Start spreading the news: Butter is the new broccoli! Well, not really. But this creamy condiment isn’t as unhealthy as your mother told you. In fact, you could be nutritionally better off consuming a serving of butter than a serving of sugar, according to a recent report.
Using nine papers that included more than 600,000 people, researchers analyzed the connections between participants’ butter consumption and their risk for chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
The final results, which were published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that consuming butter does not necessarily lead to a higher risk for heart disease. Plus, in about half of the studies, people who ate butter daily had a four percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (Just in case you’ve been wondering, here’s the real difference between butter and margarine.)
More research is needed to understand why butter consumption might protect against diabetes. However, researchers believe it could be thanks to the monounsaturated fats found in dairy, which can improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity.
Of course, the new study isn’t saying you should start slathering butter on everything you eat. But “it doesn’t seem to be hugely harmful or beneficial,” study author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts in Boston, told TIME. Instead, researchers recommend focusing on the types of foods you eat, rather than their fat or calorie content. Learn more about the signs you’re not eating enough healthy fats.
Our conclusion: You can eat butter and totally not feel guilty—just don’t overdo it. Everything in moderation, right? If you found yourself on a roll with the butter lately, you need these recipes that are better with butter.