The body is a temple and should be treated as such. You need to watch what you eat and be aware of how it is cooked. There are many different health debates but today we are focusing on one of the biggest debates, is cooking with butter healthier than cooking with vegetable oil?
In order to answer this pressing question, we need to know what the differences between butter and vegetable oil are. Only once we understand the two, will we be able to determine which of the two is the healthier alternative. Is cooking with butter healthier? Is butter a good oil substitute? Well, let’s find out.
What is Butter?
Butter is a natural dairy product. It’s made by churning fresh or fermented cream or milk. Butter is made from milk derived from cows, sheep, goats, buffalo and yaks. It consists of milk, water, butterfat and proteins. People have been cooking with butter for many years, using different types according to their dishes.
Types of Butter
There are many different types of butter, the main ones being the following: unsalted butter (or sweet cream butter), salted butter and whipped butter. Unsalted butter is real butter and is a go-to butter for good reason. It contains 80% milk fat and is a versatile butter for baking to sautéing. Salted butter is also real butter, used mostly as a personal preference. Whipped butter is light and fluffy. It is normally used for spreading or finishing touches and is not suitable for baking or cooking.
Butter and Your Health
There are many arguments surrounding butter and its effect on your body health-wise so let’s dive in and look at their findings. Butter isn’t necessarily good for you but then again, it is not as bad as some of the alternatives. Organic, grass-fed butter is better than margarine, which is processed and loaded with trans-fat which we already know is incredibly unhealthy. Some saturated fats, however, are beneficial to your health, for example, coconut oil and cocoa butter. This is also, however, a dietary thing; certain things have different effects on others. It’s recommended to find a balance eating saturated fats with lots of lean protein, whole grains and other essentially good fats. Obviously, fruit and vegetables are important. It is also about balance and moderation.
Butter, despite its bad reputation, still belongs in our food. Butter features Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, lecithin, selenium, iodine and fatty acids. Some people eat a lot of butter and never get clogged arteries, some do. It once again boils down to your personal diet and health. Butter offers benefits that many are not aware of.
What is Vegetable Oil?
Vegetable oils are oils that have been extracted from a variety of seeds, mainly rapeseed (canola oil), soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, peanut, etc. Vegetable oil is something relatively new to our diets when compared to butter.
Vegetable Oil and Your Health
Vegetable oil may sound good but don’t be fooled by the “natural” ingredients. The problem with these oils it that they are high in Omega-6 fats. Although the body needs omega-6s and omega-3s fatty acids, many people consume too many in their diets.
Vegetable oil is not organic. They are often just cheap filler oils used in processed foods that we get suckered into buying in large quantities. Some oils, promoted as all natural, such as certain cold-pressed canola which is a version of rapeseed oil, can be toxic. They are produced by modifying plant breeding to make it consumable.
It just begs the question that with so many natural oils out there why would you need to waste your time with vegetable oil.
So, what’s the real difference between butter and vegetable oil?
Well, the first major difference between butter and oil is that butter is a solid and vegetable oil is in a liquid state. Butter becomes liquid when you heat it and melt butter for cooking or baking.
Butter is 20% water, which evaporates during cooking (even after completed and out the oven). When you melt butter, it disperses its self in the recipe and solidifies again after it’s been in the oven.
Vegetable oil, however, is pure fat containing no water and remains liquid at room temperature. The moisture from the oil won’t evaporate during cooking, the liquid fat remains no matter what. It’s good to know everything about vegetable oil before you plan to substitute butter for vegetable oil.
The bottom line is, the jury is still out. There are numerous conflicting reports and studies. Do not believe everything the marketers tell you and do a bit of further research if you are concerned. Generally, butter is a better alternative to vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is too high in omega fatty acids and contains other ingredients that are not all healthy.
In saying that, if you cook with butter, it is best to do so in moderation and with a healthy balance. There are many healthier oil substitutes to consider; extra virgin olive oil, ghee and coconut oil which are all organic. Choosing the right saturated fat to cook with is important. You want to know what you are putting in your body and how it is affecting your health.