Butter contains saturated and trans fats, both of which may increase the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, in a person's blood.

Most of the saturated fat in our diet comes from animal products, including red meat, eggs, and dairy. These foods also all contain cholesterol.

Many people believe that eating lots of cholesterol will directly increase the level of cholesterol in their blood. However, the USDA Dietary Guidelines from 2015 say there is little evidence for a link between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol levels in the blood.

Read on to learn more about the link between butter and blood cholesterol levels. We also suggest some butter substitutes and explain how to lower cholesterol.

How does butter affect cholesterol levels?

Close up of block of butter being sliced, may raise cholesterol.
Butter may increase cholesterol levels.

One tablespoon of unsalted butter contains 31 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol and 7.2 grams (g) of saturated fat.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that anyone who is aiming to lower their LDL cholesterol should get no more than 5–6 percent of their total calorie intake from saturated fat. On a 2,000 calorie diet, this equates to 11–13 g of saturated fat per day. Therefore, two tablespoons of butter provide more saturated fat than most people should be consuming daily.

Eating lots of saturated fats can increase a person's LDL cholesterol level. As butter contains a lot of saturated fat, people with high cholesterol should be mindful of how much they consume each day.

However, a review of papers from 2014 suggests that people should focus on maintaining a favorable ratio between LDL and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. The authors state that there may not be a strong link between a person's consumption of saturated fats and their risk of heart disease or stroke.


Despite this, the AHA still recommend that people with high cholesterol monitor their consumption of butter. They suggest replacing it with healthy fat alternatives such as avocados and olive oil.

Leaving a legacy that impacts lives!

© 2018 ACUF. All Rights Reserved.