don’t have thin crispy bacon in Australia and I’m not sure why. They have it in New Zealand so it must be a cultural thing. I’ve learned that not only is butter my friend but so is duck fat. It’s all about how much you eat of anything. You won’t find me at McDonalds but you will find crispy roasted potatoes on my table.

    I love your quote of the day!

    • Roberta

      WOW! You make your own butter. I am impressed. I am sure it is wonderful. How thick is the bacon in Australia?

  • Friend with a job

    No left over bacon grease in this southerner’s kitchen. The grease is in a cup in the fridge and is used to add flavor to a variety of things especially veggies; green beans and potatoes in particular.

    • Roberta

      Thanks for the great comment!

      My Hungarian grandmother and mother did the same thing. Saved the bacon drippings. So do I and have recommended it here several times too. I even showed my container of fat once. I just fried some salmon patties in left-over bacon drippings the other night. Good for many things not the least of which, as you said, green beans and potatoes. Yea Friend! You know how to cook!

  • My old man is a darn fine cook and he taught me to save the bacon grease. We are lucky to have an organic, local butcher nearby and we have switched to jowl bacon, which is phenomenal.
    My Wisconsin upbringing comes out when I sit down and eat at least a quarter stick of butter almost everyday, sometimes dipped in hummus or my favorite, peanut butter. Sometimes on chips or with raisins or just mixed with brown sugar. MMM mmm! People think it’s disgusting, and while I do go overboard, it’s certainly better than scarfing down a big mac. I haven’t quite gotten control of the “moderation” yet though…