Heart of the matter- is butter better?

By June Shannon Nutrition News   |   14th May 2018

Heart of the matter is butter better?

14 May 2018

At the Irish Heart Foundation, we aim to provide accurate and evidence-based information on heart health to help you make informed decisions about your health. One of the questions we get asked a lot is which is better, butter or another type of spread?

Saturated, unsaturated, mono, polyunsaturated…you would be excused for thinking a science degree is essential for a trip to the supermarket these days just to find something to put on your toast.

In the battle of the spreads it is difficult not to get confused with the numerous products all promoting a range of different health messages.

But when it comes to what to spread on your sandwiches the message is clear, for a healthy heart you need to limit your use of butter as it is high in saturated fats.


"It is better for our hearts to replace saturated with unsaturated fats- butter is high in saturated fat."

Sarah Noone, Dietitian , Irish Heart Foundation

According to the Irish Heart Foundation’s expert dietitian Sarah Noone, while using small amounts of butter every now and then should not pose a problem for most people, it is better for our hearts to replace saturated with unsaturated fats.

Sarah explained that butter was high in saturated fat and diets high in these fats were linked to raised LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Making the simple swap from butter to mono or polyunsaturated spreads, such as olive oil, rapeseed or sunflower based spreads was one way to reduce your risk and help keep your heart healthy, she explained.

“It’s easy to forget that we need to consider our whole diet and dietary pattern to reduce our overall risk of heart disease and stroke. There are many factors which cause heart disease and stroke and no single food or nutrient is solely responsible. The evidence tells us that a heart healthy diets have lots of vegetables, fruit, salads, whole grains, pulses and oily fish, modest amounts of oils, low fat dairy and meat and low intakes of foods high in fat, salt and sugar,” Sarah advised.



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