The fat in butter comes from milk and is therefore highly saturated. Butter contains about 260
milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams.
Margarine can be made from animal or vegetable fats and oils or mixtures of these, and contains added flavour and natural colour. The amount of cholesterol in margarine depends on the amount of animal fat or skim milk used. Most margarines contain only vegetable fats and oils and usually have less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams. The amount of saturated and polyunsaturated fat in margarine depends on the source of the fat. Margarines are usually made from blends of fats and oils which may change from time to time,
depending on cost and availability. To be labelled polyunsaturated, margarines must be made from oils of vegetable origin and contain at least twice as much polyunsaturated fatty acid as saturated fatty acid. To give desirable consistency to the margarine, the oil may be hardened by a process known as hydrogenation. This process increases the proportion of saturated fat and also the so-called trans fatty acids in the margarine. Trans fatty acids have a different shape to the more common fatty acids (called cis fatty acids) found in food. Trans fatty acids also occur naturally in animal fats. The different shape of trans fatty acids gives them different
biological properties and concern has been expressed about their potential effects on health and
cholesterol levels. However, their role is still a matter of debate.
Dairy Blend is a new alternative to butter and margarine. It is made from milk fat and vegetable
oils. The amount of oil in the blend must be on the label.
The amount of cholesterol in it varies according to the amount of milk fat used, but it is less than
the amount in butter and more than that in margarine.