Friday, February 26, 2010

Myth: Eating margarine instead of butter will keep my cholesterol down.

Answer: Busted!

Choosing margarine over butter will not automatically lower your cholesterol. From a fat and calorie standpoint, butter and margarine are the same with about 35 calories and four grams of fat per teaspoon. Both are primarily fat; only the source differs. Butter contains more saturated fat than most margarine. Because margarine is made from vegetable oil, it has no cholesterol, but the stick margarine is high in trans fats.

For a spread with less saturated fat and minimal or no trans fat, buy soft or liquid margarine. Whipped versions of butter or margarine have less fat per tablespoon too. Reduced fat margarine is also available but is not suitable for cooking.

Whether you prefer the taste of butter or margarine, enjoy in small portions. For margarine, choose liquid or tub, rather than stick. These tips can help you make the right choice.

To keep your cholesterol at healthy levels, eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods, lean meats and poultry, fish at least twice a week and fat-free or 1 percent dairy products and adopt other healthy lifestyle habits.

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