Dairy Spreads

What’s in your fridge--butter or margarine? Are you satisfied that you’ve found the right answer to the FAQ: Is butter better for your heart or is margarine? The truth is more complicated than many people realize.


“Butter,” says Dr. Martha Grogan (a Mayo Clinic cardiologist) “is made from animal fat, so it contains cholesterol and high levels of animal fat.” On the other hand, margarine, because it’s made from vegetable oils, contains no cholesterol at all. In addition, it’s higher in “good” (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) fats than butter.


BUT not all margarines are the same. Some may be worse for your heart than butter. If they’re produced by a process called hydrogenation, they have unhealthy trans fats, which increase blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Stick margarines have more of these than tub margarines.


Here’s what the doctor advises:


1. Look for margarines with plant sterols. These can help reduce bad cholesterol.


2. If you much prefer the taste of butter to margarine, use whipped butter, “light” butter, or spreadable butter made with vegetable oils.


3. Use small amounts of both these products.


Incidentally, if you’ve heard the accusation that margarine is bad for you because “it’s just one molecule away from plastic,” the Snopes response to this silly statement should reassure you. See http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/butter.asp


For Q/As on the shelf life and storage of cream cheese, click here: http://shelflifeadvice.com/dairy/dairy-spreads/cream-cheese

Specific Dairy Spreads Products


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