This simple ingredient could be the key to eternal happiness

Mon dieu! It appears what we all assumed may just be true: Butter is the one essential ingredient for happiness.

Now, we all know the best things are made better by butter. Butter on bread. Butter in croissants. Noodles slathered in butter. Butter bars are what creamy, yummy dreams are made of. The best cuisines (think: French) are drenched in butter (after all, it was Julia Child’s favorite ingredient.) Butter=joy should be an equation taught in school.

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And now, a recent graph using Our World in Data shows just how connected our happiness and butter may be. In a chart labeled “self-reported life satisfaction vs. butter supply per capita, 2013,” a positive relationship between the amount of butter in a country and people’s satisfaction becomes clear.

So that settles it then. Time to book a one-way ticket to Paris, right?

Well, not quite. The graphic itself is admittedly a little tongue-in-cheek (one researcher tweeted that it does not appear on Our World in Data’s website because the organization tries to be serious) and this is one of those times to remember correlation vs. causation.

It is true that a lot of places with generous butter supplies also have high life satisfaction among their residents. Iceland, Canada, Australia, France, Belgium, and Germany all rank high in both categories.

It’s also true that some of the places with low life satisfaction don’t have much butter, such as in the cases of Madagascar, Haiti, Cameroon, and Malawi.

But chances are that — in both the happy and unhappy countries — there’s a lot more going on to affect people’s life satisfaction than just the amount of butter they’re consuming. Though some people on Twitter seem to be enjoying a quick laugh, butter is probably not the solution to peace on earth, nor is it a cure for the blues.

Sure, if you need an excuse to grab that baguette, it may be worth pulling out the graph to bolster your case. But at the end of the day, just remember that butter probably won’t buy you happiness.

Though, just in case, what’s the harm in trying? Blame it on science, and pass the butter, please.

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