Nutrients in Butter vs Olive Oil

Why Would You Ever Choose Olive Oil Over Butter?

A comparison table with data taken from the USDA database for olive oil here and for butter here. This is merely a compiled data. Rows where zeros were in both were deleted to reduce space. I created this to compare EVOO, a butter consistency olive oil that some people choose to eat, thinking they eat something healthier than butter. Do they?

Based on the nutrients:

I Will Never Choose Olive Oil

Why on earth would I? Butter is filled with short and medium chained fatty acids, amino acids, and a ton of minerals and vitamins. Olive oil falls short of everything, except for monounsaturated fat. However, almost 25% of butter fat is monounsaturated as well, so do I really care? And finally, butter has omega 3 fatty acids whereas olive oil doesn’t.

Comments are welcomed, as always, and are monitored for appropriateness


About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain--migraine in particular--physiology, electrolyte homeostasis, nutrition, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention, and treatment without the use of medicine. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage dependent channels, gates, and pumps (chanelopathy) that modulate electrolyte mineral density and voltage in the brain. In addition, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other variants, such as MTHFR variants of B vitamin methylation process and many others are different in the case of a migraineur from the general population. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive (carbohydrate intolerant) and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. She is working on her hypothesis that migraine is a metabolic disease. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and her helping over 5000 migraineurs successfully prevent their migraines world wide, all ages and both genders, and all types of migraines, she published the 2nd (extended) edition of her migraine book "Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: Complete Guide: How To Treat & Prevent Migraines Without Medications". The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraine cause, development, and prevention, incorporating all there is to know. It includes a long section for medical and research professionals. The book is full of academic citations (over 800) to authenticate the statements she makes to make it easy to follow up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide", published on September 29, 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in Economics with dissertation in neuroscience (culminating in Neuroeconomics) at Claremont Graduate University, fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers, certification in LCHF/ketogenic diet from NN (Nutrition Network), certification in physiology (UPEN via Coursea), Nutrition (Harvard Shool of Public Health) and functional medicine studies. Dr. Stanton is an avid sports fan, currently power weight lifting and kickboxing. For relaxation (yeah.. about a half minute each day), she paints and photographs and loves to spend time with her family of husband of 45 years, 2 sons and their wives, and 2 granddaughters. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook, LinkedIn at and facebook at
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17 Responses to Nutrients in Butter vs Olive Oil

  1. chris c says:

    I like EVOO mainly for the flavour. I also like butter for the flavour, and coconut oil too! Would also be interesting to see the similarities between olive oil and lard!

    I avoid most seed oils because I don’t want the Omega 6 excess. I tried some cold pressed rapeseed oil from a local farm and that tasted like crap too, so though I like to support local farmers I’ll give that one a miss. I eat grass fed beef and lamb from his neighbours, and free range bacon. Oh and pheasants and partridges and sometimes venison.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I pulled the USDA table on lard as well and compared to olive oil and butter. In my opinion everything beats olive oil, except in monounsaturated fat (MUFA), though lard actually comes very close. Below some details in 100 gr each

      Olive oil butter lard
      MUFA 92.961 gr 23.43 gr 45.1 gr
      Saturated 13.808 gr 50.489 gr 39.2 gr
      PUFA 9.762 gr 3.01 gr 11.2 gr

      Let’s hope these show up in line as I typed them…

      cholesterol 221 mg (in polysterols) 215 mg 95 mg
      cholesterol in 1 egg: 375 mg — just to give you an idea, and dietary cholesterol doesn’t increase cholesterol–assuming cholesterol matters to anyone. It wouldn’t.

      While olive oil has only vitamin E and K (in K1, which is for blood clotting, so not the best), butter has just about all vitamins and minerals, and lard has a ton of choline, some E, and D. Lard has the most energy (902 Calories) and butter the least (717 Calories), olive oil is intermediate (884 Calories).

      So, my ranking:

      1) Butter
      2) lard
      3) olive oil

      The only one from these that has O3 fatty acids is butter… so much for O3 vs O6! I carry no oils in my house at all. Only butter, lard, duck fat, bacon drippings (I use that a lot), lard, and beef tallow. I would say a good 80% of the time I cook with butter and the rest is usually bacon drippings and only rarely anything else


      • chris c says:

        You might have liked last night’s meal – smoked haddock boiled briefly, frozen peas boiled even more briefly, and both laden with butter. It’s good stuff as long as you can handle dairy, lots of useful K2 and CLA.

        Recently I was trying to find the Halloumi in the supermarket (they moved it) and was chatting to a sweet old lady who was looking for mozarella (they moved that too!) She told me she wanted it to melt over haddock, I’ve never tried that but i learned the butter from my mother who I think learned it from hers. I shudder to think what modern kids learn from their parents and grandparents.

        She also learned to keep jars in the fridge (previously it would have been the meat safe) to collect the fat from lamb, beef and bacon, skim off the good stuff from the top when it had solidified and leave the crud to build up underneath. Her roast potatoes were to die for (in my case literally).

