Heart Foundation: Butter has 20 times the trans fats of marg

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 28th September 2010

margarine-butterA Heart Foundation investigation into margarine and butter has shown that butter has, on average, 20 times the trans fat levels of margarine.

“This news will come as a big surprise to many people who choose butter believing that it’s ‘natural’ and therefore healthier – but it simply isn’t the case,” said Susan Anderson, the Heart Foundation’s National Director Healthy Weight

“Butter is mostly made of the fat that raises your bad cholesterol levels – saturated fat at around 50% and trans fat at more than 4%. Compare those figures to margarine spreads at an average of 14% and 0.2 % respectively, and margarine is clearly the healthier choice,“ said Anderson.

Most margarine spreads have drastically reduced their trans fat content after the substance became a popular health issue.

The Heart Foundation says it has cause for alarm, saying that with popular television programs, chefs and food magazines all using butter in their recipes, there have been big increases in butter sales – up 9.3% in 2009.

“The Heart Foundation is calling on cooks and chefs to switch from butter to margarine and healthy oils for the sake of Australians’ health. They both perform similar functions, so butter can be easily substituted for margarine when baking, and oils such as canola can be used in sautéing and in mashed potatoes,“ said Anderson.

The report was published yesterday by the Heart Foundation in the journal Food Australia.

With other recent research revealing that Australian women have higher LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels than men, the Heart Foundation is also urging all women to take another look at their lifestyle to ward off heart disease, and suggests and making the switch to margarine is a good place to start.