Butter's not that bad, but margarine's better - study

Eating butter could even reduce the chance of developing diabetes (file)
Eating butter could even reduce the chance of developing diabetes (file)

Slather that toast in all the butter you like - it probably won't give you heart disease.

A review of nine previous studies covering more than 600,000 people in 15 different countries has found no link between eating butter and cardiovascular disease.

In fact, they found eating butter could reduce the chance of developing diabetes.

"Butter may be a more healthful choice than the white bread or potato on which it is commonly spread," the study, published journal PLOS One, concluded.

A small correlation was found between eating butter and overall mortality. Each tablespoon of butter - about 14g - correlated with a 1 percent increase in death from any cause. But it's believed this was down to other factors - essentially people who eat a lot of butter tend to have unhealthier lifestyles and diets overall, even if their deaths can't be linked to butter itself.

That same tablespoon of butter was linked to a 4 percent decrease in the risk of type 2 diabetes.

But in the end, if it's a real healthy option you're after, don't even bother with butter.

"Overall, our results suggest that butter should neither be demonised nor considered... as a route to good health," co-author Dariush Mozaffarian of the University of Massachusetts said.

The study listed a number of better options, including "margarines, spreads, and cooking oils rich in healthful oils, such as soybean, canola, flaxseed, and extra-virgin olive oil".