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August 19, 2013

Smart Balance Butter Blend Helps Block Cholesterol?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:34 am

Many consumers switched from butter to margarine decades ago to help reduce their intake of cholesterol. Now Smart Balance has come out with a combination product that blends butter with canola oil, impliedly claiming that it is a healthier version of butter. Some would say that is kind of like sprinkling vitamins on Twinkies and calling it a health food. But wait, there’s more.

The product label says it “helps block cholesterol.”

Smart Balance

Huh? Eat butter to block cholesterol?

The label says it contains 100mg of plant sterols, which according to the company’s website helps block absorption of the cholesterol that is contained in the butter.


According to Shop Smart magazine, Consumer Reports’ sister publication, you would have to eat 13 tablespoons of this butter everyday to help lower your risk of heart disease. That is 1300 calories and almost the whole container.

The makers of Smart Balance failed to answer questions about their product when asked.

To be fair, the company is claiming in essence to only reduce some of the cholesterol in each serving of their butter blend and not to lower your cholesterol. In any event, eating products with no cholesterol to start with is still a healthier idea.

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  1. I have been making Better Butterfrom Larel’s Kitchen cookbook for years.

    2 sticks of butter, softened
    1 cup oil (I use organic Canola or light olive oil because they are healthy choices)
    1/8 teaspoon Lecithin

    Put it all in the blender and whip it until it is well mixed. Keep in the fridge.
    The good news is that unlike the commercial brands that you can’t cook with, this stuff melts perfectly. So, tastes good, and half the cholesterol of regular butter – but all the fat, so still use it judiciously.

    Comment by Mamagrowler — August 19, 2013 @ 8:05 am
  2. “Contains 100mg plant sterols to help block absorption of cholesterol in the butter.”

    The wording on this is unclear. The product claims that there are 30 mg of cholesterol in a normal serving of butter and 15 mg of cholesterol in the product.

    Does this mean that the product blocks 15 mg of cholesterol and only provides 15 mg to the person eating it or does this mean that the 15 mg of cholesterol in the product is blocked by the plant sterols? Tricky wording.

    I assume it’s the latter because most canola oil has no cholesterol and when mixed with butter it can act as filler material, lowering the amount of cholesterol per serving.

    Comment by Wayne R — August 19, 2013 @ 8:13 am
  3. My bee-ess radar goes off whenever qualifiers, such as “helps” is in an advertising claim. By that logic, Dorothy could have claimed that window curtains “helped” to block the tornadic wind. In both instances, the question is: by how much?

    Comment by Marty — August 19, 2013 @ 10:53 am
  4. I buy Smart Balance Original for the taste. It doesn’t have any cholesterol, spreads easier, has a longer shelf life, and substitutes well for butter in recipes in my opinion. The latest thinking is that your cholesterol number isn’t so important as whether your body makes a certain form of LDL.

    Comment by Bob R — August 19, 2013 @ 12:29 pm
  5. While it was once thought that all dietary cholesterol would lead to heart disease because of the effects of LDL and VLDL on the arteries and heart. However, we now know that cholesterol is needed for the healthy functioning of the body and is made in the liver and other organs (even if a person eats a diet completely devoid of cholesterol containing foods). In fact, the amount of dietary cholesterol in a person’s diet has actually been found to be of less importance to blood cholesterol levels than the amount of trans fats consumed.

    Comment by Angel H — August 19, 2013 @ 12:53 pm
  6. What I’m wondering is: oleos are about 1 molecule away from plastic, so how do soft butters and part butters rate in this. Also.. as far as the cholesterol goes, whenever something says “helps” or “aids in” reducing cholesterol, the best way to do it is to not eat it in the first place…but aside from that how much you have to eat per serving to reap the benefits! We all know how easy it is to be fooled by serving size in these products today, I mean, who cooks a half a can of soup!So I’m eating a double serving size with a full can and have to double all of the things on the label!!

    Comment by Lynn — August 19, 2013 @ 1:45 pm
  7. I am always skeptical of any claims, especially for food products. I am concerned that the Mouse Print comments indicate that foods with cholesterol should be avoided. That is totally wrong. Avoiding dietary cholesterol just requires your body to manufacture it, as it is the transport mechanism for moving food throughout you body. The ratio of HDL to LDL is however import, as is the level of LDL. trans fats have a detrimental impact of raising LDL and is more important that the amount of cholesterol you eat. Angel H has it correct.

    Comment by Larry R — August 27, 2013 @ 10:44 am

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