WASHINGTON (September 22, 1998) - A new study from the Agricultural Research magazine, research was recently conducted by Dr. Joseph Judd, a prominent nutrition researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Services’ Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland.
colleagues recently completed a clinical study with 46 men and women that compared butter with two types of margarines (margarine with either a moderate amount of trans fat or no trans fat).
found that even margarines with a moderate amount of trans fat had a much better effect on blood cholesterol levels than did butter.
While the margarine that contains the moderate amount of trans fat lowered levels of “bad” cholesterol compared to butter (which is rich in saturated fat), the trans fat-free margarine fared slightly better.
Neither of the margarines lowered the levels of good cholesterol, either.
“One reason we saw these results is that, compared to butter, most margarine products contain more poly- and mono-unsaturated fats than trans or saturated fats,” states Dr. Judd
“Too many times, consumers get confused by scientific reports on specific fats; then they translate those reports to changes in their eating behavior,” he
Because this has happened over the past few years, particularly with margarine, Dr. Judd
reminds consumers, “We do not eat specific fats.
We eat foods such as margarine that contain a wide variety of fats.” While he
believes that it is wise for consumers to reduce their intake of trans fats where they can, Judd
warns, “you should not be overly concerned to the point you substitute saturated fats for trans fats.
Saturated fats average about 12 percent of the total calories in the diet and are a major dietary factor in cardiovascular disease risk.
Trans fats comprise only 2-3 percent of calories on the other hand.”
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Dr. Judd’s research is the latest of several studies done around the world which demonstrate that margarine can be an important part of a heart-healthy diet.
Seven other studies published or presented during the past two years, involving nearly 70,000 people, confirm Dr. Judd’s results.
“We now know that about 60 percent of consumer purchases today are tub and squeeze products -- the type products AHA suggests consumers use (and have proportions of fats similar to the products used in Dr. Judd’s research).” Taylor points out that even when you evaluate the trans and saturated fat in margarine products, margarine always wins over butter.
“In fact, the lower fat margarine products contain 50-100 percent less of these two fats,” she