A new study about butter, that was funded by the dairy industry itself, actually published that butter is bad for you. If you think this situation is unusual, that’s because it is.
There has been a known established link between industry funded nutrition-related scientific articles never showing a negative impact of the sponsors’ product. Yet, when studies are not funded by industry, outcomes show products to be harmful up to 37% of the time.
The recent study by the University of Copenhagen, funded by the Danish Dairy Research Foundation, has found that dairy butter is unhealthy and is known to have a cholesterol-raising effect. This raising effect leads to a process known as atherosclerosis of the arteries where arteries become hardened or clogged, which leads to often fatal heart attacks and strokes.
“It’s very rare for an industry-funded study to find something that goes against the interests of that industry,” said Marion Nestle, who is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University.
Marion Nestle founded Food Politics after she began collecting studies which served the interests of their sponsors. Before 2000, it was unheard of for journals to share the name of sponsors, while now that is the normal practice. It is imperative that people pay attention before simply believing and sharing studies on the Internet.
During July of this year, Nestle brought attention to a collection of industry-funded research that exonerated orange juice, high-fat cheese, and sugar of various harms. In all, she has found 37 such self-serving studies since March.
The Butter Study
While it has been generally known that dairy butter has a cholesterol-raising effect, the effects of moderate butter intake has not been made clear, until now.
Forty-seven men and women participated in a 5 week controlled, double-blinded, randomised dietary study where they consumed their habitual diets with 4.5% of energy from butter or refined olive oil. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, established that even moderate levels of butter consumption results in higher total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. At the very least, the study showed that butter raises blood cholesterol levels more than alternatives like olive oil.