Butterfat: Good Ingredient Or Cheap Extender?

Butterfat can be read on the list of ingredients for numerous products. But what is it really? We clarify.

If you look at the ingredients of a product, you will quickly realize that today we consume a large number of ingredients that we do not even know. Additives quickly accumulate not only on finished products but also on sweets, some harmless, others less so, recognizable by unpronounceable words or E numbers.

A comparatively well-known ingredient, however, is butterfat. Hardly anyone knows what actually lies behind the word.

Butterfat = clarified butter?

Butterfat consists of 99.8 percent fat. Unlike butter, it no longer contains any protein or sugar. During production, the butter is heated until the water, milk protein, and lactose separate and can be skimmed off. Therefore, concentrated butter is usually well tolerated by people with lactose intolerance.

The fat is also called clarified butter, but should not be confused with regular lard, which is usually made from pork or goose fat. However, concentrated butter is only made from cream or butter made from cow’s milk.

Is concentrated butter healthy or harmful?

Butterfat is not harmful per se. However, like any fat, it should be consumed in moderation, especially as it is high in saturated fat.

However, it depends heavily on the quality of the original product and the production. An advantage of concentrated butter is its heat resistance. Even if it is processed at high temperatures, no carcinogenic substances are produced. In general, butterfat has a longer shelf life as solid fat and is also more heat-resistant. It is therefore particularly suitable for frying or baking. The proportion of vitamin A should not be underestimated either – nevertheless, it is and remains pure fat.

In Germany, butterfat is industrially produced and often used as a cheap extender for high-quality ingredients such as cocoa butter. It is therefore also called industrial fat and is included as a cheap alternative in many discount products instead of regular butter.

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Written by Allison Turner

I am a Registered Dietitian with 7+ years of experience in supporting many facets of nutrition, including but not limited to nutrition communications, nutrition marketing, content creation, corporate wellness, clinical nutrition, food service, community nutrition, and food and beverage development. I provide relevant, on-trend, and science-based expertise on a wide range of nutrition topics such as nutrition content development, recipe development and analysis, new product launch execution, food and nutrition media relations, and serve as a nutrition expert on behalf of a brand.

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