I use both extra virgin olive oil and butter when it comes to baking sweets. It depends on what I am cooking.
I read with interest one response that included oil spredas as a healthier alternative to butter. Many of the artificial margarines and spreads that
have become popular with health-conscious consumers can contain higher levels of "dangerous" fats than butter, a study claimed in the Uk on June 13, 2001.
A survey of 100 spreads found that levels of "trans" fat, thought by experts to contribute to heart disease, exceed those of butter in 27 cases. It recommended that one brand should even carry a "health warning".
New product ranges such as butter blends also often contain high levels of saturated fats, and olive oil spreads mislead shoppers because they are made with only small quantities of olive oil, it was claimed.
The report, published by the Consumers' Association, found that Somerfield's own-brand Packet Margarine contained 21g of trans fat per 100g - about four times
that of an average butter.
UK Government guidelines recommend a daily intake of trans fat of about 4g to 5g - considerably less than the 20g-30g recommended for saturated fats, which are
linked to high cholesterol and heart disease.
A UK Consumers' Association spokesman said: "It is well known that the type of fat that we eat is important as well as the quantity so it is important to know what
is in the spreads we are eating. The level of 21g of trans fat in the Somerfield product was shocking. One of our experts said it should come with a health warning. Along with other products, some spreads are
not as healthy as they seem."
Somerfield, whose low-fat sunflower spread was recommended as one of the healthiest products, rejected the findings, saying the margarine was made for baking and was not a spread.
Uk shoppers have been drifting away from buying butter since the 1970s when the dangers of eating too many saturated fats were first revealed.
Some spreads made from sunflower and olive oils have been preferred, but the research reveals that shoppers are often unaware of the high levels of trans fats contained in many products.
Trans fatty acids can be produced from either mono or polyunsaturated fats during the production of margarine. This happens when hydrogen is added to make them more solid because in their natural state these
fats are found as liquids. Trans fatty acids behave like saturated fatty acids, they raise LDL cholesterol, but they also lower good HDL cholesterol, making them "worse" than unsaturated fats.
A spokeswoman for the Consumers' Association said: "Spreads which customers believe are made mainly from olive oil are nothing of the sort. This is not fair, particularly when they usually come with an olive-based name and a picture of an olive branch."
I hope this is of assistance.