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Calorie Count Blog

Heart Health 101: Cutting Back on Butter


By +Carolyn Richardson on Oct 06, 2012 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

Has the use of butter from “back then” changed because we now, “know better” like the I Can't Believe Its Not Butter jingle from 2008 proclaimed?  In just one tablespoon of butter, you get 12 grams of fat, 7 of which is saturated fat, 31 milligrams of cholesterol and a hefty 100 calories. Despite the dim nutrition facts, the Economic Research Service reports the average American enjoys 4.9 pounds of butter a year. That allotment of 15,680 calories could be used in a much better way, or make it a lot easier for you to drop that last 5 pounds. Here are the facts on fat and how you can make healthy swaps. 

Butter 

The biggest health concern with butter is its high saturated fat content. Saturated fat, any fat which is solid at room temperature, is known to raise LDL cholesterol which raises your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends keeping saturated fat intake to less than 7% of total daily calories. Just one tablespoon of butter could make up half of that allotment on a 1,600 calorie-a-day diet. If you eat any meat, it would be hard to stay below this recommendation. 

Margarine

From a calorie count standpoint, butter and margarine are almost identical at about 100 calories a tablespoon with some small variation depending on brands. The most major difference is that margarine traditionally contains trans fats. Trans fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are artificially produced to make unsaturated fats or oils, solid at room temperature like butter. But, through the years, research found they are even worse for your cholesterol levels than saturated fat. Trans fats have been shown to lower “good” cholesterol and raise “bad,” which is doubly bad for heart health. Not all margarine is created equal. If you use margarine, avoid trans fats by looking for options that are not made with hydrogenated oils. The Center for Science in the Public Interest provides a list of Margarine and Spreads that have less than 20% of its fat from saturated or trans fats. 

Healthy Swaps

Dividing the 3 tablespoons of butter a week Americans eat between 21 meals is an arduous task. Fortunately, there are many healthy swaps you can make to replace butter:

  • Choose mostly unsaturated oils like olive, canola, and safflower when cooking.
  • Instead of putting bread on butter, use olive oil and a small amount of balsamic vinegar for a flavor boost.
  • Use pureed avocado in an equal amount in place of butter in any recipe. In an ounce, you’ll lose half the calories and fat, and gain 2 grams of fiber as well as some potassium.
  • For baking, use apple sauce or banana 1:1 instead of butter and you’re only looking at a quarter of the calories and virtually no fat. If the sacrifice in flavor is too much, go half and half.
  • Replace fat calories from butter with other heart-healthy sources like nuts, seeds, avocado, and fatty fish.  

To get a bigger picture of how fats should fit into your diet, visit the American Heart Association’s “Know Your Fats” Fact Sheet here.


Your thoughts…


How have you made the switch from butter to healthier fat options?



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Comments


I have really got to cancel my email notifications to this site.

Seriously?  You're going to worry about a few tablespoons of natural, clean butter over the course of a day when most people are eating truckloads of sugar, modified wheat, chemical food coloring and artificial unpronounceables?

I honestly don't think butter is that much of an issue, let alone the whole argument over whether saturated fat is really going to kill you in your sleep anyway.  I'm not losing any sleep over it.



If butter were guaranteed to kill me in my sleep, I'd be inclined to eat more of it.



I could not agree more with chawks64...



"Instead of putting bread on butter, use olive oil and a small amount of balsamic vinegar for a flavor boost."

How about we put some Butter on our Bread and avoid the vinegar! Who in their right mind would do that? Butter has been proven to be better than margarine. My ancestors grew up on Butter and they all lived happy healthy lives and I plan to do the same thing!



This is so old hat. I could not agree more with the above comments. Animal saturated fats are not what causes heart disease. Countries with the highest consumption of saturated fat do not have high rates of heart disease e.g. the France. Its sugar and refined carbohydrates that are the culprits.  Eat butter and cut out bread, potatoes and pasta and watch the weight fall off.  I have lost 25 lbs doing that while eating lots of saturated fats and olive oil dressings.  Just eat meat, fish, cheese (full fat), yoghurt (full fat), eggs, veg, fruit, nuts and no diet food junk and losing weight is easy.  It turns out that polyunsaturated fats may not be as good for us as we thought.  I am sticking to butter, lard, coconut oil and olive oil.



