Meet Wes F., LA Fitness Group Fitness instructor and motivator to all who cross his path. Wes shares his advice and weight loss journey with the Living Healthy community.
I use “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”. Is this product safe as it relates to heart health? Is this a bad fat or fat substitute?
– Hazel M.
Before I get into nutritional analysis, let me say that in regards to any substitutes (for fat, sugar, or salt) I always mention that their risks and benefits depend on how much and how often you consume them. If you use less than a teaspoon only once per week, the difference between the substitute and the real thing is probably negligible. However, heavier daily use may mean a significant change in overall fat, sugar or sodium intake. So you can decide how important the following is for you.
The butter substitute you speak of has 50% less fat than real butter with the following breakdown for a tablespoon; 6 gm total fat, 2 gm Saturated, 0 Trans, 3 gm Polyunsaturated, 1.5 Monounsaturated. Compare that to a tablespoon of butter: 12 gm total fat, 7 gm Saturated, 0.5 gm Trans, 0.4 gm Polyunsaturated, 3 gm Monounsaturated. The substitute has less of the harmful saturated and trans fat with more of the heart-healthy unsaturated fats. In addition it has alpha-linolenic acid, a precursor to omega-3 fat which provides a couple of heart benefits, namely a lower risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in cholesterol.
Yes, used as a spread, the product is safe for your arteries. If you are cooking with it in a pan, I’d suggest using straight oil instead, as margarine and the like are not intended for high heat.
– Debbie J., MS, RD
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.
Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.