Butter – what to look for when buying it?

Butter is a product made from cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk.

Real butter contains milk fat and the possible addition of salt and natural dyes, such as carotene or annatto. Butter must not contain added vegetable fats. Due to the taste, the butter is used in many areas of gastronomy. It is most often chosen as an addition to fresh bread, it is a component of soups and sauces, meat dishes and fish. 

It is not surprising that butter is an item in every home. The popularity of butter has meant that producers offer a wide range of products designed for min. for spreading bread. On the market, however, you can find products that are designed to look and taste like butter, but in addition to milk fat also contain vegetable fats and artificial food additives. So how do you recognize real butter and what to look for when choosing fat for spreading bread? 

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What spreads can we find on the market? Types of butter 

Manufacturers offer a wide range of bread spreads and for use in the kitchen. The following types of butter can be found in stores. 

– extra butter – made of pasteurized and acidified cream, it should contain at least 82% fat, and water – at most 16%, also contains no more than 0.6% lactose 

– butter cream – made of non-sour cream, should contain at least 73% fat and a maximum of 19% water, contains 2-3% lactose 

– table butter – contains 73% fat, water content should not exceed 24% 

– deli butter 

– selection of butter 

Extra and excellent butter, can be produced as salted. Salted butter contains 0.3-2% salt. You can also find other products in stores. However, they must contain specific markings 

– butter with ¾ fat content – contains 60-62% fat (milk) 

– Semi-fat butter – contains 39-41% fat 

– milk fat for spreading …% – contains less than 39% fat 

Other products for spreading 

– fat mix – a mixture of milk fat (the content of which is from 10% to 80%) and vegetable fats. Fatty mixes may also contain dyes, preservatives and emulsifiers. 

– margarine – a fat-water emulsion produced by hydrogenating liquid vegetable oils (e.g. rapeseed, soybean, palm oil). The fat content in margarines is 40-80%. Depending on the composition, it has a soft consistency (available commercially in plastic containers) or hard (sold in cubes) 

What to look for by choosing butter? 

Name 

The name of the product is the first thing that should be taken into consideration when making a choice in the store. By the decision of the EU Constitutional Tribunal of 2017, the name “butter can only be used for products made of milk of animal origin. So the names “peanut butter,” vegetable butter are not allowed. The same decision applies to products such as milk and cheese. It is forbidden to use names such as “vegetable milk,” coconut milk or “soy cheese. If we want to buy real butter without the addition of vegetable fats, we should choose “extra butter. Products containing “extra butter” and “extra butter” in the name “extra creamy” may contain addition of vegetable fats. 

The same applies to bread spreads. They are a mixture of vegetable fats and milk fat with different contents. Often, however, their name can be misleading and confusingly similar to the naming of butter, eg “fat mix with the addition of butter,” a creamy fat mix, “fat mix with a butter taste,” a fat mix with the addition of butter. 

Composition of the product 

If you decide to buy a fat mix, you should pay attention to the composition of the product, especially the type of fat used for its production. Cheap fat blends and margarines are often produced from the cheapest vegetable fats, including hardened vegetable fats. Hardened vegetable fats contain unsaturated fatty acids with trans configuration, which are particularly detrimental to health. They can worsen the lipid profile of the blood, increase the concentration of “bad LDL cholesterol, while lowering the fraction of” good HDL cholesterol. They can also increase the risk of many cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Therefore, we should avoid products in which we will find 

– Palm oil, 

– hardened and partially hardened palm oil, 

– hardened and partially hardened vegetable fat. 

Fatty mixes and margarines can also contain artificial colors, emulsifiers and preservatives such as sorbic acid (E200) or potassium sorbate (E202), which can cause allergies and exacerbate symptoms of asthma. 

So what to choose? 

If we decide to buy butter, choose only real butter without adding vegetable fats. 

If we want to choose a cheaper fat for spreading, we can choose a fat spread for spreads. However, it is necessary to pay attention to the type of fat used for its production and to avoid the content of hardened vegetable fats, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. It is worth noting that people who are struggling with too high cholesterol levels in blood should limit the consumption of butter. 

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You can read also: That ugly fat!

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