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Olive Oil versus Butter – Easy and Healthy Switch Olive oil and butter are both in the fats group, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises to consume "sparingly." One tablespoon of olive oil contains approximately 120 calories, while 1 tbsp. of butter contains about 100 calories. You may choose to consume these fats based on personal taste since the two do not differ much in calorie count. However, there are differences in the nutritional qualities between Olive oil and butter. “The main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs are actually considered a healthy dietary fat. If your diet emphasizes unsaturated fats, such as MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), instead of saturated fats and trans fats, you may gain certain health benefits. MUFAs and PUFAs may help lower your risk of heart disease by improving related risk factors. For instance, MUFAs may lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. MUFAs may also help normalize blood clotting. And some research shows that MUFAs may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes. But even healthier fats like olive oil are high in calories, so use them only in moderation. Choose MUFArich foods such as olive oil instead of other fatty foods — particularly butter and stick margarine — not in addition to them. And remember that you can't make unhealthy foods healthier simply by adding olive oil to them.

Also, be aware that heat, light and air can affect the taste of olive oil and possibly its health-promoting nutrients. Store olive oil in a dark, room-temperature cupboard, or even in the refrigerator. The fats and healthy phytonutrients in olive oil — as well as the taste — can slowly degrade over time, so it's probably best to use it within a year or within six months once opened” says Mayo Clinic preventive medicine specialist, Donald Hensrud, M.D.

Sourcing from, “Don't get me wrong: I love a good buttery scone or crumb-topped muffin as much as the next coffee shop addict. But as we settle back into a fall baking routine, sometimes it's nice to have the option of, well...something a bit healthier. In the most recent issue of Fine Cooking, Ellie Krieger makes the case for baking with olive oil. Many quick breads already contain liquid fat in the form of canola oil. Krieger says that subbing more fully-flavored olive oil is a simple matter of picking up a different bottle. For butter, we want to use slightly less when substituting olive oil: three tablespoons for every 1/4 cup of melted butter. Olive oil is one of those "good" fats. As Krieger explains, it's a monosaturated fat with lots of antioxidants and vitamin E. It's been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and can be a very healthy part of a regular diet. And hey, it tastes delicious! Bonus! The fruity, spicy, and buttery notes of a mild olive oil is best in baked goods that already have a savory element, like breakfast muffins and many quick breads. Krieger particularly recommends it in her recipe for Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread.� FUNCTION Fats, or lipids, such as butter and olive oil, are essential macronutrients. Fats store energy, protect and insulate vital organs, serve as a precursor to certain hormones, maintain the integrity of cell membranes, and absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. DISTINCTIONS Although olive oil and butter do not vary significantly in calorie count, research from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences shows that a Mediterranean diet, where almost all sources of added fat come from olive oil, has important preventive health benefits, such as reducing the risks for heart disease. Another important distinction is that olive oil, which is a plant-based food, has no cholesterol while butter does. SIGNIFICANCE Since our bodies cannot produce fats like omega-3 and omega-6, it is essential to obtain these from dietary sources. The USDA recommends consuming fewer than 30 percent of your daily calories from fats. While some fats are found naturally in foods such as meat, avocados and dairy, olive oil and butter are considered sources of added fat. CONSIDERATIONS When planning a balanced diet, consider properties outside of calorie count alone. Fats have an added benefit of giving foods flavor and providing satiety to meals. If consumed within total calorie limits to maintain a healthy weight, diets have room for both olive oil and butter. IDENTIFICATION

When comparing nutrition labels between olive oil and butter, it is important to consider facts outside of calorie count. Nutrition labels identify total fat content and specific numbers on saturated and trans fats, which have been linked to increased risks for heart disease. Some butter may come in reduced-fat versions. The USDA sets strict guidelines for nutritional claims, so check to see that the fat content of butter marked "light" is 50 percent or less than a comparison brand. REFERENCES 

"Mediterranean Diet"; Rebecca J. Frey; 2008

International Journal of Molecular Sciences

USDA: How Much Fat to Consume

"Nutrition: Real People, Real Choices"; Susan Hewlings and Denis Medeiros; 2008

Olive Oil versus Butter – Easy and Healthy Switch  

Olive oil and butter are both in the fats group, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises to consume "sparingly." One tablespoon of...