Sorry but my doctor told me that butter was the much better option for your health.  It always comes down to this, butter is natural, margarine chemical.  I will take the natural product everyday.  That and the butter conglomerates did not spend millions to get FDA approval for something they knew was not good for the average person.



I would have to say butter @ a minimum is ok. I actually think one could manage on 3tbs a week. You don't really need that much to get the flavor. I usually use a quarter of the butter to three quarters olive oil and it works fine. I also like Molly Butter mixed with olive oil. 



I will have to agree with Wizlite...  All the refined sugars & processed foods are the real culprits.  Sorry but I am not giving up the butter.  

 



All of my education and work in the healthcare field has shown me that natural doesn't mean perfect, but natural tends to be better, healthier, and safer for our bodies in the long run.  I personally don't like the idea of eating man made, or chemically altered foods, so I don't purchase or use them, specifically margarine.  We do use butter in our house, but only minimally.  I don't slather it on vegetables or drown my popcorn with it, but like anything else, moderation is the key.  There have been numerous studies and reports that show the differences and the results of excessive usingwith both.  Knowledge is power.  For too many years we bought whatever our TV's told us to and bought into the advertising not thinking that maybe it was all about making a buck, not watching out for our best interests.  I have learned to question things and "do my homework".  I will continue to eat butter, minimally as I have been, and remember to park at the back of the lot, and take the stairs to balance out the extra few calories from my butter consumption.  My health is my responsibility, so it's up to me to balance what's best with what's reasonable. 



I can't believe this post. What a load of nonsense. Yes, let's all eat Canola oil which is rancid and deodorized! Any idea that eating saturated fat has an impact on cholesterol has been disproven many years ago. How much longer will we have to read this nonsense on the internet before the so called "Experts" tell us the truth. In the meantime, let's all keep feeding our kids grains and margarine and wonder why we keep getting fatter and fatter


Where does Calorie Count keep getting these reviews? Are there no grown ups in charge?

I love my butter and choose butter over margarine any day.  I don't buy margarine and haven't for quite a number of years.  IMHO, it is what you mix with the butter that makes it bad.

 



Though butter is natural and delicious and better than rancid canola oil, the substitutions suggested by the post--olive oil and balsamic (long a Mediterranean flavoring for bread, and offered at many good restaurants), applesauce or other fruit in baking, etc--these are excellent suggestions my family has used for years to cut back on fats and calories without sacrificing yumminess. Try them, instead of dissing them!


I can cut back.....A LITTLE. I would rather, much rather cut out other things so I can have my BUTTER. At least butter is REAL FOOD!!!! Halellujah! So my doc pointed out my elevated LDL and I confessed about my love affair with butter. She continued the debate the point. I lost 28 lbs and remain on BUTTER and dont take the nasty Simvastatin she prescribed. Do I get some Amens? I said to her that Paula Dean uses butter in everything. She said Paula Dean my die of a heart attack on day. I said I will see Paula in HEAVEN. I am most certain there must be butter there. We all get the point but hey FDA and Pharmaceutical companies we all know you are on the WRONG track  in so many areas and have convinced too many people  you know what you are doing. Many of us know better. Oh by the way my cholesterol is now 127 with an HDL in the upper 60s. I think I will go have toast and butter.



How can anyone take such a poorly written and edited article seriously?

"Instead of putting bread on butter, use olive oil and a small amount of balsamic vinegar for a flavor boost."

(No wonder they think we use too much butter....)

 



Actually they may be accurate. I may put bread on my butterInnocent.I think I put popcorn on my butter too. I dont do it often but when I do, I like a little something with my BUTTER!



Scientific studies with people, most notably the two major long-term studies, Framingham and Tecumseh, have shown there is no link between dietary fat and cholesterol levels.

http://www.thincs.org/Malcolm.choltheory.htm

What this article is saying has been debunked. Years ago when people were urged to replace butter with margarine, which contained trans-fats, they actually did more damage than good.

