Archive for the tag - margarine

Butter Vs. Margarine: Which is Better?

I couldn't resist...

When it comes to butter vs. margarine, many consumers are confused by the differences and are unsure which might be a healthier choice.

Butter has two issues working against it.

For one, since it’s made from animal fat, butter contains dietary cholesterol; margarine, which is made from plant fats, contains none. Many individuals can process dietary cholesterol with minimal effects on their blood cholesterol levels, but other individuals – especially those with existing cholesterol issues – may see much larger impacts on blood cholesterol levels. In general, it’s recommended that we eat less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day. Butter contains 33 milligrams per tablespoon.

Second, butter has high levels of saturated fats. Saturated fat raises both “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels (but it doesn’t raise the so-called “good” cholesterol levels enough to justify consuming it). Saturated fat intake increases the risk of heart disease. Most people are advised to eat less than 15 grams of saturated fat per day – and yet a single tablespoon of butter contains 7 grams.

Margarine isn’t a walk in the park, either.

The issue with margarine is trans fat. Trans fats have been shown to raise “bad” cholesterol and lower “good” cholesterol. It’s not a good combination. Trans fats have been linked to coronary heart disease and possibly a number of other effects like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and depression. Of course, not all margarines are created equal – and many manufactures are producing low-trans fat options. In general, liquid or tub margarines contain fewer trans fats, but read nutrition labels carefully.

At the end of the day, it’s really a matter of picking your poison. Both – or either – should be consumed sparingly. Or, alternatively, rather than spreading butter or margarine over your bread, try dipping into some delicious and heart-healthy olive oil with herbs.