2012 Food Trend – Out With Margarine, In with Real Butter!

By Donna Quirk, MBA RD LD
LMC Clinical Nutrition Manager

Recently, I paused when I read a headline stating that real butter was trending in and margarine was trending out.  The Hartman Group, a research and consulting firm that studies consumer and shoppers behaviors, has included this in their recently published “Looking Forward in Food Culture 2012” report.  The report is available to download at http://hartman-group.com.

So, what is behind this trend?

First, according to the Hartman Group, consumers tend to be rejecting a “one-size-fits-all, generalized, better-for-you diet” as futile and prioritizing a higher quality of life.  Butter is viewed as a higher quality, less processed food that fits this definition.

Also supporting this trend is a change in the consumers’ beliefs about fats in the diet.  For years, health professionals have recommended a low fat diet (including limiting healthy fats) for weight control and to improve overall health.  The results of research, however, have not supported this recommendation.

Are you confused?  Wondering what you should do?

According to the Harvard School of Public Health the amount of fat you eat is not as important as the type of fat you eat.  Choose healthy fats, limit saturated fat, and avoid trans fat.

Now hear this!  Butter is a saturated fat and some margarine contains trans fat.

The Harvard School of Public Health publishes 5 tips for picking healthy fats.  The tips are:

1.  Choose liquid plant oils for cooking and baking.
2.  Ditch the trans fat.  Read the Nutrition Facts label and look for 0 grams of trans fat.
3.  Switch from butter to soft tub margarine with 0 grams of trans fat.
4. Eat at least one good source of omega-3 fats each day. Fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna), walnuts, and canola oil are good sources.
5.  Cut back on red meat, cheese, milk, and ice cream.

So, even if real butter is a 2012 Food Trend – eat butter in small amounts!

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