Butyrate Is Good For The Colon, But You Can’t Get It There By Eating Butter

I just saw a tweet by someone called @fatisourfriend. He said one of the benefits of butter is that it contains butyrate* which benefits the colon. That’s untrue. I wouldn’t have paid much attention to this comment except I see this person is an author of a book that specifically addresses fat digestion and absorption!

It is correct that butter contains butyrate. It is correct that butyrate benefits the colon. (It’s the major source of energy for the cells that line the colon.) But butyrate in butter never reaches the colon because the body breaks it down and absorbs it back up in the small intestine. How does butyrate get to the colon? Colonic bacteria eat the fiber and starch that we failed to digest (e.g. resistant starch), excreting short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in the process, one of which is butyric acid.

@fatisourfriend is the user name of someone called Sammy Pepys. Pepys wrote a book called, Fat Is Our Friend. How can someone who wrote a book about the role of fat in human nutrition get such a basic fact, such as where in the body fatty acids are absorbed, wrong? In the introduction he says he has no formal nutrition training. He does not appear to have any formal health, medical, or science education. No degrees. It says he wrote the book to help his sister-in-law lose weight.

Something isn’t adding up. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t boast that you are just a regular guy, not an expert, and then claim to be an expert, saying, “You will find no more authoritative advice on the subject of healthy eating.”

Look at this website someone built to promote his book. It is a slick, expensive site. Weird for a book that doesn’t look very popular. It only has 2 comments. Is he being bankrolled?


There’s also a blog and a Facebook page.

In the tweet where he said butter was good for the colon, he linked this paper: Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases, World Journal of Gastroenterology, 2011. It contradicts him! Did he even read it?

SCFAs are organic acids produced by intestinal microbial fermentation of mainly undigested dietary carbohydrates, specifically resistant starches and dietary fiber. … SCFAs are essentially produced in the colon.

So, here we have the author of a book called Fat Is Our Friend extolling the benefits of eating starch.

There’s something fishy about this twitter account, this book, this website, this message. It’s too glitzy and authoritative-sounding. It’s almost as if it was all ghostwritten and sponsored by some entity with a lot of money who has a stake in fatty animal foods.

*Butyrate is the base form of butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA). It is quite small, only 4 carbons, and saturated. It gets its name from the Latin word for butter (butyrum), where it was first discovered. It’s found in milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products.

1 thought on “Butyrate Is Good For The Colon, But You Can’t Get It There By Eating Butter

  1. Pingback: Butyrate Really Is Good For You, You Get It By Eating Starch | Fanatic Cook

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