This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but Americans are consuming more butter than we have in the past 40 years. Recent pieces of data show that we are eating more butter, about 5.6 pounds per capita in 2012, which is about a 25% increase from 10 years ago. While butter consumption is rising, the sales of margarine and similar buttery spread substitutes are on the decline. The likely explanation for this trend actually has something to do with the popular dieting trend of eating only whole foods and trying to limit or even eliminate processed foods. Margarine is loaded with trans-fat, and that is a perfect reason for Americans to no longer view margarine as a healthy alternative to butter. While the alternative products are highly processed and laden with trans-fats and other ingredients that are needed to at least try replicate butter, the ingredient list in real butter is rather simple; cream and possibly salt.
Even though Americans are growing increasingly health conscious, they are realizing butter is not as evil as it was once perceived to be. Obviously this product should still be consumed in moderation, but sometimes you really just can’t beat the flavor and texture that butter provides to a dish. Moral of the story is, if you aren’t dairy free, and a recipe calls for butter, you should probably just go ahead and use it. But don’t eat butter heavy recipes every day.
While butter consumption is up, that doesn’t mean we get most of our fat from butter. Butter consumption clocked in at 4.9 pounds in 2010, but the consumption of salad and cooking oils was 53.6 pounds that year. As far as fat goes, oil is the most popular, and that is a good thing. While not all oils are good, for example, vegetable oil is just as highly processed as margarine, many oils provide more health benefits and less bad (saturated) fats than butter does.
P.S. Just for fun:
Do you eat a lot of butter?
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