When it comes to margarine if we are to listen to the ads and read the product labels, making a decision would be quite confusing, to be honest. It’s because there are so many types of margarine, so many brands and innovations competing for our attention. Some of these claim to be extraordinarily healthy, enriched with vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids – just what we need to thrive. But is it all true? Is margarine that beneficial or should we pick plain old butter instead?
To the nutrition-savvy, there is no dilemma here. Butter is definitely the way to go and for very good reasons. It is enough to know the manufacturing process to figure out why this is the better choice.
Also, if you think butter is too fat or heavy for your fitness goals then that just may not be true. It’s got good fats, the kind that makes your system functions well. Saturated fats in right amounts aren’t that bad for health, as recent studies reveal. The Harvard School of Public Health researchers hosted a 30-year study on the effects of both margarine and butter. They found that saturated and unsaturated fats do not have the claimed effect on heart health. Moreover, if you cut down your saturated fat intake, you will start to replace it with more carbohydrates, since the unsaturated variety may not be satisfying. This is what eventually leads to more health problems.
UK’s National Obesity Forum also advises choosing butter over margarine. The trouble with the latter is that it’s not made only of vegetable fats but has plenty of additives and many of these aren’t even disclosed. In that regard, butter is much more natural. However, this is not to encourage excessive consumption, as too much butter can indeed be harmful.
In margarine, linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat, is of great concern. Patients with heart disease were much more affected by this compound, which lead to more frequent death among them, as stated in the British Medical Journal (2013). Additional studies in other countries also found links between margarine consumption and poor health and even increased mortality.
If you cannot avoid margarine, you should have no more than 20-30 grams per day. If you refuse to eat animal products, such as butter, then you may replace it with sunflower and olive oils. However, when you are free to include it in your diet, you can rest assured that it’s the healthier option, as you’ll be avoiding preservatives, taste enhancers, colorings and so on. Besides, it feels rich, tasty and creamy and still has plenty of vitamins (A, D, E, and K) plus selenium. In any case, the key is a balance: do not consume anything in excess, not even the healthiest foods you can find; you still need a certain ratio for each type of nutrient to be healthy.
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