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Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/butter-vs-margarine/AN00835
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor for food and nutrition, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
Nelson, a St. Paul, Minn., native, is a registered dietitian and has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978. She is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 70 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook" and the New York Times best-seller "The Mayo Clinic Diet."
She's been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books and publications, including "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book," "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook" and the "Mayo Clinic Health Letter." She contributes to the strategic direction of nutrition, healthy eating and healthy recipes content, including creating recipes and menus, preparing and reviewing nutrition content, contributing to the Nutrition-wise blog, and answering nutrition questions.
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Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
Which spread is better for my heart — butter or margarine?
from Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.
Margarine usually tops butter when it comes to heart health.
Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol. Margarine is also higher in "good" fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated — than butter is. These types of fats help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol when substituted for saturated fat.
Butter, on the other hand, is made from animal fat, so it contains cholesterol and high levels of saturated fat.
But not all margarines are created equal. Some margarines contain trans fat. In general, the more solid the margarine, the more trans fat it contains. So stick margarines usually have more trans fat than tub margarines do. Trans fat, like saturated fat, increases blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. In addition, trans fat lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol levels. So skip the stick and opt for soft or liquid margarine instead.
Look for a spread with the lowest calories that tastes good to you, doesn't have trans fats and has the least amount of saturated fat. When comparing spreads, be sure to read the Nutrition Facts panel and check the grams of saturated fat and trans fat. Also, look for products with a low percent Daily Value for cholesterol.
If you have high cholesterol, check with your doctor about using spreads that are fortified with plant stanols and sterols, such as Benecol and Promise Activ, which may help reduce cholesterol levels.Next question
Detox diets: Do they work?
- Saturated Fat. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/fat/saturatedfat.html. Accessed March 8, 2012.
- Gillman MW. Dietary fat. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 8, 2012.
- Tangney CC, et al. Lipid lowering with diet or dietary supplements. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed March 8, 2012.
- Talking about trans fat: What you need to know. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm079609.htm. Accessed March 8, 2012.