U.S. Dairy Products > Butter & Milkfat

Health & Nutrition

Fat is a necessary component of the daily diet, with butter and milkfat supplying essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and antioxidants for the body. Butter is a natural source of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and antioxidants.

Recent science has taken a closer look at the saturated fats found in dairy foods like butter, and found that not all saturated fatty acids have negative effects on heart health.1 In fact, emerging research suggests that certain fatty acids found in dairy actually result in a reduced risk for heart disease.2 Butter also does not contain the type of trans fats that are found in margarines or other hydrogenated fat products, which decrease levels of good (HDL) cholesterol and increase levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol.3 As research continues to build on the physiological impact of specific fatty acids, we may learn that fat from dairy can be included in a healthy diet.

Fat (1 T) Saturated (g) Trans Fat (g)
Butter 7.2 0.0
Margarine 1.6 3.0

The nutritional basics of butter are similar to foods such as olive oil and margarine.  

1 Serving (10 g) Fat (g) Calories (g)
Butter 8 72
Margarine 8 72
Olive Oil 10 88

For reduced fat and calories per serving, try light butter or whipped butter.  

1 Serving (10 g) Fat (g) Calories (g)
Butter 8 72
Whipped Butter 6 50
Light Butter 6 50

1de Oliveira Otto MC, Mozaffarian D, Kromhout D, Bertoni AG,Sibley CT, Jacobs DR Jr, Nettleton JA. Dietary intake of saturated fat by food source and incident cardiovascular disease: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug;96(2):397-404. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.037770. Epub 2012 Jul 3.
2de Oliveira Otto MC, Nettleton JA, Lemaitre RN, Steffen LM, Kromhout D, Rich SS, Tsai MY, Jacobs DR, Mozaffarian D. Biomarkers of dairy fatty acids and risk of cardiovascular disease in the Multi-ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. J Am Heart Assoc. 2013 Jul 18;2(4):e000092. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.113.000092.
3Jakobsen MU, Overvad K, Dyerberg J, Heitmann BL. Intake of ruminant trans fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease. Int J Epidemiol. 2008 Feb;37(1):173-82. Epub 2007 Dec 12.