Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Go light on the butter

Some folk actually prefer the light, clean flavour of margarine to butter.
My heart doctors all agree: go light on the butter. My heart-healthy diet demands spreads like Becel or Olivina. Butter is a no-no.

It's tough convincing folk that margarine, with its long list of ingredients and additives, is superior to butter. But, trust me, it is. At least, it is if you pick the right kind.

First, look for tubs of soft, spreadable margarine. These are generally trans-fat-free. You want to stay as far away from trans fats as possible. These fats are the worst fats. Next, check the saturated fat content. Less is better. Again, soft margarine is generally preferable to hard. Lastly, make sure the margarine is "non-hydrogenated."

I have some friends who often invite my wife and me for dinner. They keep a tub of Becel in their fridge just for me. But they insist on using butter despite the fact the husband has heart problems. And his brother has had to have stents inserted to open plugged arteries. They believe my fears are overblown and direct me to newspaper articles to support their position. Don't fall into the same trap. Newspapers can be poor sources for health information.

According to a recent article in a Harvard University health publication, many studies "have suggested that the type of fat in the diet is extremely important, and that replacing trans fat and saturated fat with unsaturated plant oils can have major health benefits."

The linked article quotes Harvard nutrition expert Walter Willett: "Making healthy types of fat in the diet a priority is one of the most important things people can do about their long-term health and well-being."

If you need more convincing, check out the following:

Is Butter Really Back? (Harvard Public Health magazine)
We Repeat: Butter is Not Back. (The Nutrition Source)
Butter is not back: Limiting saturated fat still best for heart health (Harvard Chan School release)

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