People should verify claims made to make sure they are scientifically valid - not just popular theories.



I agree with rubatoguy, this article's "facts" have been debunked.  Notice the link in the article to the AHA, amazing how people still believe this nonsense.  Watch "Fathead" and learn a little about saturated fats.  They're not unhealthy, not at all.  



This article is from 1990 right?? lol... saturated fat does not clog your arteries unless you combine it with sugar and bad carbs.  reading the 'cholesterol free' label on anything is useless.  you are way better off eating a pat of butter here and there than margarine.  Just keep your other food choices right..  This article was USELESS and down right WRONG.  that being said... i agree with the healthy oil options. 



Yeah. I agree. And replace healthy butter with canola or safflower oil? Have you ever wonderedd where the oil from vegetables even comes from??? It's HIGHLY processed. It also causes oxidation in the arteries. Atherosclerosis. The saturated fat myth is simply that. A MYTH!

Vegetable oils are the most unhealthy fats to eat. Real butter, coconut oil and olive oil are healthy fats.



Original Post by: militantstarfish

I could not agree more with chawks64...


LOL!



Original Post by: ratzky

If butter were guaranteed to kill me in my sleep, I'd be inclined to eat more of it.


LMAO!



This article isn't all wrong but yes much is way off.  The mentioned a few good things.  A good balsamic vinegar and olive oil are indeed a good thing to have.  Avocado is a good healthy fat. Margarine especially those that are higher in trans fats are bad.  The things they have wrong are numerous though.

Some margarine may indeed be better than other margarine, but no margarine is better than butter.  The ideal butter being raw grass-fed butter, but for those who can't source it Kerrygold or some other brand of grass-fed butter is good.  Even regular butter is better than margarine.

If you want some good information debunking the saturated fat myth check at Peter Attia's site here and here, and Dr. Mercola's site.

For examples of what high amounts of good healthy fat in butter, avocado, cream cheese,  full fat yogurt etc... can do check out Jimmy Moore's N1 nutritional ketosis experiment or Primal North numbers.

My own numbers have been improving pretty well on a high healthy fat moderate protein low carbohydrate diet.

May TC 201 Aug 168 Tri 137 56 LDL 130 106 HDL 44 51 Chol/HDL Ratio 4.57 3.29 Tri/HDL Ratio 3.11 1.10



Another thing of interest is that saturated fats in the blood are actually lower in low carbohydrate people who are adapted to using fat because you burn the fat for energy.

Anyone who really likes reading should check out The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living/Performance. 

If you want to further your health even more Body by Science is a great book and only 12 dollars on Amazon.  Its great for exercise.



Butter is an all-natural product, far and away superior to margarine in terms of taste and health. Yes there is fat in it, but our bodies are designed to burn fat! The over-consumption of sugar (and the fact that every processed food has corn syrup/sugar/fructose/high fructose corn syrup added to it) is the cause of the obesity crisis, not fat.

For a site that purports to give out helpful health and dietary information you should know this!

Margarine is one molecule away from plastic and has no nutritional value at all. When I switched back to butter a few months ago I actually lost weight because my body was dealing with something it knew something about.



The body doesn't even know how to process Trans fats and probably doesn't process any margarine normally either.



Several years ago I changed from butter and margarine to a butter spray. I was surprised to find it tasted as good as butter and have stayed with it ever since. It has 0 cal. and 0 carbs.  I don't even keep butter in the refrigerator anymore.



Original Post by: ogabes

Several years ago I changed from butter and margarine to a butter spray. I was surprised to find it tasted as good as butter and have stayed with it ever since. It has 0 cal. and 0 carbs.  I don't even keep butter in the refrigerator anymore.


So... what are the ingredients then?

 



Butter is not the enemy. Just don't make 1 tbsp a day an everyday occurrence. I use butter in some recipes, but I'll use 1-2 tbsp for a multiple serving dish. My grandmother lived until 93 and boy did she love her butter, she also had her wits with her to the very end....



