Which is healthier: butter or margarine?

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Question from LisaBaker: I keep forgetting—what is healthier, butter or margarine? Can you explain why?
Answers - Cyndi Thomson, Ph.D., R.D. These are great questions! When my clients ask me about butter or margarine, what I recommend is "less is better," not to use too much of either. And the variety method works well here. In my refrigerator you'll find whipped butter and Smart Balance and you'll also find olive oil, flavored oil and even nut oil, such as almond oil. Mix it up and don't eat too much of any of the above. Many margarines are high in polyunsaturated fat, which may be advisable for heart disease, but is not the best for cancer. But neither would butter be a great choice, because it's a saturated fat. We all know that trans fats that are commonly found in margarine are also problematic. So again, less is more.
Melinda Irwin The variety is good, too, because sometimes if you need to put a spread on bread you could try a jam or a jelly or peanut butter, but not always using butter or margarine. Change it up a bit.
Cyndi Thomson, Ph.D., R.D. I'm a big avocado lover. I make my own butter by whipping my avocados.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Weight Management During and After Breast Cancer Treatment featured Cyndi Thomson, Ph.D., R.D. and Melinda Irwin Ph.D., M.P.H. answering your questions on managing weight during and after breast cancer treatment.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2007.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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