        I remember her suet puddings too – but I also recall Gran introducing her to Trex which was the UK equivalent of Crisco, and later I think she used margarine or “cooking fat” rather than butter in her pastry, so they didn;t get it all right. In those days she told me they used to buy olive oil in the chemist (pharmacy). She would sprinkle it on salad when she thought my father wasn’t looking.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I had to look haddock up–it is not something I have ever heard but it looks like it is a cod… is it? I LOVE cod and eat it once a week or so and yes, in butter. Drenched. It even smells like lobster’s cooking while it cooks and I dip it into butter once it is cooked. I love peas but now in my carnivore diet I would not eat it–I love them but they don;t love me. I don;t eat any veggies now at all. I probably no longer have the gut flora for digestion either since I eat nothing with cellulose these days.

          Olive oil from the pharmacy? Wow those must have been the days!

          I suppose we are collecting the fat once more in jars I do. I don’t keep it in the fridge though. I collect a ton of bacon drippings. I get my meat, poultry, and bacon from a meat sharing place that contracts with farms. None from California–I live in California. All the meat I get comes to me from Oregon but the farms may be in Washington state too. So nothing is processed, all fresh straight from the animal. Amazing luck that I have this opportunity! 🙂


      • chris c says:

        Yes it’s a bit similar to cod but wih a stronger flavour especially when smoked. It’s a North Atlantic thing. Only better thing is Arbroath Smokies but we don’t get them this far south, well you can buy them on the internet but they aren’t cheap.

        Herrings are more local, especially smoked as kippers or better bloaters, and oilier, One of my winter favourites, a fish van calls weekly and there is a smokehouse a few villages away which has been in the same family for generations along with a fish restaurant. The second one closed when the owner finally died, he used to smoke chickens and cheese etc. along with the fish.

        Most of my meat is also local and grass-fed and another local family owns the slaughterhouse/meat packing plant and several of the farm shops. Keeps the money circulating locally without profits leaving the area. Probably a reason there are so many fit healthy old folks around and many octagenerians and more in the local churchyards going back centuries.I’ll have what they’re having.

        The last dairy farmer in the area shut up shop years ago but another one recently started, they put in a lot of capital to produce cream, butter, ice cream etc. on the farm but sadly they keep the cows indoors. The previous guy went over to (largely) grass-fed beef so win-win for me!

        Back in the day we had a dietician on a diabetes forum who would warn everyone of the “extreme dangers” of lowcarb diets, mainly scurvy and halitosis which of course no-one actually suffered from while ignoring the amputations, dialysis and retinopathy which no-one on low carb suffered from either. I shudder to think what she would say about you carnivores! Meanwhile another Lancet study about the “benefits of fibre” hits the BBC news. It used to be a waste product until someone hit on the idea of calling it health food and marking the price up.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It is still a waste product 😉 I just watched the same news and though they didn’t say Lancet but the previous Lancet Public Health came to mind on the spot… I wonder if Willett or Hu or Rimm is part of the authors. I still have to find the time to write about the course they teach and I took… that was a total disaster. That course should be pulled. I just don; know where to publish it to have it pulled lol…


        • chris c says:

          EAT-Lancet is a New Thing

          Walt Wallet of course and all the Usual Suspects pushing veganism

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, Willett is into everything everywhere. I need to write about that course by Harvard.. that course needs to come off. I just don;t have the time to write lol… Working on too many things at once.


        • chris c says:


          Willett has been on the TV news. I think Walt Wallet was Richard Feinman but Frank Hunilever was one of mine.

          I celebrated nonveganuary earlier with lamb’s liver, bacon, a giant mushroom and Brussels sprouts. Also to come this week, rump steak, chicken breast, salmon and more smoked haddock. And Somerset Brie, and French butter while it’s still legal

          Liked by 1 person

        • What’s you mean Willett was Richard??? You mean they were up against each other? Richard is a friend of mine. Not familiar with Frank Hunilever. “nonveganuary “?? lol.. love that word! It is “nonveg…” (add name of month) for me all the time 🙂


        • chris c says:

          Sorry, I wasn’t clear,I think it was Richard Feinman who first called Willett Walt Wallet. I remember his other classic “he may look like Wyatt Earp but he’s no straight shooter” He is also known as The Walrus, Garry Lee on Twitter I think

          Frank Hu was paid by Unilever, hence I changed his name..

          I cheered up later when I read the comments on that BBC article, The Public don’t seem to be impressed. Which Is Good. Maybe the vegans are finally starting to piss people off.

          Liked by 1 person

        • heh gotcha. Was my comment up there? I posted one yesterday. I read the comments and had the same impression as you do. Loved one that said something like “the more they are pushing us toward this food the more we are rejecting it and eat the other stuff”.


