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Is Butter Good for Diabetes? What You Should Know
Diabetes

Is Butter Good for Diabetes? What You Should Know

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 5, 2022
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4 min

Most people love using butter to enhance meals. This dairy product is usually a shopping essential, but does that mean it’s good for diabetes? We explain if butter raises blood sugar levels, including the nutritional value, glycemic index, and some general facts.

Is butter good for diabetes
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We can bet that butter exists in most refrigerators. 

People use it for toast, baking treats, desserts, and pan-fried dishes. Since butter is a versatile food, there’s no harm in stocking up on the popular dairy product.

Of course, not everyone can consume butter in their everyday diet. Those with diabetes have to be careful about their food consumption, as the wrong product could set off hyperglycemia symptoms, which comprise headaches and horrible thirst.

If you’re wondering whether butter is suitable for diabetes management, keep on reading.

Is Butter Good for Diabetes?

Eating butter in moderation is safe for people with diabetes. You should choose butter that doesn’t contain too much saturated fat and added sugars. Just make sure to monitor how much you consume, as certain dairy products can increase blood sugar levels.

Butter is made by churning fresh or fermented milk from cows. Even though it contains lots of calcium and vitamins, the high-fat content doesn’t make it a healthy option for every meal. People with diabetes need to monitor how much butter they eat to avoid high blood sugar levels.

Since saturated fat causes blood pressure spikes, you’ll be more at risk of getting heart disease in the future. Consuming too much butter will increase LDL cholesterol and worsen diabetes symptoms. You might experience chronic fatigue, weakness, extreme thirst, and headaches.

For more healthy meal ideas, consume butter with whole-grain bread or mix some melted butter with green vegetables. Don’t forget that this food still contains lots of important calcium – a mineral that can maintain bone health, strengthen your teeth, and lubricate the joints.

Does Butter Increase Blood Sugar Levels?

Yes, too much butter can increase the sugar content in your bloodstream. However, eating this food in moderate amounts won’t damage heart health. Always be aware of foods that contain trans fat, salt, and sugar when managing a diabetes-friendly diet.

Consuming small servings of unsalted butter won’t trigger hyperglycemia symptoms. Your body is able to digest saturated fats without raising insulin levels. Some people have one tablespoon of butter when spreading it over toast, making healthy cakes, or melting it in a frying pan.

The low number of carbs also stops your body from becoming overwhelmed. For example, white bread contains 46.9 grams of carbohydrates, which encourages the body to break them down into sugar. Of course, the more glucose you have, the more diabetes symptoms you’ll get.

Nutritional Value of Butter

There aren’t too many health benefits that derive from butter. Even though it’s a dairy product, the high amount of fat could potentially weaken your heart. That doesn’t mean butter should be avoided, as it’s a great food to have with whole-wheat bread and certain baked treats.

Below, you’ll find the nutritional value of butter per 100 grams:

Net CarbsTotal CarbsFatsProtein
0.06g0.06g81.1g0.85g
CaloriesFiberSugarsGlycemic Index
7170g0.06g0

Glycemic Index of Butter

The glycemic index of butter is 0, making it a low-glycemic food. Anything below 55 won’t raise blood sugar or cause insulin spikes. However, even though butter scores 0 on the GI scale, eating too much could still increase the risk of diabetes-related symptoms.

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A low glycemic index means people can avoid hyperglycemia, weight gain, and certain cardiovascular diseases. This also means that small amounts of butter won’t cause extreme swings in your blood glucose content or make you feel tired from high blood pressure levels.

Just remember that a high butter intake still increases the calories. Too many calories stop you from achieving weight loss or reaching lifelong glycemic control. Aim to eat other healthy foods, like cashews, green leafy vegetables, berries, and whole grains, to manage diabetes. 

Is Margarine Better Than Butter for Those With Diabetes?

People with diabetes should choose natural butter over margarine to avoid health issues. This is because some brands add trans fats to their margarine products. These types of fats increase LDL cholesterol levels, which is not good for maintaining heart health. 

Margarine is made using oils, water, salt, and emulsifiers. The ingredients aren’t much healthier than butter, meaning you should limit this product as well. Even small amounts of margarine could have hydrogenated oils – synthetic fats that don’t offer any good health benefits. 

Consuming butter may be better for managing your health. Just remember that both options still have lots of calories that could ruin a diabetes-friendly diet. Margarine’s total fat content will contribute to heart attacks, decrease immune responses, and increase insulin resistance. 

FAQs

How much sugar is in butter?

There are 0.06 grams of sugar in 100 grams of butter. Foods with minimal sugars won’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or promote kidney dysfunction. However, unsalted butter still contains lots of saturated fats, making this food more dangerous on a well-balanced diet.

What is the healthiest substitute for butter?

You should opt for olive oil, ghee, or coconut oil when finding alternatives that have polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These fats are perfectly healthy and won’t damage your body. They may also stop you from gaining weight due to the reduced calorie intake.

How much butter can you eat if you have diabetes?

People with diabetes can get 5–6% of total calories from saturated fats. This translates to 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter per day. Going over this recommended amount could encourage weight gain and increase the blood lipids that travel through and block your arteries.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

You can eat butter on your diabetes diet, but it’s not the best option. It doesn’t contain monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat, which are fats that improve cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, strengthen cell membranes, and stop horrible hunger cravings during the day.

Only consume butter in moderation to avoid heart problems or kidney stones. Certain nut butter, like pistachio, coconut, and walnut, has more health benefits. Since it is just crushed-up nuts, you can digest more omega-3 fatty acids in your nutrient-dense diet.

If you want to eat butter, always monitor how much you use in every meal. Going overboard could exceed your calorie intake and increase the risk of heart disease. A diet should be well-balanced and include vitamins, protein, healthy carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and good fats.

Speak to a doctor if you’re unsure about eating unsalted butter. They might refer you to a registered dietitian who could offer healthy meal plans.

Conclusion

So, is butter good or bad for diabetes?

Butter contains saturated fats, lots of calories, and preservatives that aren’t suitable for your long-term health. If you eat butter in moderation, you won’t experience high glucose levels. Just remember that small amounts can still help you enjoy the creamy, delicious goodness.
Always consume heart-healthy fats from other foods, like avocados, dark chocolate, nuts, and olive oil. These fatty foods are great for diabetes-friendly and low-carbohydrate diets. Getting enough nutrients ensures your body can regulate blood glucose after the digestive process.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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