Is in that spread?

There’s a con­fus­ing ar­ray of mar­garines and ta­ble spreads out there. Di­eti­tian Brooke Long­field looks at how much sat­u­rated fat you could be spread­ing on your morn­ing toast.

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - SHOPPING -

You’ve done the hard work choos­ing the health­i­est bread, but what are you slather­ing on it? Spreads can be a hid­den source of sat­u­rated fat, which ramps up your risk of heart dis­ease and weight gain.

Pure but­ter is high in sat­u­rated fat, with one ta­ble­spoon hav­ing 7–10g, or about a third of your daily limit. And, de­spite re­cent news head­lines claim­ing that ‘but­ter is back’, health ex­perts con­tinue to rec­om­mend we limit the amount of sat­u­rated fat in our diet.

Mar­garines and oil spreads are much lower in sat­u­rated fat than but­ter as they’re made from veg­etable oils — usu­ally canola or sun­flower oil. Canola is also a source of healthy omega-3 fats.

While mar­garine is highly pro­cessed, there is cur­rently no ev­i­dence that shows we should avoid it. Some are for­ti­fied with plant sterols, which help to lower choles­terol. Your doc­tor may ad­vise you to use these spreads.

New to su­per­mar­ket shelves are spreads made with co­conut or olive oil. If you choose to use ei­ther of these, keep in mind that af­ter pro­cess­ing, they bear lit­tle re­sem­blance to pure ex­tra vir­gin olive or co­conut oils.

For a long time, we’ve fo­cused on low-fat di­ets. But as we learn more about fat, the spot­light has shifted to the of fat we eat, rather than the For ex­am­ple, while nut but­ter is high in fat, the fat comes from heart-healthy nuts, mak­ing it a far more nu­tri­tious choice than but­ter (see right).

So to make a healthy choice, con­sider the type of fat that’s in your spread — and be mind­ful of how much you’re us­ing.

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