Recently we’ve seen an increase in the consumption of plant-based nutrition, largely due to the health benefits and the positive impact on society and the environment. One of the most popular plan substitutes includes butter.
Vegan, or plant-based, butter is a dairy-free version of the spread we know and love. It’s often made by mixing plant-based oils with water. Avocado, olive, palm kernel oil and coconut are all the most commonly used oils, sometimes even in combination.
Salt, colouring, emulsifiers and additional flavouring are added to the mix to achieve a similar taste and texture to that of real butter.
So, how does it compare with real butter?
Nutrition And Health
It’s made from plant-derived oils, making it high in calories and fat. The exact nutritional content will differ from brand to brand as the ingredients change. The monounsaturated fats present in plant-based oils have been found to be beneficial for your heart, weight and blood sugar, decreasing your risk of developing obesity and heart disease.
The omega-6 fatty acids present in most plant-based kinds of butter are a form of polyunsaturated fats that your body cannot produce and needs to be present in your diet.
Generally speaking, plant-based diets in general have been found to reduce chronic inflammation and heart disease.
By reducing the intake of animal-based products, we reduce our impact on the environment by reducing greenhouse emissions and decrease water and land usage. Studies have found that switching to a plant-based diet could reduce greenhouse emissions by almost 30%.
It is worthwhile to note that plant-based diets also have the potential to damage the environment through loss of wildlife diversity and deforestation.
How Does It Compare To The Original?
Plant-based kinds of butter are a convenient substitute and often taste the same, or very similar, to dairy butter. They’re also a great option for lactose-intolerant individuals as well as people allergic to eggs and seafood.
It’s not quite the same when it comes to baking as its water content affects the texture and taste of the final baked good. If you are looking to bake, try to find something that has been designed to mimic that of butter to produce the best possible baked goods.
Plant-based kinds of butter are also a lot more processed in an attempt to replicate the original and as a result, can have a lower nutritional value and may impact your health when consumed in excess. When choosing a butter alternative, look for something that has been minimally refined and free of additives and preservatives. It’s also important to check the ingredients, as it may contain nuts, soy or gluten.
Due to the nature of plant-based butter production, it can be a lot more expensive, almost double the price. It can also be difficult to source given your location.
It is a healthier option in terms of fat content. However, they can be high in calories and depending on the ingredients can result in some health benefits as well as some consequences. When it boils down to it, it’s pretty much a much of a muchness and switching kinds of butter won’t have a significant impact on your overall health.
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