Buttttttttttter up!

The name of this post sounds similar to “batter up” which reminds me…Cubs pummeled the Cards yesterday. Hoping for a similar outcome after today’s game.

Anyways…butter. Butter is the topic of discussion this morning while I enjoy my morning ritual: cappuccino and blogging. And as husband sweats away playing Punch Out on Wii while Lily the bulldog sun bathes in 103 degree Oklahoma heat. Freaks..

As I opened my Journal of the American Dietetic Association this month, I found an eye-catching page devoted to the “Big FAT Truth”: butter. Butter is certainly one of those confusing aisles we enter at our local grocery stores. The health claims, the rumored dangers of margarine vs. butter…and the list goes on. So, what

is the deal with butter?

Simply put, soft spreads have 70% less saturated fat than butter, no cholesterol, and “no” trans fats per serving*. These spreads are made with healthy plant oils including soybean and canola which are loaded with our near-and-dear mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids providing desired heart-healthy protection [1].

And by now you should be thinking, “That’s great and all…but which soft spread do I grab?”. Those listed in the ADA Journal included: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Country Crock, Promise, and Brummel & Brown made with Natural Yogurt [1]. These would all be better choices the next time you’re butter browsing…but possibly not the best.

Let’s delve a little deeper. If you visit Smart Balance’s website, the first thing you read is, “Partially hydrogenated means trans fat”…and, right they are. That phrase on the ingredient list tells us consumers that there was a hydrogenation process in production. And that process is what puts trans fats into foods such as butter spreads, as trans fats do not naturally occur in the foods. Trans fat is way worse than saturated fat, even. It raises our bad cholesterol, lowers our good cholesterol, contributes to diabetes, and is linked to heart disease [2].

If you’re really interested in trans fats (which you should be), more information can be found here: The Truth About Trans Fats. A seemingly innocent 2% increase in trans fat consumption can increase risk of cardiovascular disease by 23%. That’s only 40 calories or 4 extra grams of trans fat a day. Can’t say I didn’t warn you!

In summary: no butter is “good butter”. It’s a high-calorie condiment with fat and should be used sparingly. Taste your food before buttering it up, and purchase products wisely. Read labels and stay informed: 0.48 + 0.48 + 0.47 + 0.45 + 0.46 (or 5 servings of “trans fat free” products) exceeds the recommended daily amount of trans fat.

* Products containing up to 0.49 grams of trans fat are not required to be put on food labels. Ahhhh!

[1]. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Big FAT Truth. Eat Right. July 2009 edition.
[2]. The Truth About Trans Fat. The Facts.
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