In Defense of Calories Part II: Calories Aren’t Bad For You

The other night I was having dinner with some old friends I hadn’t seen in a while, and my one friend was eating a lot of butter on his bread. My other friend was making fun of him, and I said:

“Well! Butter is good for you!”.

She looked at me and said incredulously: “No its not! Are you serious?“, like I had just started praising Hitler.

“Yes I am actually”.

Now- these days, especially since getting over my diet dogma for the millionth time, I don’t like to preach, and I feared it going in that direction. I wasn’t going to go into a diatribe then and there about why she shouldn’t worry about eating calories or gaining weight. (This was a fellow actress, and knew it wouldn’t be a short convo, also it wasn’t the time or place). I was getting flustered because everyone is so opinionated on these subjects, and I wanted to say what I believed without rubbing anyone too much the wrong way.

So I went the simpler, but still conventionally controversial Butter Is Healthy route.

She said: “It is not good for you!”

I said: “I actually think its one of the healthiest fats….”

She said: “Why?”

My brain was failing me. Why do I think its healthy again?? I can’t talk about saturated fat…. that’ll take all night to explain. Plus I forget the facts.

I said: “Ummm because its one of the most natural fats, besides …..avocados, whats easier and more natural fat to obtain and eat than dairy fat?”

She said: “Ok… but it will still make you gain weight”.

I said: “Oh sure, anything can. But that doesn’t mean its necessarily unhealthy”.

Surprisingly she listened and sort of agreed. Even though she is “on her way to becoming vegan”, which again, I didn’t comment on. Nobody likes a smug ex-dieter. She already knows I was vegan and it “didn’t work for me”. What more can I say until she wants to hear it?

Then we talked about if we were to eat animal products, we would want them to be as humanely, naturally and sustainably produced. All things I ardently agree with. EXCEPT, my specific problems are so much more on the obsession side that I often choose to “not care” in order to liberate my mind.

Calories Are Not Unhealthy

My friend’s assumption was that because butter has calories, and therefore makes you gain weight (debatable in and of itself): it is therefore unhealthy.

That is a false assumption!

Butter is not unhealthy because it has calories. Butter is nutritious and one of the most nourishing and anti-inflammatory fats you can eat.

I didn’t mean to get into villainizing other fats in this post, that is never my core intention. But this conversation with my friend just highlighted again the way people think about food and calories.

Calories are so frightening to people, that even nutritious foods get labeled “unhealthy” for being concentrated calories. I can still be that way with sugar, but I have come a LONNNNGGGG way. LONG WAY.



  1. Calories are just energy… since when did ‘energy’ become a bad thing??! So hear you on the butter question too… sick of explaining over and over and starting back at square one trying to convince people to eat saturated fats.

  2. Ann B says:

    Butter. Just tell them it has natural Vitamin A, which people are afraid of overdosing on with supplements. No fear overdosing if you just eat the butter.

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