Are you on a low carb diet and searching “is butter a carb” online? If so you may have only ended up finding a bunch of Mean Girls references. Or alternatively adverts for a nutrition book. Well, you’re not the only one. Not wanting to rely on seventeen-year-old comedy movies or needing to buy a book? Don’t worry, we’re here to actually give you a straight answer.
Low Carb Diet – Is Butter Suitable?
Like Regina George (sorry had to get one Mean Girls reference in there) you’re wondering if butter is high in carbohydrates. However, instead of trying to pursue a high carb diet, most people are actually interested in low carb diets.
So is butter a carb?
The food and wellness industry and the diet industry are both full of contradictory anecdotal evidence and unsubstantiated facts. As such it can be hard unpicking fact from fiction. This is especially true when it comes to something as widely referenced and joked about as butter being a carb.
However, information on evidence based nutrition accessible from both reputable sources and nutritional info on the back of butter packets all show that butter is not a carb.
In fact, butter has been shown to contain between zero and zero point one grams of carbs and net carbs. As a result of this butter can fit into low carb diets rather well.
What Are Net Carbs?
As mentioned above, there are two designations of carbs. These are net carbs and carbs or total carbs.
Simply put, net carbs are the carbohydrates your body can fully convert into glucose. Total carbs on the other hand include net carbs but also sugars, starches and dietary fibre.
Nutritional Information About Butter
Whilst butter is low on carbs, it is important to be aware of its full nutritional content to evaluate how healthy it is. Below is the nutritional information for a tablespoon of salted butter. Roughly this translates to a serving size of 14.19 grams.
- Calories: 100
- Total Carbs: Between 0 grams and 0.1 grams
- Protein: 0.1 grams
- Fat: 11.5 grams
- Saturated Fat: 7.3 grams
- Cholesterol: 30.5 milligrams
Doesn’t Butter Cause Heart Disease?
Whilst butter does contain very little carbohydrates, it is very high in fat. In fact the majority of its nutritional value being fat; a large amount of which being saturated fat. As such many people may be incredibly wary of butter.
Well established nutrition research has pointed the finger at fat and saturated fat especially as being the primary cause of heart disease. Additionally, many a diet myth claims the way to lose weight is by cutting fat out of your diet.
However, the latest research has found that whilst consuming an excess amount of saturated fat may contribute to certain factors that cause heart disease; there isn’t a conclusive link between heart disease and fat.
This isn’t to say that you can eat as much butter as you want to if trying to achieve weight loss through a low carb diet. This is because excess fat consumption can prevent your body from burning through the fat stores already present.
Therefore instead of an excess of fat or carbs, supplementing parts of your diet with whole grains is a good way of reducing heart disease. This is because when incorporated into a healthy diet they will help to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Both of which are often linked with heart disease.
Why Do Different Experts And Diets Contradict Each Other?
Emerging science talking about there being little link between fat and heart disease. However, many diet programs and diet products still advertise being fat-free.
The reason for this is that whilst there are certain areas where real science has found conclusive answers about how nutrition works; the vast majority is still somewhat up for debate. This has been the case for hundreds of years and unfortunately is unlikely to change in the near future.
Butter and fat can and should be part of your diet in moderation. Despite this they should incorporated into a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle. Additionally, this is also true for carbohydrates. They are good for providing a quick burst of energy when needed, whilst fat and protein will be slower burns.
Butter is perfectly suitable for the keto diet since it is very high in fat, contains a small amount of protein and little to no carbohydrates. Butter, along with foods containing fat used to be seen as damaging to the body, specifically the heart. However, more recent scientific evidence has shown that the risks are minor or non-existent.
Butter does contain some carbs but is not considered a strong source of carbohydrates. In fact, butter has been shown to contain between zero and zero point one grams of carbs and net carbs. As a result of this butter can fit into low carb diets very well.
Butter is low in carbs and derived from dairy milk which leads many people to believe that dairy milk is also low in carbs. However, dairy milk is actually very high in carbohydrates. As a result, milk is unsuitable for low carbohydrate diets such as Keto and Atkins. Instead try to sub out milk for alternatives when possible.