Is but­ter bet­ter, or is it time to ditch the spreads? Di­eti­tian Melissa Meier dips into the lat­est research and shares smart swaps.

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Is but­ter bet­ter, or is it time to ditch the spread? HFG slices into the lat­est research

From traditional but­ter to trend­ing dairy-free spreads — and al­most ev­ery­thing else in be­tween — it can be tricky to know what’s the health­i­est choice. Add to that the abundance of health claims, and you’ve got a su­per­mar­ket bas­ket­ful of con­fu­sion. But if you fol­low HFG’s guide to spreads and but­ters, you can have your toast — and eat it, too! Qual­ity and quan­tity count But­ter’s back in fash­ion, with some ad­vo­cates pro­claim­ing it’s health­ier and more nat­u­ral than mar­garine. But let’s take a closer look. But­ter — made sim­ply from churned cream and of­ten a touch of salt — is about 50 per cent sat­u­rated fat. De­spite sen­sa­tional me­dia re­ports to the con­trary, sat­u­rated fat does in­deed raise your choles­terol lev­els. It raises your LDL, or so-called ‘bad’ choles­terol, but it also raises your ‘good’ HDL choles­terol. So, what’s the over­all ef­fect of all that sat­u­rated fat in but­ter?

That’s where the rest of your diet comes in. Sure, a smear of but­ter on your morn­ing toast is fine if you’re eat­ing an other­wise healthy diet. It only be­comes a prob­lem if you go over­board with but­ter, or if your diet is al­ready high in other sources of sat­u­rated fat like pro­cessed snacks and fried foods. To help keep your heart healthy, you should also check the sodium con­tent and opt for an un­salted but­ter va­ri­ety.

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