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Butter vs. Margarine & Butter Substitutes

Learn the health pros and cons of butter versus margarine and other butter substitutes from nutrition expert Alex Jamieson in this Howcast video.


In the great butter vs. margarine debate, there are a few important things to keep in mind. The first is that butter actually has some healthy fat-soluble vitamins in it that can be beneficial if you're eating the right kind of butter. It is important to make sure that you're getting organic butter made from organic milk and dairy products. But butter is high in cholesterol and high in fat. So it's not a low-fat food, but it does have a few associated health benefits from it. Now margarine can be dangerous if it's made with trans fats. If it's made with hydrogenated oils, it is not good for your cardiovascular system. However, there are new trans-fat-free margarines that are dairy-free, so if you have an issue with a dairy allergy, some of those trans-fat-free margarines might be healthier for you. You can also now get soy-free, trans-fat-free margarines to help those of you who are soy and dairy intolerant. From a sodium standpoint, butter can be the better option. If you have a diet that you need to follow that's low in sodium, you might want to go with no-salt butter. There are very salty butters and most of the good trans-fat-free margarines are kind of high in sodium, so you might want to go with the low-sodium to unsalted butter. Other substitutes you can use are oils. Some people like to use olive oil on their bread instead of butter or margarine. Other people like to bake with oils like canola oil or even coconut oil instead of butter or margarine.

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