Margarine vs Butter. What’s Best If You’ve Had a Heart Attack?

margarine vs butter

“Stay away from abnormal and processed fats”

This is one of my parting shots to people who take part in my online courses when we get to “fat week”.

British Medical Journal Article – Saturated Fat & Heart Disease

Dr Malhotra’s article in the BMJ – ‘Saturated Fat is Not the Issue’ highlights an important issue.

Scientists know that abnormal fats (trans fats) that are found in margarines, fried, fast, and processed foods – lead to heart disease. Margarine is losing so far in the margarine vs butter debate.

When we doctors look at your cholesterol result we look at a number of things, here are two of them:

  1. HDL = ‘good cholesterol’
  2. LDL = ‘bad cholesterol’

It is widely believed that saturated fat (the fat found in butter, diary products and meat) increases LDL, i.e. ‘bad’ cholesterol. It does indeed increase LDL.

However, what this blood test result doesn’t tell us is that there are more than one type of LDL… Dr Malhotra mentions two of them:

  1. type A LDL – these levels are linked to saturated fat
  2. type B LDL – these are linked to carbohydrate and sugar intake

Here’s the interesting thing – it is type B that is linked to heart disease, not Type A…

This means that saturated fat is perhaps less linked to heart disease than the wrong sort of carbohydrates are.

Mediterranean Diet

He also mentions a study showing that adopting a Mediterranean style diet after you’ve had a heart attack is 3 times more powerful at saving your life than taking drugs like statins. It is also far better than a ‘low fat’ diet in preventing future heart problems.

The problem with low fat diets in the West is that they tend to be high in refined carbohydrates – pushing up type B LDL.

What To Do

The really good news here is that you can make so much difference to your health by making changes to your diet:

  1. Above all reduce sugar and refined carbs
  2. Cut out abnormal ‘chemical plant’ produced fats like margarine, have butter instead (in moderation)
  3. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg
  4. Use unprocessed, extra virgin oils
  5. Move towards eating a Mediterranean-style diet

Margarine vs Butter?

When it comes to margarine vs butter it’s butter that you’ll find in my fridge.

Until next week

Uber Health

Dr Julie

9 thoughts on “Margarine vs Butter. What’s Best If You’ve Had a Heart Attack?”

  1. I have a cholesterol check as part of my works health check. They said my cholesterol was high and I should cut down on saturated fat. I don’t eat any saturated fat as I am doing the vegan thing to try an be healthy! The doc didn’t know what to say and wants me to go on statins instead. I don’t want to. What would your advice be?

      1. That’s easy – cholesterol can be high due to eating lots of carbs, something that some vegans do if they are not careful over their diet

    1. My guess is you are eating a lot of carbs? This will push your cholesterol levels up. As a vegan you need to take care over your diet and make sure you are getting enough protein and don’t go overboard on carbs – especially refined and sugar.

    1. In a word – no. Soya spread is a highly processed product and as such full of abnormal man made chemicals. I wouldn’t advise it.

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  4. I’ve changed from margarine to butter and your right Dr. Julie it does taste much better, I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have a weight problem, but want to eat more healthily and I’m finding your advice very useful. Ps. Your book is fantastic and would highly recommend it! Thanks a million.

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