Monday, August 10, 2015

Butter industry-funded study finds that moderate intake of butter raises cholesterol levels

In a move that backfired, a study about butter funded by the butter industry found that over a two-week period "moderate intake of butter resulted in increases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol compared with the effects of olive oil intake and a habitual diet."

The study, funded by the Danish Dairy Research Foundation and published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 47 healthy men and women whose diets were partially substituted "with 4.5 percent of energy from butter or refined olive oil." The study found that "butter intake increased total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol more than did olive oil intake and increased HDL cholesterol compared with the run-in period. No difference in effects was observed for triacylglycerol, CRP, insulin and glucose concentrations."

It was a "rare instance in which the interests of the study's sponsor and the findings of the study were not aligned," Roberto Ferdman reports for The Washington Post. "It's even more improbable, given that its findings run in contrast to much of the recent science on the dairy product. It's not the first time, though, that an industry-backed study might not have produced the hoped-for result. Last year, research funded by American Pistachio Growers concluded that eating pistachios is actually associated with poorer performance during exercise. In the fine print, the study says the association played no role in the study's design."

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