Which should you use — margarine
or butter? Well... neither is ideal,
because butter is loaded with saturated fat, and almost all margarines have
some saturated fat and trans-fatty acids. However, if you must use one or the
other, some margarines may be better than butter.
Here are some guidelines:
- Use olive or canola oil instead of butter or margarine.
- Choose soft margarine (tub or liquid) over harder stick forms.
- Choose margarines with liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient.
- Even better, choose "light" margarines that list water as the first ingredient,
because these are even lower in saturated fat.
- If you have high cholesterol, talk to your doctor about using margarines
made from plant sterols or stanols. These substances, made from soybean and
pine tree oils, can help lower your LDL cholesterol by as much as 6 - 15%.
The AHA recommends further study for children, pregnant women, and those
without high cholesterol, however.
- Margarines, shortening, and cooking oils that have more than 2 grams of
saturated fat per tablespoon.
- Hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated fats (read ingredients on food
labels) because these are high in saturated fats and trans-fatty acids.
- Shortening or other fats made from animal sources.
Review Date: 10/31/2006
Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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