24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Nutrition
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Packaged Caesar Salad Suspected as Possible Source in E. coli OutbreakMore U.S. Kids Are Shunning Sweetened DrinksHealth Tip: Thanksgiving and Your Heart HealthHealth Tip: Eat for Now, and the FutureHealth Tip: How to Safely Roast a Turkey'Meatless Monday' Can Help Change Diets for GoodExperimental Injection May Protect Against Peanut AllergyUltra-Processed Foods May Fast Track You to Heart TroubleA Tasty and Nutritious Way to Prepare FishThe Healthiest Condiment You've Never Heard OfHow to Make a Lighter Layer CakeAHA News: Your Eating-On-The-Job Problems, SolvedOne Dead, 8 Hospitalized in Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Ground BeefWhen You Eat May Matter More Than What You Eat: StudyMake a Plan for Gardening Next Spring With Your KidsTry This Easy Pumpkin Dessert for HalloweenConsumers' Orders Changed Slightly After Calorie Counts Added to MenusTry This Healthy Autumn Apple DessertFast-Food Outlet in Neighborhood Could Mean Heavier Kids: StudyBan on Sale of Sugary Drinks Trimmed Employees' WaistlinesA Lighter, Healthier Version of Baked Crab DipGiving Up One Food Will Help Your Health -- and the PlanetToo Much Salt Might Make You Gain WeightPediatricians' Group Calls for More Research on Artificial SweetenersCould More Coffee Bring a Healthier Microbiome?Health Tip: Living With Nut AllergyTry These Homemade Chocolate Treats for HalloweenMore TV, Smartphone Time Means More Sugary Drinks for TeensBanned Trans Fats Linked to Higher Dementia Risk: StudyDon't Be Fooled By Foods That Sound Healthy But Aren'tHealth Tip: Understanding Omega-3 Fatty AcidsMaking a Lighter Chicken ParmesanHow to Get the Fruit and Veggies You Need Without Busting the BudgetCooking With GreensHow to Make Your Own Healthy Chicken TendersMillet: A Whole Grain You Might Be OverlookingNone of Top-Selling Kids' Drinks Meet Experts' Health RecommendationsPut Safety First When Planning to Pack Food-to-GoHow to Spice Up Everyday OatmealWhat Foods Are Most Likely to Cause Acne Breakouts?Farm-to-Table Movement Goes to SchoolBarley: A Tasty Alternative to RiceCould Eating Healthier Be a Natural Antidepressant?The Slow Cooker Makes a ComebackVeggies' Popularity Is All in the NameA Cool-Season Comfort Food Without Lots of CaloriesCooking Food Changes Makeup of Gut BacteriaHow to Make Your Own Healthful SauerkrautOvercoming Your Artichoke AnxietyCan Your Eating Habits Keep Alzheimer's at Bay?
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Wellness and Personal Development

Butter or Margarine? The Latest Round in a Long-Running Debate

HealthDay News
by By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 2nd 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Thanks to a federal ban on trans fats -- commonly listed on labels as partially hydrogenated oils -- margarine makers have taken steps to remove them from their ingredients. Does this mean margarine is once again a better choice than butter?

Not necessarily.

That's in part because some studies have given the saturated fat in butter a reprieve. No, you shouldn't be drowning your veggies in it or eating buttery desserts every day, but used sparingly -- a pat here and there -- it's unlikely to harm you. There are also light or whipped butters that add water or air to halve the amount of fat and calories in each serving while still delivering on taste.

On the other hand, you might choose from soft margarines and other spreads that include nutrients called plant sterols and stanols, which help lower cholesterol for some people. Still, any such products that include palm oil and/or palm kernel oil will have saturated fat. And at 70 or 80 calories per tablespoon, those calories can add up.

So compare the nutrition labels of all spreads you're considering. Look not only at saturated fat and total fat calories, but also at the ingredients list to see if there's any partially hydrogenated oil at all. Although this main source of trans fat has, by and large, been removed from foods, it may not be completely gone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows a food with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving to state that it has 0 g of trans fat. The amount might seem insignificant in a one-tablespoon serving, but if you use two tablespoons of a spread twice day, you're not really getting zero trans fat.

Healthier alternatives to butter or margarine include spreads based on olive oil and other vegetable oils, which contain beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Even better, the next time you tear into a warm loaf of bread or roll, consider dipping it in extra-virgin olive oil in its natural state rather than coating it with a spread.

More information

The University of California, Davis, has more about butter to help you make the best spread choice.