        • ya… found it. 211. Amazing how some people chatter away


  2. Jodi says:

    Hello. I am still learning about nutrition, and certain combinations, so forgive me if this seems like a silly question. I started using Coconut oil in place of butter when cooking because I thought that butter was high in cholesterol. Should the cholesterol number (shown in chart) for butter a concern?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jodi,

      Great question! Thank you! I should write a little blog about this. If you eat 100 gr (3.5 oz) butter–that’s pretty much a whole butter box of 2 sticks or more–you eat a total of 215 mg cholesterol. If you eat 1 egg, you eat 372 mg cholesterol, see here (scroll down to below fatty acids to see cholesterol on he left side), and the USDA dietary guidelines for 2015-2020 have approved eating eggs.

      Eating dietary cholesterol is not used by our body as cholesterol, so it is of no concern. See that here and here. So eating high cholesterol foods is just fine. With this said and done, there are a few other things to consider.

      Why are you concerned with increasing your cholesterol?

      This is an important question, since if you follow the big arguments, research, and discussions on nutrition, you are probably confused about your cholesterol, so let me clarify it for you.

      1) Total cholesterol is a meaningless number for more than one reasons, but here is one: it includes HDL, the so called good cholesterol. The higher your HDL (good!) the higher your total cholesterol (bad??? Why?). While I understand that most doctors look at total cholesterol, you can see the irony: high good cholesterol will increase your total cholesterol and put you in the corner to kneel on dry corn and take statins, yet it is your good cholesterol that is high. So if your doctor suggests that you have high cholesterol based on your total cholesterol: change doctor.

      2) Assume you LDL cholesterol is high. Does that matter? To start with, we need to understand that LDL (or HDL for that matter) is not cholesterol. It is a protein ball that carries cholesterol, triglycerides, and also all fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. These are essential for your body’s survival and general health. So by reducing your LDL (by whatever means) you also reduce fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Does that make any sense? Obviously not. So the goal is not to reduce LDL either but reduce the small particles within LDL (discussed in a moment).

      3) Triglycerides, part of total cholesterol, are not actually cholesterol but fat–the only reason they are included in the equation because they represent VLDL (very low density cholesterol) where VLDL=(triglyceride/5) and VLDL is a stage away from LDL on the life of cholesterol… so it gives a hint at what LDL may be. They cannot measure LDL in a regular blood test. It can only be measured via NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) of your blood. High triglycerides matter! However, since triglycerides are fat and not cholesterol, eating cholesterol will not change the amount of triglycerides you have. In fact, eating fat is also not going to change the amount of triglycerides you have. What changes it? The amount of carbs you eat. Triglycerides are made from glucose and fructose converted and stored by the liver with the direction of insulin.

      4) Small particles LDL–assuming you took an NMR test and you know where you stand–is what you need to keep an eye on. There are 2 types of LDL particles: large fluffy and small dense. The large fluffy are totally fine and healthy and cause no harm. The small dense are damaged LDL particles and they do cause harm. The thing that creates small dense LDL particles though has nothing to do with how much cholesterol you eat. It has everything to do with how much carbs and how much really bad quality oils/fats you eat that are easily oxidized and damaged. These bad oils and fats are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated cooking oils: this includes all vegetable and seed oils in the market today, except those that are cold pressed, and it also includes vegetable oils like olive and coconut oil if you use them for cooking on a temperature higher than what they can tolerate: smoke point is how this is referred to.

      I recommend you don’t use coconut and olive oil for any cooking at all since temperature control is really hard. Better to be safe than sorry. Enjoy olive ad coconut oil cold but cook everything in animal fats. And use no other cooking oils at all, not even cold. Also, processed foods are really high in these processed oils, so avoid. Some of the most typical such oils: soy oil (nearly all restaurants and processed food manufacturers use it), canola oil, corn oil, rapeseed oil, avocado oil (unless it is cold pressed), other kinds of vegetable oil, sunflower oil, nut oils (even peanut and almond butter if they were produced in a factory, since they heat them), etc.

      5) An important caveat: By now I have been working with many thousands of people and a large percent of them have given me their cholesterol information as well as their food diaries. I have noted that non-nutritive sweeteners, be it naturals or sugar substitutes of any kind, increase triglycerides. It is important to reduce/eliminate those food items from your diet that are for-sure trouble and zero caloric sweeteners of any kind are definite trouble, as well as regular sweeteners, of course.

      And a final point on how to evaluate how your cholesterol is holding up. There is a different equation that you should look at. It is triglycerides/HDL, which needs to be between 0.6 and 1 for ultimate health, < 2 for good health, and 3, you need to make serious lifestyle changes.

      I hope you find this helpful,


  3. Roald Michel says:

    Apart from that, is heating olive oil for cooking purposes not a bad thing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it is Roald. It has a very low smoke point. Any higher and it becomes a goo, not unlike transfat. I now can distinctly tell on food (in restaurants) when the food was cooked in olive oil and how terrible it tastes… It coats the food completely on all sides and sticks to it.. not my sort of a food…


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