The basic ingredients in the butter spray that I use are soybean oil, buttermilk and salt. It also has lecithin, xanthan gum, and a few other ingredients to preserve freshness. It is Parkay brand, mfd by ConAgra Foods.  I've been using it for more than 4 years and over that time have lost 105 pounds and kept it off. It hasn't been easy but I made a lot of changes in my diet and this was one of them.



Original Post by: ogabes

The basic ingredients in the butter spray that I use are soybean oil, buttermilk and salt. It also has lecithin, xanthan gum, and a few other ingredients to preserve freshness. It is Parkay brand, mfd by ConAgra Foods.  I've been using it for more than 4 years and over that time have lost 105 pounds and kept it off. It hasn't been easy but I made a lot of changes in my diet and this was one of them.


I would guess the reason that it has zero calories is because the amount per use would be incredibly small and so each spray has .5 calories or less (at which point they're allowed to say "zero").

As far as carbs, that's all fats, unless they have something added to them, so butter doesn't have any either.

Soybean oil is best avoided for a multitude of reasons, some of them controversial and some of them not.

Maybe a better choice would be to find a good quality olive oil and fill something like a Misto sprayer.  Then you have some control over the quality of the fat you're using, as well as avoiding all of the added chemicals.

 



The better choice would be to use real butter.  If its with a diet that isn't high in carbohydrates it perfectly healthy.  Especially if you can get raw grass-fed butter but if not Kerrygold is good.

Soybean oil is certainly a horrible thing to have over butter.  You can lose weight while eating twinkies.  That doesn't mean its healthy or desirable.  I can't guarantee anything but I wouldn't be surprised if your on a low fat diet that switching to a high fat low carbohydrate diet would improve your health even more assuming you feel good right now.

There are some people that thing low fat high carbohydrate diets might be better for some, but I'm not convinced at all that this is true.

I'm not saying its not possible but considering the multiple benefits of using fat for fuel I doubt it. 

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-much-glucose-does-your-br ain-really-need/#axzz1zTytzbdB

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-much-glucose-does-your-br ain-really-need/#axzz1zTytzbdB

Fat and ketones are actually the preferred fuel by most of the body.  The brain does require a small amount of glucose, but that can be made by various processes the body does naturally and efficiently after an adaption period.

It is possible that this adaption may take longer in some than others, but generally its two weeks for a decent amount.  For full adaption with 100% efficiency probably 2-3 months or more.

 

 



This butter taboo info is so outdated and WRONG!!!

Invest the time to educate yourself and find out what's really gone on and is now going on - watch . . .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvKdYUCUca8

You will be amazed at how you have been lied to for $$$ interests.



I am amazed and delighted that all the above people are shouting in unison, and I can only but add my voice. I do not think France for once country would like banana or apple croissants !



I am a huge fan of popcorn, and used quite a bit of butter, now I still eat my popcorn, but I purchased an oil sprayer/spritzer, I have olive oil in it and spritx a small amount on popcorn, I also own one of the microwaveable popcorn makers, no oil at all, I am not sure how much a spritz is in calories, but not near what butter would be



Your comment on the Misto is right on target. That solves all sorts of problems.

You're also right about cancelling your subscription. I have lost 52 pounds. I'm 67, 5'10" and weigh 182. Calorie Count just told me I'm "mildly overweight" and that I "should weigh 153 pounds." And that I can get to that weight by April 25 if I eat only 2000 calories a day.

Do you know crazy that is on ALL levels? 175 would be perfect. I could even live with 165. But 153 is  THIRTY POUNDS MORE TO LOSE! That's MILDLY OVERWEIGHT? I'm currently eating 1600 calories and losing 2 pounds month. Imagine me on 2000 c/day.

I'm going to start my own website. It will be out in January. You'll know it when you see it!



I Love Butter • A healthier alternative is to mix 50/50 Butter and Olive Oil. This also makes Butter straight from the fridge easier to spread. 



I'm so sick of this argument! Butter lowers LDL and increases your HDL the good stuff. Check with a Doctor if u don't believe! Next u will say Eggs are bad lol!


