March 30, 2005
Butter vs. Margarine
Which is healthier, butter or margarine?
From a fat and calorie standpoint, butter and margarine are the same with about 35 calories and four grams of fat per teaspoon. Both are primarily fat; only the source differs. Butter contains more saturated fats than most margarine. Because margarine is made from vegetable oil, it has no cholesterol. However, margarine contains trans fat which could be just as bad as saturated fat, or even worse.
When it comes to fat, the more liquid, the better. It’s best to use olive, canola or peanut oil whenever possible. Dip hard crusty bread in, season vegetables, make salad dressings, use in baked goods, stir fry or spritz on popcorn.
Some grocery store shelves are beginning to stock margarines that claim to provide cholesterol-lowering benefits.
Research shows margarines that are made from two different phytochemicals can reduce LDL (lousy cholesterol). The plant compounds that interfere with the absorption of cholesterol are plant sterols and stanols. The compounds are used in two different FDA-approved margarines, which lower cholesterol by an average of 10 percent when consumed as directed. While they do help lower the LDL cholesterol, the margarines do not lower HDL (healthy cholesterol).
Most likely you’ll find these margarines on the top shelf of your grocery store shelf with possibly the highest price tag. Adding one of these margarines to your eating plan might be worth the extra calories, but margarine alone can’t lower cholesterol. That starts with an eating plan that is low in total fat, especially saturated fat.
Posted by Lisa at March 30, 2005 11:48 AM
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