Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ode To Buttter

Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people are left feeling guilty about all the food they ate over the holiday. Sadly for most people it was more than just one day of eating. All of this aside, I am not here to tell what to eat during your holidays (well technically I am, but for the sake of this article I’m not). Out of all the things that I heard that my clients had to eat on Thanksgiving, there is always only one thing that I just do not understand, and that is BUTTER. Why butter? This is a question that has bothered me for some time now, and I wanted to write about it so that you can all understand where I am coming from.

At my house during Thanksgiving, by now, my family knows how I eat. I have to admit that in the past I have been a total pain in the butt when it comes to food, but I have gotten better. In fact, on holidays, I eat pretty normal. My only exception is butter. There is not one single redeeming nutritional fact about butter. Nothing, not one, I have checked. So I guess my question is WHY BUTTER?

Just to give you a little idea of how bad butter is, I will start with the nutrition facts

Nutrition facts

Amount per serving

Calories 36

Calories from Fat 36

Hide Daily Values

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 4g


Saturated Fat 3g


Monounsaturated Fat 1g

Cholesterol 11mg


Sodium 29mg


Total Carbohydrates 0g


Protein 0g

Vitamin A


Vitamin C






Vitamin D



* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Now this is only based on one pat of butter. This is the amount that most people use on each roll, and realistically most probably use more. Many of you have probably never really looked at this before. Many people use butter simply because that is all they know. But look at the facts, 36 out of 36 calories are from FAT. That is 100% of all the calories from butter come from fat, and 66% of that is saturated(the worst fat). There is not one redeemable quality for butter. In fact most of the taste comes from the added salt, so you’re basically eating salt flavored fat.

If I sound a little wound up about this, it is because I am. This is an article that I have wanted to write for a long time. I have been trying to get my family and clients off butter since I became a trainer. Especially now that there are so many healthy substitutes for butter, I cannot fathom eating the real thing. I have switched completely to I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter (ICBINB) spray, and have never looked back. Even when I have to bake something, a recipe calls for butter; you can use the Smart Balance spread butter.

Let’s look at it like this. You are baking cookies for a party, and the recipe calls for 1 cup of butter. Well one cup of butter has 1628 calories! Considering that the average person needs about 2000 calories per day, you have started a recipe with almost a days worth of calories before adding any other ingredients. Not to mention that ALL of these are fat calories and you get 488 mg of cholesterol as well (For those that don’t know the daily allotment of cholesterol is less than 300mg and for those with high cholesterol it is less than 200mg). Instead, let’s say that you use Smart Balance butter spread; 1 cup of this is only 1280 calories. Now yes, this is only a 330 calorie difference, and yes all of these calories are from fat as well, but only 1/3 of the fat calories are saturated, and there is 0 cholesterol. Although if you look at the calories alone it may not seem like a big deal, where the calories come from, and the cholesterol content are a HUGE deal. Saturated fats like butter increase the likelihood for heart disease and other circulatory problems.

In closing I hope that have opened your eyes a little more about what goes into your body. At the very least I hope it makes you think twice about how much extra butter you add to things after the fact. I realize that people are not going to give up all things that contain butter, and I am not saying that that is necessary. What I am saying is that if you must, use a healthier substitute. If “taste” is the only reason that you have to eat butter then I have to ask you, is taste worth dying for?

Written By Geoff Etherson BS, NASM CPT, NASM CES, NASM PES

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