“Ask Dr. Walt” in Today’s Christian Living “What’s healthier, butter or margarine?”

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“Ask Dr. Walt” in Today’s Christian Living “What’s healthier, butter or margarine?”

I enjoy being penning a bi-monthly column for the readers of Today’s Christian Living magazine. In the March 2024 issue I addressed some questions about coconut oil, butter vs. margarin, healthy alternates to butter, and stanols vs. sterols.

May 2024 Today’s Christian Living

HERE’S THE LINK to the column which you’ll find on pages 20-21.

Butter or Margarine

Question: What’s healthier, butter or margarine?

Answer: This debate has swung back and forth during my career, but as of today, the answer is “it depends.” From the standpoint of preventing or treating heart disease, butter remains on the list of foods to use sparingly, if at all, because it is high in heart-harmful saturated fat. Margarines from outside the U.S. (which are typically high in unhealthy trans fats) and stick margarines (which are typically high in saturated fat) can be as bad or worse than butter. However, margarines that are low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, and free of trans fats are better than butter. Butter and margarine have about 100 calories per tablespoon.

Unsaturated fats from plant oils have been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels (I call LDL “Lethal” cholesterol as the Lower the level the better for your health). This is even more true of polyunsaturated fats, such as canola, corn, soybean, or sunflower oil— although no reduction in the risk of heart attacks, strokes, or premature death has been shown. Nevertheless, these products can be part of a heart and brain healthy diet which can raise your level of HDL cholesterol (I call HDL “Healthy” cholesterol as the Higher the level the better your health).

But you need to be aware that different margarines can have varying amounts of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and salt. The more solid the margarine, the more saturated fat it has. Stick margarine has more saturated fat than tub, soft, or liquid varieties. To choose a margarine, look on the nutrition facts label for a brand that has the least amount of saturated fat and salt. LiveStrong® recommends products from Benecol®, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter®, and Smart Balance.®

Here’s the whole series:

Walt Larimore, MD, has been called one of America’s best known family physicians and has been named in the “Guide to America’s Top Family Doctors,” “The Best Doctors in America,” “Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare,” and “Who’s Who in America.” He’s a former Vice President and Physician in Residence at Focus on the Family and the American Life League has named him a “Rock-Solid Pro-Life” awardee. He’s also an award-winning medical journalist and the best-selling author of over 40 books. He and his childhood sweetheart and wife of 50 years, Barb, have two adult children and reside in Colorado Springs. You can find Doctor Walt’s health blog at www.DrWalt.com and follow him on Facebook at “DrWalt.com”. Have questions for Dr. Walt? Email them to editor@todayschristianliving.org.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2024. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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