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Butter and margarine go head to head

butter or margarineYou see them next to each other in the grocery store, but which one do you choose? And, more importantly, which type of fat is better for your heart? The decision is in: Most margarine choices are healthier than butter.

Because margarine is made from vegetable oils, it doesn’t contain cholesterol and it’s higher in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, or “good,” fats, which, when substituted for saturated fats, help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol. On the other hand, butter contains high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol because it’s made from animal fat.

Buyers beware, though: Choose your margarine carefully. Solid margarine—which comes in stick form—isn’t a good choice because they contain trans fat, which increases cholesterol levels. Trans fat also lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol levels. Instead, choose soft or liquid margarine and check labels for the spread with the lowest calories, the least amount of saturated fat and no trans fat.