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Weight Management

Best for your Bread: Butter, Margarine or...?

Ever since I can remember I’ve had a strong dislike for both butter and margarine. To this day people still ask me questions like: “How can you eat that freshly baked bread without spreading anything over it? Surely it’s dry and bland?” My answers to these two questions are usually brief: “Easy. No.” Here’s why…


I grew up in the southern suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa. An area of the city known for its diverse cultures and predominant Mediterranean communities like Portuguese, Italian, Lebanese and Greek.

The culinary influences of these communities had a strong impact on my palate from a young age and they affected the choices I made when it came to food…especially freshly baked bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and dipped in aged balsamic vinegar.

In fact, this combination not only became a firm favorite of mine, it’s also one of the healthiest when compared with butter and margarine.

I cringe when I see margarine adverts promoting products claiming to slash cholesterol levels while the margarine itself contains hydrogenated oils! Some margarine products may even contain additives and colorants to make them taste better and look more appealing. Not the sort of stuff I’d like to spread over an appetizing slice of bread.

Butter on the hand contains animal fat which made up of cholesterol and saturated fat. In small infrequent amounts, saturated fat and cholesterol – despite popular belief – can help provide various health benefits such as playing an important role in balancing and regulating enzymes and hormones.

However, my preference still lies with extra virgin olive oil…drizzled over a slice of Mediterranean bread (none of that horrible white bread) and dunked into some balsamic vinegar. But this olive oil / balsamic vinegar combination doesn’t end here.

I also enjoy adding a little bit to the salad I have every day for lunch. Oh yes, with a bit of cracked black pepper…yum! Our Chairman, Warren Matthews even makes his own salad dressing using these three ingredients as well as a few other healthy additions. Here’s Warren’s recipe which can be found on his blog.

Note from Warren: “I always use butter…the natural New Zealand type, mainly because of my upbringing in New Zealand. I agree that this is much healthier than margarine as your body knows how to use natural saturated fats and they can be good for you. Margarine is not only bad because of the trans-fats but also the other added chemicals. It can be noted that some labels for margarines now say contains ‘some trans-fats’ but does not specify how much.”


  • “The rice bran oil has amazing health benefits for which they are known to be the purest oil. They reduce the level of cholestrol in human body and you can resist a number of diseases by using rice bran oil. <a href= "" > rice bran oil plant suppliers, solvent extraction plant suppliers  </a>”

    agrowchem December 22 2013

  • “Hi Warren, I have shared an idea or two with you in the past that you were kind enough to regard openly. Here seems a good place to through in my two cents worth. I have been taking your supplements (TB) for several years after some years with Usana products. My wife uses TB and Arthriteze to good effect. I do thank you for your efforts. I have been a veggi for more than half of my sixty years. I have no health problems at all. Not vegan, but almost. I have no argument with your use of meat, though your recent blog is open to debate. Still, if it works for you, it makes me happy. My suggestion here is that you might share with your readers the researches of Udo Erasmus. Also to suggest to your veggi supporters Udo’s oil as an alternative to your Omega-3 Fish Oil. Whether they are directly comparable is for someone with more knowledge than I to decide. I have taken Udo’s oils regularly for more than fifteen years, I believe to good effect. Again, Warren, thank you for the good work you have and continue to do. You have my complete support. Cheers, Barry ”

    Barry Triplett October 10 2010

  • “Hi Chris, Unfortunately they all have various chemical and transfats in them. It is necessary to do this otherwise the olive oil spreads would not be spreadable. I personally would not use them.”

    Warren Matthews August 02 2010

  • “Nice to hear from you again Barryand many thanks for your continuing support.  Yes, Udos produce good oil and for a strict vegetarian or vegan who does not want to ingest fish oil, it is indeed a good alternative.  One just needs to be aware that the plant sourced Omega 3s do not contain DHA or EPA and the body is hard pressed to convert it from ALA which is the main Omega 3 in the plant based oil.  This is the reason why we suggest the fish oil.  But, I totally agreeif fish oil is not an option then the plant based oil is the next best option and Udos is as good as any.”

    Warren Matthews October 12 2010

  • “Hello, we use your fish oil and total balance products. Recently my wife had a hemaview done and it showed red blood cells with a nice thick cell "skin". The comment was made ‘you must be using fish oil!’ yes it does work, although we both have away to go yet with our health yet. Have just read the blog on spreads and wondered what your thoughts are on rice bran oil and the spread we use.Its composition is; rice bran oil 80%, water, skim milk powder, salt, rice bran plant sterol esters 1.5%(gamma Oryzanol), emulsifiers(monoglycerides of fatty acides), soy lecithin,Colour beta carotene and lactic acid as a acidity regulator. A10g serving contains 0.002g of trans fat. So what thinkest thou?!! Kind Regards Ces.”

    Ces August 03 2010

  • “Hi Ces, Rice bran oil itself is fine. It is a helpful ingredient. It comes from the outer hull of the rice Oryza sativa and contains fibre, essential lipids, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals. It also contains inositol and IP-6. We include rice bran oil in our cholesterol supplement, Cholest-Natural, as it has antihypercholesterolemic properties, containing beta-sitosterol and other phytosterols. Lecithin, and beta carotene are also good. However, the problem with so-called ‘spreads’ such as these is that the pure ingredients, such as these mentioned, are often over-heated or over-processed, and then of course you have the trans fats, emulsifiers, salt and other more synthetic ingredients that make up the whole product. So, although the product you describe is by no means the worst, ideally and where possible, try to stick to pure natural spreads only rather than a processed product. Items such as the Olive oil described in the article, grapeseed oil, or indeed rice bran oil, are just examples. This is the only way to be sure that what you are getting is pure and beneficial with no drawbacks.”

    Xtend-Life Expert August 06 2010

  • “Hi Dean, If you don’t mind, may I know how old are you? How long have you been taking products of your company? I’m sorry for asking that. I’m just curious. Thank you.”

    elmer August 02 2010

  • “Thanks for your comments Averille. Glad you liked Warrens recipe, the blog entry, and the fact that youre enjoy using olive oil in your cooking and diet.”

    Xtend-Life Expert August 02 2010

  • “In my opinion, butter is better than marg ….although it contains saturated fats, they are termed as short-chain saturates which are easily digested….and it provides some useful nutrients. However, the oil (I use grapeseed) and balsamic is "the best" and much yummier to boot. ”

    Sheila September 17 2010

  • “Hi Elmer, Im 29 and Ive been taking Xtend-Life supplements for nearly two years now. Ive been using the Xtend-Life Mens Skincare range for the same period of time.”

    Xtend-Life Expert August 02 2010

  • “Are Olive Oil based spreads any better or worse than margarine or butter?”

    Chris Watkins July 30 2010

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