"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Lisa's Blog

Butter or Margarine: Which is better for you?

Lisa Cutforth - Saturday, January 09, 2010

Which is better for you butter or margarine?

It is the age old debate, whether to choose the "less processed", purer but saturated fat of butter or the processed, trans fats from margarine.  The two schools of thought are as divided as the "Love it or Hate it" Marmite campaign, it would appear.  Until now...

Having been brought up in a family that despised margarine and wouldn't hear of the downside of butter, I definitely grew up with a taste for it, and so naturally was pleased when I was able to find all these health benefits.

Health benefits of butter:
Butter really is rich in beneficial nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and beneficial fatty acids.  
Butter may be protective against cancer with antioxidants like vitamin E and selenium and anti cancer agents like vitamin D and conjugated linoleic acid.    

However it is our heart health we are concerned about when avoiding butter, so let's look at the facts. 
Butter which is high in saturated fat raises cholesterol, but it actually raises the good with the bad.  Elevated cholesterol levels have been implicated in heart disease.

Dietary guidelines for saturated fat recommend no more than 10-15g a day.  One tablespoon of butter contains 7g of saturated fat, so that's a lot.

What about margarine?
Margarine on the other hand is made with plant oils and is generally unsaturated, containing more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils which help to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) without raising total cholesterol.  Unsaturated fats are usually healthier and they tend to be liquid at room temperature.  When we consider margarine, it is first necessary to consider how margarine is made. 

Basically the process involves taking a generally healthy plant oil which is naturally in a liquid state and converting into a solid.  It is this process that produces the undesirable effects associated with some margarines.  Very often this process involves hydrogenation, which is the addition of hydrogen to vegetable oils to form a more "solid" fat, which makes it more spreadable and less likely to spoil (or oxidise and taste rancid).     

The problem with this hydrogenation process is that trans fats are formed.  Trans fats affect cholesterol with a double whammy, they both increase the bad cholesterol and DECREASE the good and have actually been found to make blood platelets stick together. 
One tablespoon of this type of margarine will typically give you 3g of trans fats and 2g of saturated fat.  Arguably, not actually better than butter, when you consider that butter will also increase good cholesterol.

However, now it is possible to buy margarines that are trans fat free (this may mean they contain 0.5-2g of trans fats per serve.  These are usually the ones recommended by the Heart Foundation and are found in tubs or liquids rather than in wrapped "blocks". 
(They get around adding the hydrogen by adding water in the process). 

So, when buying margarine you need to be sure you read the labels and be sure you choose varieties that read: trans fat free and no hydrogenated oils.

The Solution:

Here is what I do, which I believe gives you the best of both with the least "processing":

I mix half butter and half olive oil and make a delicious and very spreadable spread. 

The recipe:

250g good quality pure butter (no salt added)
1 cup olive oil

Leave the butter out so it becomes soft, then using a beater blend the two together until the oils are mixed and the texture is smooth.  (No need to overdo, this may lead to oxidation of the olive oil).  Turn the mixture into an airtight container and store in the fridge.  The fridge will set it so that it firms up.




Recent Posts


Tags

taking a break anxiety leaky gut, gut health, symptoms of leaky gut sustainable living, rural development, organic gardening, rampumps, biogas strength happiness workshop trans fats what is a good breakfast avoiding a choice mobile phones and brain cancer, Dr Teo obesity food sensitivities diet diary what is healthy food alzheimers 7 Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol and Protect Your Heart health for busy people pop-eye and spinach Add new tag maintain a healthy weight, underweight increasing energy how to love exercise dancing cooking class in brisbane should I eat organic veggies fruit how to be happy prostate cancer life lessons getting fit low cholesterol comfort pig have more energy celebrate life benefits of strength training, why you should strength train four questions you must ask your doctor before taking medication making time to relax how to avoid doing the right thing and getting the wrong results addicted to chocolate do i have to drink milk; where do i get calcium from; non dairy calcium sources fussy eaters success and you memory drugfree alternatives weightloss recipes for allergies healthy fast food, healthy take away to know and not do is not yet to know I've Got Life motivation healthy cooking demonstration dance food intolerances energy real food food allergies Alan Pease Sensational nutritious cooking image reasons to eat foods in season mood Dr Randy Pausch on Oprah healthy shopping skipping meals libido fun go for 2 and 5 low calorie diet life have fun in the kitchen benefits to keeping a diet diary sugar and add Happiness soccer, role of team sports in longevity, role of exercise and community in longevity gift music breakfast cholesterol lowering diet empty your mind great second hand books how to say no the tummy beast dangers of multitasking while you eat immune boosting tips healthy cooking parties new year's resolutions childrens lunch boxes soft drink and behaviour problems performance nutritionist in brisbane hunger and stress diet diary of a nutritionist muscle wasting how to check your breasts wrong type of exercise, exercise and results nutritionist Nutritional Therapist Lactose intolerance Cancer indigestion support your body make stress work for you ways to improve prostate health brain health christmas weight loss gluten intolerance nutritious immune system detox muffins relax relationship with food how to get more of exercise blood pressure organic vegetables is chocolate bad for me nutritionists diet diary Nina Simone stress, keys to managing stress, benefits of stress overindulge sugar and adhd low calorie meal plan herbal toothpaste control benefits of sleeping health with 10 % effort comfort foods simple 7 day detox plan soft drink and behavior problems happiness course heart foundation tick explained salad Egg allergy assertiveness Lisa's Diary taking responsibility sensitivity to milk sexy salads time management and healthy living quick eating solutions delicious fatigue improve your memory quizz love, loneliness healthy wine, healthy beer, healthy alcohol options heart disease love food seasonal quick and tasty recipes fruit and vegetable shortage recipe comfort eating focus the power to choose ability to respond lunch natural alternatives to drugs cooking with allergies healthy shopping list are grains healthy allergies are frozen veggies any good Laughter and stress which is better for you butter or margarine breast cancer awareness I don't get hungry 10 % principle fun breast cancer awareness video hot guys health corporate wellness sexy salad breast cancer prevention nutrition reducing coffee health one step at a time ask my doctor weight feels good 7 steps to detox skip meals fresh what is movember natural toothpaste health pioneers life choices cheap fruit and vegetables, what's in season in autumn in australia fresh start keep focused foods in season, seasonal recipes homocysteine quick recipes high cholesterol recipies calorie controlled diet best exercise how to avoid injury during exercise is sugar bad healthy cooking party

Archive