Friday, June 26, 2009

Choosing Spreads

Commercials for popular bread spreads talk about the type of fat and quantity of fat they contain but when they throw all those numbers out there it can get confusing. How do you choose which spread to use on your bread?

Margarines are made from oil and other than diet or lite margarines most margarines have about the same amount of fat in one teaspoon – 5 grams. The major difference in stick, tub and squeeze margarine is the saturated, trans and unsaturated fat content.

When it comes to reading labels look for margarines that have a low total amount of saturated and trans fats. Don’t let ads mislead you by only talking about trans fat content since BOTH saturated and trans fats will contribute to the risk for heart disease. Here is an example of what to look for.

This is the label from a tub margarine and you can see that the trans and saturated fat together equal 1.5 grams.

This next label shows a stick margarine and you can see that the saturated and trans fat together equal 5.0 grams so even though the tub margarine has trans fats it has Less total, harmful fat.

Next time you head to the market to purchase margarine make sure you refer to the nutrition facts panel to see what you are really buying.

* Values derived from 2002 USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15

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