Butter or margarine?
A lot of people are wondering whether they should use butter or margarine for a healthier life.
Actually, none of them is healthy, because they both contain saturated fats and trans fats. Findings from a recent test in Hong Kong showed that some margarine products contain glycidol, a chemical which is thought to cause cancer, and 3-MCPD, a chemical which can cause kidney problems and male infertility.
But this does not mean that butter is better than margarine. This is because butter contains a lot more fat than margarine does.
I suggest you use jam or avocado instead of butter or margarine. Avocados are a great source of fibre, vitamins C, E, K, magnesium, and potassium. Even if you do not like the fruit, you will enjoy eating avocado with bread because the taste is different.
You must take care of your body, if you want to stay fit and healthy. You should be careful about what you eat and think about the nutrients before you buy food. It’s the best recipe for a happy, healthy life.
Ip Wai-yan, King Ling College
From the editor
Thank you for your letter, Wai-yan. This discussion is sure to spark a heated debate wherever you go. It comes down to which is healthy: fat (not trans fats) or carbs?
The person who believes fat is healthy will go after butter every time. That is because butter does not contain any carbohydrates. Margarine only has a tiny amount of carbohydrates, so it doesn’t really matter.
On the other hand, bread is chock-full of carbohydrates. Generally, a single slice of normal white bread can hold 24g of carbohydrate. So, a sandwich is a dangerous idea for anyone looking for a healthier diet. The pro-fat people would be steering clear of bread anyway.
Jam does not contain fat, but it can be full of sugar, which is used in the jam-making process. Almost half of jam’s weight is sugar. Now, not all of that will be cane sugar, but any form of concentrated sugar is not good for you.
These days, you can get jam that does not use sugar but relies on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Even so, if you consider that the fruit still needs to be concentrated to make jam, the pro-butter crowd would tell you it’s a bad option.
Avocado are fairly low in carbs, so they do make a good alternative, if you don’t mind their carbon and water footprint that is.
It’s not easy to live lightly.