Butter vs. Margarine: Which is most healthful?
Butter vs. Margarine vs. Spread
There are so many options as far as butter goes. Can you please help me figure out which buttery spreads and margarines are heart-healthy choices?
By Lori Mosca, MD, MPH, PhD
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Recent media attention to dietary fats has provided the public with a lot of information about healthy food choices, but many people are still unsure which buttery spreads and margarines are good choices. There are a number of spreads on the market now that have been specifically formulated with heart health in mind.
Shopping Tips for Spreads:
- Choose spreads with little or zero saturated fat. Saturated fat raises LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Choose spreads with zero trans fat. Trans fat raises LDL cholesterol and decreases HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Remember: All fats are calorie rich. Choose reduced-calorie spreads where possible and consume them in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet that promotes a healthy body weight.
- Consider spreads that contain plant stanol/sterol esters. A dose of 2 grams per day (found in approximately 2 tablespoons of spread) has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol by 6 to 15 percent, with little or no change in HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
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