|BUTTER OR MARGARINE?
Which fats are good, and which ones are bad?
December 25, 1997
in this forum:
How should we assess contradictory information about carbohydrates and olive oil ? Are organic foods worth extra calories? How do you judge whether a dietary product is real or fake ? How much fat should we eat everyday ? Which is worse, trans-fat, or saturated fat ?
Enjoy the turkey and ham, and other holiday indulgences, but beware! Dietitians and health experts generally agree that people gain an average of 10 pounds during the holiday season.
To lose the weight, many people make the typical New Year's resolution to cut fat out of their diets and adhere to a healthier regime. This includes switching to low-fat products such as frozen yogurt, imitation cheese and low-fat cakes and cookies.
But a recent Harvard University study of more than 80,000 nurses suggests it's not how much fat you eat that's bad for you, it's the kind of fat you consume.
As the scientific literature stacks up, making decisions about what to eat has become confusing, even stressful. First scientists recommended eating margarine; now it's supposedly worse than butter.
And trying to lose weight makes the situation even more complicated. A fat-free muffin may have as many calories as a regular one, because it has high-calorie sweeteners. And the latest frozen yogurt may have less fat, but is it healthier?
Dr. Walter Willett, co-author of the Harvard University study, and chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard's School of Public Health has answered your questions.