News about artery-clogging trans fats in margarine and many processed foods, has left spread lovers confused about the best choice for heart health.
The Winner Is...
The winner is tub margarine. Studies now tell experts that margarine lowered LDL, or bad cholesterol, by an average of 10 percent in both adults and children.
This is important, because hardening of the arteries begins in youth. However, as with many good news, there is a "but". Switching from butter or stick margarine to tub margarine is not a cure-all for high cholesterol. Genetics play a factor as well as reducing your total intake of saturated fat, which means also paying attention to how much cheese, ice cream, full-fat milk and fatty meats you eat.
There are more than 54 margarine products on the market. Choices include:
So how do you choose?
Try the following tips to get the most flavor, best cooking results and heart healthy benefits.
In Baked Goods
Replace butter with a stick margarine that contains at least 60 percent oil products. Avoid tub spreads and modified margarine, which contain too little fat and too much water.
Baking and Cooking
- Use a small amount of vegetable oil, instead of lard, butter, or other fats that are hard at room temperature.
- In general, diet margarines are not well suited for baking.
- To cut saturated fat, use regular soft margarine made with vegetable oil.
- Choose margarine that lists liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient on the food label.
For pan-frying and sauteing, use olive oil to eliminate trans-fats. Replace butter with a margarine that contains 50 to 59 percent of oil.
Love the taste of butter? Choose a tub margarine that contains whey protein for close-to-the-real-thing butter taste. If you are like me, really hooked on having "REAL" butter on your bread, use whipped butter in tubs. There is less fat and calories due to the "whipping" process.
To Lower Cholesterol
It is worth it to buy cholesterol-lowering margarine. Three servings a day lower LDL by 10 percent. Let's take it!
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