Butter is an animal product. It is high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. Butter in your diet can not only clog your arteries but it can also increase your risk of heart disease and deadly or debilitating stroke. It is also suggested by some research that butter can contain traces of antibiotics and hormones that are fed to animals. And even though butter is a rich source of fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamins A, D, E, and K, this one small healthful benefit, although a real one, doesn’t outweigh the bad things that butter represents. In truth, the fact that people who make and sell butter would even bother to point out that butter provides you with these vitamins is akin to their grasping at straws to try to save an industry that is on the decline. You’d have to eat a lot of butter to reap any benefits from it, but by that time, your arteries would be running with pure butter….now on to margarine.
Ah, margarine. Butter’s cousin from the ‘other side of the tracks’. At first glance, margarine appears (big emphasis on the word ‘appears’ here) to have everything right that butter gets wrong. It is made from vegetable oil, and it is low in saturated fat and contains no dietary cholesterol. But that’s where its accolades stop suddenly, especially if you are purchasing the stick margarine that is so popular these days. The process that stick margarine goes through in order to be hardened is called hydrogenation, and it is high in trans-fatty acids. Trans fat not only raises your bad cholesterol – but lowers your good cholesterol, which is your defense against artery clogging fats! Yep, trans fat can be more evil than saturated fat, it’s true. So what’s a girl (or guy) to do to get that delicious buttery flavor?
Using Butter in your Low Calorie Diet
Enter the light spread. There are a few light spreads (and even some light margarine) on the market that is completely trans-fat free! I particularly like Promise Light Buttery Spread as a low fat butter substitute. There are also some spreads out there that contain plant stanols and sterols, which block cholesterol from being absorbed by the body. These light spreads (and some margarines) have not been hydrogenated, and are sold in tubs, not sticks.
For cooking, spreads are not ideal. Choose heart-healthy canola or olive oil instead, or better yet, opt for a low calorie cooking spray or low cal broth which will shave off additional fat and calories. When baking, try substituting low fat or fat free yogurt or low calorie sour cream, or fruit purees in recipes that call for butter or margarine; recipes like this are still delicious, they are just a bit “denser”.
Did you like this post? Join my email list to get my all of my posts delivered directly to your inbox. And, while you are at it, please join the Yummy Diet Food Facebook Group!