Thursday, June 24, 2010

Butter vs. Margarine

Lots of people are concerned about the butter vs. margarine debate.  Which is truly the better condiment?  Being health conscious, I try to eliminate all of it as much as I can, but it will never be completely possible, as butter is necessary in baked goods and other foods.  When baking, I refrain from lite butters unless a recipe calls for it.


1.  Both butter & margarine have the same amount of calories.  Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.  However butter has nutritional value and enhances the flavors of the food its added to.  Margarine has little nutritional value since it is composed of mostly chemicals... it is only ONE molecule away from being PLASTIC! 

2. Tub margarine contains fully hydrogenated vegetable oil- which in theory should contain zero amounts of trans fats, but because the process of hydrogenation isn't completely perfect, some trans fats inevitably occur in small amounts. And stick margarine contains partially hydrogenated oils- a guarantee for trans fatty acids.

2.  Whipped butters are lighter in calories because the butter is whipped, introducing air.  These are your best bets for using butter as a condiment.

3. If you're looking for a healthy substitute for butter in cooking, try canola or olive oils. 


-I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!

When it comes to trans fats, you just can't trust the nutrition label.  Look at the ingredient list; if you see partially hydrogenated oil; leave it in the cooler.

Some healthier butter choices:

-Breakstone's Unsalted Whipped Butter

 70 calories, 7g fat per 1 Tbsp.

-SmartBalance Omega Buttery Spread Made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil

60 calories, 7g fat per 1 Tbsp. serving
Smart Balance adds in flaxseed oils, earning you 20% of your daily intake of omega-3 oils.

-Spectrum Naturals Organic Olive Spray Oil 

0 calories, 0g fat, 0mg sodium
There's no extra ingredients or chemicals here- just extra virgin olive oil, a very heart-healthy fat (over vegetable oils).

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