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A lot has been said about butter and margarine over the years, so how do you know what the healthiest choice is for you? In this episode, Jen debunks the myths around butter and margarine and shares the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision for your health. Plus, you’ll also hear what Jen uses and how she keeps it as close to nature as possible.

Did you enjoy the podcast today? Please let me know by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Every month I draw one lucky reviewer to have a free one-hour consultation with me. Also, remember to subscribe wherever you’re tuning in from so that you always catch the next episode.

SHOWNOTES

A lot has been said about butter and margarine over the years, so how do you know the best choice for your health? Let’s look at both in more detail.

What is butter?

Butter made from cream via churning, which involves shaking the cream until the milk fat — or butter — clumps together and separates from the liquid portion (buttermilk). Buttermilk is drained, and the butter is churned further until it becomes ready for packaging.

Mainly composed of fat, butter is a high-calorie food. One tablespoon (14 grams) of butter packs about 100 calories, which is similar to 1 medium-sized banana that is 89 calories

Butter is rich in various vitamins, including A, D, E, B12, and K2. However, butter doesn’t contribute much to your total daily intake of these vitamins because you usually consume it in small amounts.

Butter from grass-fed cows is higher in many nutrients than butter from grain-fed cows and could be a healthier option.

The Heart Foundation Tick 

Margarine manufacturers started the Heart Foundation Tick in 1959. It confirmed receiving unrestricted grants from three drug companies — Sanofi, AstraZeneca and Amgen.

Companies paid to have the Heart Foundation Tick endorsement on their products. The program  helped lift awareness of healthy foods in Australian supermarkets and stores, although some of the endorsements proved controversial.

To carry the Heart Foundation Tick, packaged foods were required to display nutritional information. In the first year, 31 companies signed up to the program and the Tick was displayed on 140 products. After 25 years, more than 2,000 products carried the logo across 80 food categories. Research showed the Tick to be the most recognised logo on food products in Australia.

In 2015, the decision was taken to phase out the Tick program. By that time, nutritional labelling was firmly established on food products and the new Health Star Rating System was in place.

The Pros and Cons of Butter

Pros

Butter close to nature 

Cons

Although butter has many health benefits, it is chiefly composed of fats which can cause many undesirable problems if consumed in excess. These include obesity, hypertension, heart disease and cancer.

Scientists around the world simultaneously showed that saturated fat—the kind in butter and lard—increases both “bad” LDL cholesterol and “good” HDL cholesterol, making it similar to carbohydrates overall, but not as beneficial to health as polyunsaturated fats from nuts and vegetables.

The Pros and Cons of Margarine

Pros

I see no pros in margarine. 

Cons

Margarine is much lower in saturated fat than butter, and it is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol. Although it is lower in saturated fat, stick margarine still contains the same amount of total fat and calories as butter. The harder the margarine, the more trans-fat it contains.

My Butter Recipe

Sometimes I like to have toast with spread on it, so I make my own butter. I go and buy an unsalted block of butter that is wrapped in paper. I leave it out to soften it – particularly at the moment in the Queensland summer. I don’t use a microwave, that is the topic for another podcast, so if leaving it out isn’t an option, you may want to warm it in a cool oven to soften it slightly.

Once it is soft, I put the block of butter into a container and then put in equal parts of olive oil. I don’t measure it, just estimate guys. Then I use a fork to mix it. You can use a food processor if you like, but a fork is fine. By doing that, the olive oil mixes with the butter. 

What I have then is a product that stays soft in the fridge and spreads evenly. How much olive oil you use depends on how soft it is in the end; I find equal parts oil and butter is a good texture. By making your butter this way, the good Omega-6 and Omega-9 balance out the butter’s saturated fats. It’s no longer so much saturated fat. I haven’t heated the butter so there are no trans-fats and better yet it still tastes like butter!

Healthy Life Hacks

So, the healthy life hacks I want to leave you with today are: 

  1. Throw out the margarine and those pre blended butters
  2. Make your own butter blend! 
  3. Use in moderation

Did you enjoy the podcast today? Please let me know by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts. Every month I draw one lucky reviewer to have a free one-hour consultation with me. Also, remember to subscribe wherever you’re tuning in from so that you always catch the next episode.

Are you looking for more great resources? Get a free copy of my Feed Your Body ebook here and be sure to explore my blog while you are there.