Statins are one of the most used drugs in the history of human existence. In 2008, $12.4 billion dollars worth of Lipitor was sold. In 2000, almost half of all patients with dyslipidemia (bad blood results) were taking a statin (this is despite a lack of clinical trials showing they help).
If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about the perks of quality fats – or at least grass-fed butter – before.
We’ll be writing more about statins in the future, but this article is going to talk about one man’s experience with an unlikely food: butter.
Greg’s Butter Experiment
A New York Lawyer named Greg decided to run an n=1 experiment. He started eating a half stick (56 grams) of butter a day to lower his cholesterol. He was careful and precise with his methods, and even conducted a small statistical analysis of the results. I first learned of his experiment when Seth Roberts posted it on his blog.
Seth and I have been eating a stick of butter a day for quite some time – in my case I’ve been doing it since 2005. Greg took it a step further with his 1000-calorie omelet:
“In January I added half a stick of butter (about 57 grams) to my morning omelet. I first got this idea from Seth Roberts, who reportedly has been eating half a stick of butter per day for some time in order to increase his mental performance. Seth believes butter has been good for his heart. Dave Asprey also recommends eating lots of butter for brain health, among other reasons. My omelet consists of four pastured eggs, half a stick of Kerrygold Irish butter, and three tablespoons of coconut oil. That’s 1,076 calories, 110 grams of fat (75 grams from saturated fat) and 865mg of cholesterol. My diet otherwise stayed the same, though I was usually eating smaller portions of everything else.”
Greg tracked his cholesterol levels over time, and this is what happened:
- HDL (“good”) cholesterol went up by 19%
- Non-HDL cholesterol went down by 25%.
As a good scientist, Greg was careful to interpret the results with skepticism:
“I should point out that, for a variety of reasons, these are not high quality statistics. First of all, I have no formal training in statistics. Given that some data points were taken fairly close together in time, there is likely some serial correlation between measurements. I also made no particular effort to control for other variables. Finally, these results apply to me. There may well be people who respond differently and for whom butter is unhealthy. As with anything, it is always advisable to test things for yourself. So take this with a grain of salt. Or half a stick of butter, if you prefer.”
This isn’t as surprising as it seems. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter had a 50% reduced risk of developing heart disease compared to those using margarine.
Great researchers like Sally Fallon, Chris Masterjohn, and Stephan Guyenet have written extensively about the benefits of butter, especially when it comes to heart health. I believe that butyric acid from butter is one of the major reasons it achieves this effect. Chris Masterjohn has also written about the dangers of “heart healthy” polyunsaturated fats.
That said, a larger sample size would be nice (and there’s nothing wrong with trying it). Here is the recipe for Greg’s 1000-calorie omelet, if you want to give this experiment a try:
- 4 pastured eggs.
- 56 grams of Kerrygold butter.
- 42 grams of coconut oil.
Let us know the results in the comments section of this post, or (even better) on the Bulletproof Forum.
In the meantime, I’m going to eat more butter.