Is there anything better than butter?
Article date: 26 February 2014
When it comes to substitutes for butter, we've never had more choice than we do today. The reasons for looking for an alternative are plentiful - from not being convinced about its health benefits to being unable to consume dairy products.
With so many different routes to go down when choosing what's better than butter for you, here are a few suggestions you may like to consider.
Often found populating the supermarket shelves, the majority of these alternatives don't contain the saturated fat found in butter - although recent research has suggested that this may no longer be as significant as it once was.
Some are made from plant sterols, which can contribute towards the lowering of cholesterol. However, it's always worth noting what goes into these alternatives, as some contain trans fats. These can increase your cholesterol levels and are not generally recommended for consumption as part of a healthy diet.
Another thing to be wary about is the use of the spray versions of these products, as opposed to the spreadable ones. A single squirt can often contain a person's serving size, meaning you shouldn't continually spray it all over your food if you want to stick within your daily allowances!
Margarine is, for the most part, made of refined plant oils, water and fats. Invented in the 1800s, it is one of the oldest substitutes for butter.
Used in spreading, cooking and baking, it is just as useful as its counterpart and also contains the same minimum fat content of 80 per cent. High-quality variations are likely to contain vitamins A and D.
Olive oil is a great alternative to butter if you are intolerant to dairy products or are practising a vegan diet.
Just like butter, olive oil is spreadable if you chill it, while it can also be used to bake - making muffins and cakes even more delicious. What's more, it's full of healthy nutrients and is a staple of the Mediterranean diet - a region known for longer life expectancy and lower risks of heart disease and stroke.
Similar in many senses to olive oil, coconut oil is taken from the 'meat' of the fruit and is considered by some to be a superfood.
Along with helping to regulate metabolism and improve the strength of your teeth and bones, it contains lauric, caprylic and capric acids, which can help to support the immune system.
Tahini is another vegan alternative that is made from ground sesame seeds, forming a thick paste that is often used in Middle Eastern dishes.
Because of its consistency, it is easily spreadable and offers a nutty taste. In terms of its health benefits, tahini is rich in protein and vitamins B and E, which can boost energy and protect against heart disease respectively.
It is also a great source of minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium, meaning you are really doing your body good by incorporating it into your diet.