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Butter vs. margarine.

Q. I keep hearing that butter is bad for me, but I've read that margarine is bad too. Which is better for my health, and what are my options?

A. Butter is made from animal fat and margarine is made from plant oils, so margarine is healthier, provided it doesn't contain trans fats. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that everyone shift their dietary plan from solid fats to oils as much as possible. However, some margarines include a small amount of skim milk to help with churning, so be sure to read the labels to know what you're getting.

Here's why margarine is healthier: One tablespoon of butter has 7 grams (g) of saturated fat. Margarine has half that amount (about 3 g), but it also has healthy unsaturated fats--3 g of monounsaturated and 4 g of polyunsaturated. Margarine generally has no cholesterol, where butter has 30 mg.

Saturated fat is linked with increased heart health risks, including heart attacks, strokes, coronary artery disease, and diabetes. Unsaturated fats are linked with lowering your risks of these same health issues. However, there are dozens of margarine types available today, including some with small amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol, so read the Nutrition Facts and ingredients labels carefully.

Look for low-sodium margarine. You also can find margarines that have been fortified with calcium and vitamin D, as well as vegan and gluten-free alternatives.

Send questions for Dr. Etingin to: Women's Nutrition Connection

ATTN: Lynn Russo Whylly, Executive Editor P.O. Box 5656, Norwalk, CT 06856-5656

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Title Annotation:ASK DR. ETINGIN
Publication:Women's Nutrition Connection
Date:Dec 1, 2018
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