I Can’t Believe I Stopped Eating Butter!

Aaaannd…we’re back. I have an experiment for you to try at home. I tried it and was quite surprised at the result.

We have been consumers of a particular “buttery spread” that gives the impression of being real food because it is “made with yogurt”. It’s also made with partially hydrogenated soybean oil, mono and diglycerides, and artificial flavors. But it’s tasty, and made it through initial scrutiny because I thought it would help me lose weight…yeah.

We also have salted and unsalted butter in the fridge.  Why do I have both real and fake butter in the house? You can’t bake with fake butter, the recipes don’t come out right, and we like real butter on our real popcorn, popped in a pan on our stovetop. I also like to finish sauces with butter, and cook eggs in a bit of butter.

Measure out a tablespoon of whatever “buttery spread” you’ve got in the house, and then measure out a tablespoon of butter. You’ll notice (I hope!) that that’s a lot of butter/spread, more than you will use on a piece of toast, for example. Yet that is the “serving size” commonly referred to on labels and on weight loss plans.

So, back to the experiment. Put two pieces of that real bread you now have in the house (right?) in the toaster, and toast it up just how you like it. Spread as much spread as you normally would on one piece of toast, and as much butter as it takes to cover the other piece of toast the same way (it will help if your butter is soft and spreadable, like the spread). Unless you are toasting humongous slices of bread, you probably used about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half.

The eye-opener: I used a teaspoon of each on my toast slices. At that serving size, the “point” value difference per serving on my weight loss plan was only .5-yep, that’s 1/2 a point. The difference in taste, well, as you might expect, I preferred the buttered toast. It was more satisfying in my mouth, and I felt I enjoyed it more, which is a significant weight loss factor, mouth-feel satisfaction. The taste of the spread is pleasing, but is also industrially engineered to be exactly that. So you might actually be tempted to eat more of the spread, than the butter.

For the explanation of this claim, I direct you to a post on La Vida Locavore, a very good food blog. Jill Richardson discusses the book  “The End Of Overeating” , and the fact that we are wired to enjoy certain flavors, and how the food industry has profited by producing foods that are hypertasty. I haven’t read the book, but it sounds like a good one to pick up. Jill also relates some of her own experiences with food that rang true for me, too.

So, enjoy your toast, and when your buttery spread is used up, get some butter instead. In moderation, it’s a perfectly wonderful real food.

Disclaimer: As if it isn’t patently obvious, I am not a doctor. Please do not confuse my passionate opinion for medical advice. Please. Because it’s not.

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