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Dr. Matthew DeVane

Dr. Matthew DeVane

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Butter vs. Margarine

Butter vs. Margarine

Whether you’re trying to reverse your heart disease or prevent it, one of the biggest influencers in the condition is the contents of your diet. As you are well aware, all foods are not created equal, but it can be hard to tell which ones have the upper hand. Take for example butter and margarine. Which one is better for heart health?

The simple answer: Margarine. Margarine is made from oil that has been hydrogenated. Butter is made from the cream in milk and consequently has saturated fat and cholesterol — two things that are bad for heart health. However, margarine contains trans-fatty acids that are created during the hydrogenation process, but many margarines reduce the amount of trans fats, making them — overall — better than butter. But with the variety of margarines to choose from these days, finding the healthy ones can be a challenge.

To ensure you’re finding the healthy kinds of margarine, make sure the product has zero trans fats. Also, get tub or soft margarines over stick or hard ones. The tubs and soft margarines tend to be less hydrogenated. If light versions are available, get those. They have more water, fewer calories and less fat. Look for plant sterols in the ingredients too. These are wonderful additions because they can help lower cholesterol.

If you really can’t shake your preference for butter, look for butters that are made with canola oil. The canola oil helps reduce the saturated fat. As with margarines, look for light butters that have more water and fewer calories. Whipped butters are another alternative that are healthier because they have less fat and less calories than regular butter.

What are some other substitutions you’ve made in your diet to prevent or reverse heart disease? Milk, juice or water in place of sodas? Edamame instead of chips? Share your tips and tricks! [Mayo Clinic]

Posted: 7/30/08

I think that the world we live in today allows us to have soo many food options. So trying to eat healthier and manage heart disease is virtually easy (sort of). A person just has to make the right decisions.