Well, it's for sure that whoever submitted this article to CC is crying in her beer right now.  The idea that anyone would suggest replacing a little butter with canola oil, which is absolute poison to your body, is absolutely ludicrous.



Years ago the boys' swim team at my high school (which included my brother) decided to conduct an experiment.  Their intent was to find out how long it would take the lazy janitors to clean the pool area.  What they wound up proving was far more interesting, and disturbing.  The team held morning practices and, as a result, ate their breakfasts in the coach's office each morning after their workout.  One morning they took a styrofoam cup and put a bit of each person's breakfast in it.  This included a portion of someone's blueberry muffin complete with a glob of margarine on it.  They put another cup over the top and hid the "breakfast cup" beneath the platform where the scorers sat during meets.  Throughout that season and the one the following year (yep, those janitors did a LOUSY job), they took the cup out from time to time to add more food to it.  While all the other food decomposed over the two years, one thing remained completely unchanged; that blob of margarine looked EXACTLY the same two years later as it did when it was first added to the cup. 

Moral of the story: I'll take REAL butter, please! 



I realize that Calorie Count is designed for better health, but this butter thing is going a bit too far. Substitute olive oil and balsamic vinegar on bread? Why not castor oil, or some other foul tasting combination? This site is getting a bit far out in left field and not really offering any constructive or palatable food advice. I may consider unsubscribing unless future offerings are not as ludicrous.



Olive oil on bread has been used by many..and vinegar too.  Not sure you are right about not palatable.  Its a subjective thing taste is.  Some people actually do like that combination.

I guess you missed it but dissing butter is not really health conscious.  Butter is actually a healthy food.  Of course just like any food there are exceptions.  If you eat large amounts of butter with processed foods and large amounts of carbohydrates the whole combination will pack on the pounds but butter in a diet lower in carbohydrates is great.  Especially if its raw and grass-fed or just grass-fed without being raw.  Even commercially available butter is good its just not as good because of the imbalance of fats, possible residues, etc...

The problem is the fact that Calorie Count was and still is based on outdated health advice and information.  The fat phobia that people cling too because they think a high fat diet must be some fad that surely can't actually be healthy.

A properly formulated low carbohydrate moderate protein high fat diet is one of if not the healthiest way to eat for the majority.  Sadly some can just not be convinced even with all the evidence.



Original Post by: srdf

I Love Butter • A healthier alternative is to mix 50/50 Butter and Olive Oil. This also makes Butter straight from the fridge easier to spread. 


I make 'better butter' using 1 cup Canola Oil (which I thought was a healthy choice), 1 cup butter, 2 Tbs nonfat dry milk, 2 Tbs water and 1/4 tsp lecithin.  It is much easier to spread and since I've been making it since my teenage chilren were young, they like it better than anything else and won't eat butter or margarine. 



Original Post by: srdf

I Love Butter • A healthier alternative is to mix 50/50 Butter and Olive Oil. This also makes Butter straight from the fridge easier to spread. 


I make 'better butter' using 1 cup Canola Oil (which I thought was a healthy choice), 1 cup butter, 2 Tbs nonfat dry milk, 2 Tbs water and 1/4 tsp lecithin.  It is much easier to spread and since I've been making it since my teenage chilren were young, they like it better than anything else and won't eat butter or margarine. 



I just leave my butter on the counter in a covered butter dish.  Spreads like a dream and it's just plain old good butter without any effort.

 



wow, are we all on the same page or what!!! great posts and reaffirmation of health over fads.



Original Post by: chawks64

I just leave my butter on the counter in a covered butter dish.  Spreads like a dream and it's just plain old good butter without any effort.

 


Not if you keep your house at 55 in the winter like I do.



You read Jack Kruse?  Ray Cronise?  Tim Ferriss?  They all write good things about the cold :)



Nope.  I'm just half hot-blooded French Canadian.



I'm in the desert.  The butter and coconut oil are ALWAYS soft here!

I'm jealous of your cold!

 



Maine, baby.  I'd die in your desert.



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