Butter or Margarine?

Butter or Margarine

A common dilemma for patients is trying to decide which is better for their health. You may be thinking, “My grandmother uses butter and is still alive at 89 years old.” Although she may have cooked with butter, it does not mean that it is the best for your health. Your grandmother's portions were smaller and she did not have a fast food restaurant on every corner.

Butter contains more saturated fat than margarine, which has been linked to heart disease. A tablespoon of butter contains 7 grams of saturated fat per serving. Switching from butter to margarine may help to lower your cholesterol level, in turn reducing your risk for heart disease and atherosclerosis.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 7 percent of your total calories from saturated fat for a 2,000-calorie diet to lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. In a recent study, adults that switched from butter to margarine had an 11 percent decrease in their cholesterol levels. The challenge is finding a trans-fat free spread that is low in saturated fat, tastes good and can be used in cooking and baking.

Unfortunately, the light versions of many brands are not good for baking. Promise™ Buttery Spread is a good choice because it contains omega-3 and omega-6 and only 1.5g of saturated fat and 0g of trans fat. This spread can be used for cooking and baking. Try different brands to determine which you like the best.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also known as essential polyunsaturated fats. They are beneficial in lowering your cholesterol levels and protecting your heart. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, canola oil, tuna and walnuts. Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids include safflower, sunflower and soybean oils. These types of polyunsaturated fats must be obtained from food sources and are needed by the body to function normally.