This is a question that most people ask. In today’s fast growing marketing tactics, it is so difficult to make out which product is good and safer for us. Butter is natural but gives lots of cholesterol, while the butter-like spreads that the advertisements say are better than butter as they have zero cholesterol. It is so difficult to make the choice!
Let us first understand both these products to make the choice easier for you.
Butter: Butter is natural; it is made while churning out milk fat. There are 2 variants of butter in India. Home-made butter or makkhan and market-available butter like Amul butter. There’s slight difference in these two. Makkhan is salt-free normally, so low in sodium and does not have added preservatives or colour. So it is actually better butter. Butter has 81% fat and 2.5% minerals. It is a source of fat soluble vitamins-A, D, E and K and some essential fatty acids. Butter does have high amounts of saturated fats which are not recommended in high quantities, however, some of them in butter are of small and medium chain fatty acids, which are used up immediately and easily by our body and hence do not tend to be stored as fats if consumed wisely, especially on an light stomach. 1 teaspoon of butter will give 3.5g of saturated fats, while one can consume around 13g of saturated fat in a day.
Buttery spreads/ margarine: Now let us understand how margarine or other butter-like spreads are made. The bases of such spreads are vegetable oils like palm oil. These oils are liquids at room temperature, like our cooking oils. They have to be chemically extracted, refined and hydrogenated to make them remain like butter. High temperatures may also result in loss of vitamins. Hydrogenation of any fat produces trans fats, the ones your doctors ask you to avoid. Although the manufacturers claim that these are free of trans-fats, it is not entirely true. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows them to claim ‘no trans-fats’ on the label if each serving of this product has less than 0.5g of trans-fats. The packaging will also mention PUFA or poly unsaturated fats/oils. These are used initially but then later hydrogen is added to them to solidify as they saturate.
Trans-fats are known to cause a number of health problems like inflammation, colitis, they also raise the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in the blood. A study conducted by Centre for Science in April 2006 showed that trans-fats are responsible significantly for heart problems, atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, cancer and other degenerative diseases.
These substitutes or margarine also contain added colours, preservatives, chemicals like nickel and cadmium. They are not a source of fat-soluble vitamins and essential fats. Besides they give the same amount of calories and fats!
So why not have better butter in limited quantities, it will satisfy your taste and also give some benefits in the longer run!
Tags : Women, diet, food, butter, health, breakfast