The popularity of butter has exploded lately as more and more people find out the truth about margarine, and how unhealthy it really is for the body.
Margarine is a heavily processed, chemical-based “food” that only gained market share due to the false notion that low-fat diets are the key to health.
In comparison, butter has been recognized recently as a healthy source of “good” saturated fats, when it comes from grass-fed cows as opposed to the (usually GMO) grain-fed ones that is.
As far as the most popular brands of butter go, the new, unhealthy breed of “conventional” butter from GMO-fed cattle is still the most popular, but more and more people are wising up and switching to grass-fed, in large part because of the popular best-selling book ‘The Bulletproof Diet’ which recommends putting the butter in coffee for a boost of energy and focus.
Kerrygold Butter: Mostly Grass-Fed, But Is It Enough?
The particular butter recommended in the aforementioned book, Kerrygold, is available at many grocery stores across the country and is also now making it into health food stores as well.
You may have noticed it in either gold foil packages (for the salted variety) or in white foil packages for the cultured, unsalted version.
Considering how hard it is to find butter from cows that have been fed anything but GMO corn (and now alfalfa as well) in the United States, the addition of this popular new grass-fed butter variety has been met with celebration by many in the movement for healthier food.
But while this brand of butter is a major improvement, it’s important to know that it may not be entirely free of GMO ingredients. Kerrygold butter is mostly from small farms where cows graze freely on grass, but about 3% of the total feed is likely to come from GMOs, an example of how pervasive they’re becoming in the food supply worldwide.
From the company’s website:
Irish cows benefit from the abundance of grass which grows on our farms. The vast majority of an Irish cow’s diet, almost 90%, is from rich, natural grass. This is much higher than in most other countries.
It is made possible because of the perfect farming conditions enjoyed on the island of Ireland. The balance, normally about 10%, of the cow’s diet is made up of grain and supplements.
Our ongoing discussions with the grain and dairy industry have established that of this approximately 10% grain/supplements, approximately 20 to 25% may be from GM sources. This means that approximately 3% of a cow’s total typical annual diet may be from GM sources.
GM is a relatively new issue in an Irish context.
We are taking an active role in exploring the potential and challenges around using GM free grain in the Irish dairy industry.
Supplementary feeds are important for the health of the animals. They are used to give the cows a healthy and balanced blend of nutrients, providing them with protein, energy and fiber.
Should You Still Buy Kerrygold Butter?
Considering that the amount of GMO material is so small and it’s such an improvement over virtually everything else on the market, this butter should be considered a much better replacement, until we have 100% grass fed butter available on a large scale anyway.
In addition, grass-fed is generally healthier than corn-fed, even organic, since grass-fed has higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids and other healthy things.
Whether you think it’s worth consuming an extra 3% of GMO ingredients to gain these health benefits or not is up to you (also note that even organic products can often contain nearly 1% GMO contamination). Some of the biggest consumers of Kerrygold butter are fans of the Bulletproof Radio podcast with host Dave Asprey, who has long recommended Kerrygold as his number one choice for healthy grass fed butter (other than local and raw which is hard for most people to find). Asprey, whose podcast has been ranked #1 in the United States at various times and whose ‘Bulletproof Diet’ book hit #1 on Amazon.com, actually launched a petition asking Kerrygold to go 100% “Bulletproof” by switching to 100% grass fed cows.
The petition was launched about two years ago and has since been removed (as of April 2017). In the meantime, Kerrygold has not responded, but it has launched a new product with a questionable ingredient that fans of the butter would be wise to avoid: canola oil, which is not recommended in Asprey’s book because of its inflammatory nature. Most canola oil manufactured in the United States is also genetically engineered, and because GMO canola oil spreads so rapidly, the risk of cross contamination with this ingredient is always high.
The company’s website does not say where the canola oil comes from, although the butter is still imported from Ireland. At any rate, it would be wise to avoid the canola oil infused Kerrygold butter whenever possible if you’re a health conscious consumer.
Regardless of what you buy, the key is to support the best companies that truly care about sourcing GMO free ingredients, and to keep spreading the word about how we all deserve to eat as GMO free as possible the way human beings have throughout history.