Butter is a fatty dairy product that comes from milk. It’s made when cream is churned (boiled) until all of its water is removed. Butter is white in color and is used in many recipes as a fat substitute for many baking and cooking purposes. Butter is 90% fat, 5% water, and 5% milk solids. Butter can be homogenized (blended) or creamed (stirred).
Butter is very versatile for cooking. It can be melted, whipped, or added to vegetables, soups, salads, stews, sauces, meat, and baked goods. Butter contains vitamins A, D, E, and K, minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc, and small amounts of protein. Butter is a popular food spread, and is commonly used on bread, toast, crackers, and pancakes for example. Butter can also be used in cooking.
Butter is a good source of protein. One tablespoon of butter contains about 6 grams of fat, 8 grams of unsaturated fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, and 1 gram of trans fat. The unsaturated fat content of butter comes from its high content of oleic acid, which is a type of monounsaturated fat. One tablespoon contains about 100 calories.
Butter also contains high levels of vitamin A, which is important for vision, bone growth, and reproduction. Vitamin A is also an antioxidant, helping to protect the body against free radicals. Vitamin A helps the body use vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting.
Butter also comes with some health risks. But butter is delicious, and given that it raises HDL cholesterol, it keeps you healthy. So how can you enjoy it without going overboard?
Eat less. Butter is calorie-dense, and 2 ounces of butter has 120 calories. That sounds like a lot, but it’s hardly a cause for concern; 2 ounces of cream cheese has 190 calories. (And 2 ounces of cream cheese has 110 calories in fat, which is more than 2 ounces of butter.) If you eat fewer calories overall, you won’t need as many calories as butter provides, and you won’t overate it.