low fat butter
Also known as
As the name goes, low fat butter is a product/ are products which are designed to lessen the amount of fat in foods so that you lower your total dietary fat intake. They are also called butter substitutes which are designed to be low in cholesterol, trans fats, saturated fats and sodium. The different forms in which low fat butter is available are as follows:
· Margarine: Made from vegetable oil, it is vegetable fat that is processed into a spread. Soyabean oil, corn oil etc can be used as the base for making margarine. The oil undergoes hydrogenation which makes the end margarine more spreadable. Margarine was once touted to be a healthy alternative to butter. However, hydrogenation coverts some unsaturated fats in the oils to saturated fats. Thus, one has to be careful before purchasing margarine and look for margarine products that are less in saturated fats.
· Vegetable Oil based butter: Oil extracted from nuts or seeds of vegetable plants like sunflower seeds, rape seeds, peanuts etc is processed into a spreadable butter substitute. They have a mild flavour and can be heated to high temperatures.
· Flaxseed butter: They are often ground into a smooth consistency and used as a butter substitute/ spread.
How to select
Whether formed into sticks or processed into spreads, low fat butter is available in almost all grocery stores. Ensure that the butter is stored in refrigerated conditions and check the manufacturing and expiry date on packaging. Nowadays, you get low fat butters which are low in saturated fats. Thus look out for margarine products/ low fat butter which is less in saturated fats. There are also some spreads which are trans fat free. Check for such highlights on the packaging.
· Use Low fat butter in recipes that call for butter. Use as spreads on toasts, sandwiches, bagels, English muffins etc.
· Suitable for use as a cooking medium since it can be heated to high temperatures.
· For sautéing, shallow frying use low fat butter as a nutritious alternative.
· Use low fat butter, specifically margarine, in bakery recipes. In cooking, margarine is often employed as an ingredient in the making of pie crusts, cakes, casseroles, and many other desserts.
· Melted low fat butter also works well as an additive to baked potatoes and a topping on cooked green vegetables.
· At snack time, melted low fat butter is an excellent topper for freshly popped popcorn.
How to store
Since it is a perishable product, always store under refrigerated conditions. Keep away from excess light and moisture.
· Low fat butter, specifically margarine, is low in saturated fat and has no dietary cholesterol. However, it is high in trans fatty acids which lower the levels of good cholesterol. Thus, ensure that you purchase low fat butter which is trans fat free.
· Another form of low fat butter made from flaxseeds is rich in antioxidant lignan. It is associated with the prevention of some forms of cancer, colitis etc.
· Some of these low fat butter spreads also contain plant sterols and stanols, which actively block the absorption of cholesterol, making these spreads much healthier alternatives to regular butter.