Butter for me, always. I want to eat real food, not science experiments. A single pat of butter has about 36 calories and 4 grams of fat. Unless you're eating a stick a day, there's no reason to even remotely worry that eating butter will cause heart or cholesterol problems.
I will never trust a product like margarine that just magically stays solid (despite being made with fats that are not meant to be a solid and room temperature) and somehow can just morph to meet whatever the Nutritionist Need Du Jour happens to be. Real food that comes from a real animal is the way to go.
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Fitness Minutes: (65,859) Posts: 5,242 6/6/10 8:19 A
Margarine was originally manufactured as a butter substitute during WWII when there was food rationing. It was cheaper. I agree with what DS1222 said below. Butter is pure saturated fat (the bad kind for you - but not as bad as the trans fats in margarine). But at least butter is made from real food.
Some of the "light margarines" (liquids are best) can be ok but if you look at the ingredients, you'd be hard pressed to be able to pronounce half of what's in them.
There are products on the market now which are made from butter and olive or canola oil. The mixture somewhat lowers the saturated fat intake as well as some of the calories. But the best thing is to me is it tastes delicious. I try to limit to a teaspoon or two and I totally enjoy it. I also like that it's real food with 2 ingredients: cream & olive oil or cream and canola oil (depending on the type) oh - and some salt.
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Fitness Minutes: (27,400) Posts: 439 5/26/10 4:40 P
Although a staple of the American diet, butter came under a great deal of scrutiny when its high levels of saturated fat were associated with increased heart disease risk. Many people accepted the demise of butter in stride, ruing the loss of its savory flavor but agreeing that its effect on the heart might be too high a price to pay. They dutifully switched to margarine, as researchers and nutritionists suggested. Then the hazards of margarine came to light. Its high levels of trans fats packed a double whammy for heart disease by raising levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowering levels of HDL (good cholesterol). Many people felt betrayed or duped.
The truth is, there never was any good evidence that using margarine instead of butter cut the chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Making the switch was a well-intentioned guess, given that margarine had less saturated fat than butter, but it overlooked the dangers of trans fats.
Today the butter-versus-margarine issue is really a false one. From the standpoint of heart disease, butter is on the list of foods to use sparingly mostly because it is high in saturated fat, which aggressively increases levels of LDL. Margarines, though, arenâ€™t so easy to classify. The older stick margarines that are still widely sold are high in trans fats, and are worse for you than butter. Some of the newer margarines that are low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, and free of trans fats are fine as long as you donâ€™t use too much (they are still rich in calories).
You can quickly compare the health value of spreads (including butter and margarine) simply by looking at the nutrition labels on these products. The FDA now requires nutrition labels to include information about both saturated fats and trans fats. Your goal is to limit intake of saturated fats and to avoid trans fats altogether.
Healthier alternatives to butter or margarine include olive oil and other vegetable oilâ€“based spreads, which contain beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Next time you tear into a warm loaf of bread or roll, consider dipping it in olive oil rather than coating it in butter. If you're trying to lower your cholesterol, stanol-based spreads (for example, Benecol and Take Control) are even better, since regular use can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.
I have always used margarine due to butter having such a bad reputation. I have recently heard that margarine is just as bad (or worse depending who you talk to). I rarely use it anymore (moslty olive oil) however there are certian things you just can't substitite (on biscuits, baking, etc). What is really better for you or worse for you?
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