“You have to think beyond just calories,” Kadey says. More fat means more calories but also more fullness after meals, which can keep you from overeating later in the day.
Plus, a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that subjects who ate the most high-fat dairy products lowered their risk of being overweight or obese by 8 percent compared with low-fat eaters.
Also, if the butter is from grass-fed cows, like Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter (1 tbsp: 100 cal/11g fat), says Kadey, it has more vital nutrients, like omega-3 fats and vitamin E, than regular butter; it’s also healthier than a nondairy spread, like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, which has refined fats that can increase inflammation.
Still, if you want to keep calories low, here are a few not-unhealthy options—and one superhealthy one!— to try (serving size: 1 tbsp):
- Kerrygold Reduced Fat Irish Butter 80 cal/8g fat
- Laughing Cow Swiss Light 35 cal/1.5g fat
- Philadelphia Light Cream Cheese 30 cal/2.3g fat
And the indisputably best, healthiest option:
- Fresh avocado 22 cal/2g fat