Clover spread has a delicious buttery taste and half the saturated fat of butter but does that mean it should replace your beloved butter? Is it even good for you? In this article I dived deep to investigate the popular Clover spread to see whether there is anything good about it and discover its downsides.
What is Clover actually?
Clover looks like butter but technically it is not butter, although many people call it “butter”. Butter is made of cream and it’s 100% dairy product while Clover has a mix of water and dairy and non-dairy ingredients. It contains vegetable oils (palm and rapeseed) mixed with buttermilk which represents 20% of all the ingredients. It also contains natural flavouring and carotenes for colour.
If Clover is not butter, could it be classified as margarine then?
In the UK, margarine is defined by specific fat content criteria. Margarine must have a fat content of 80% or more. This distinguishes it from other spreads, which are similar to margarines but contain less fat.
Clover spread, with its fat content of around 64%, does not meet the threshold to be classified as margarine. It’s more accurately described as a “fat spread with buttermilk.” This makes it unsuitable for vegans, of course.
Does Clover contain trans fat?
Clover, in its modern production, contains very little to no trans fat. This positive change is a result of significant advancements in the manufacturing processes employed in the production of Clover compared to earlier years.
Manufacturers have taken active steps to reduce or eliminate trans fats, primarily through the selection of healthier oils and improved processing techniques.
While natural trans fats can occur in small amounts in certain oils like palm oil, used in Clover, these are minimal due to the careful selection of ingredients and manufacturing practices.
As a result, modern versions of Clover spread, both original and light, are generally considered to have negligible or no trans fats.
What about lactose and gluten?
Clover spread does contain lactose, as it includes buttermilk in its ingredients. Buttermilk, derived from milk, naturally contains lactose.
However, Clover spread does not contain gluten. It is made primarily from vegetable oils and buttermilk, neither of which contain gluten.
Gluten is typically found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Since Clover spread does not list any such grains or their derivatives in its ingredients, it can be considered gluten-free. This makes it suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
So, now that we’ve looked at what’s in Clover and what’s not, let’s take a look at its nutritional values in detail.
Here is an overview of Clover’s nutritional values:
A 10g serving of Clover contains 59 calories, which is roughly equivalent to 2.5 to 3 teaspoons of the spread. If we break this down further, each teaspoon of Clover, weighing about 3.5g, provides approximately 20.5 calories.
However, it’s important to note that the actual calorie count can vary depending on how generously the spread is used per teaspoon. For a larger serving, like a tablespoon which is around 14g, Clover has about 82 calories.
Clover Original boasts 64.5g of total fat per 100g. Within this, it includes 23.7g of saturated fat, often labelled as “bad” fat due to its potential health impacts. However, it also contains healthier fats: 27.4g of mono-unsaturated and 10.7g of polyunsaturated fats, both considered beneficial for health.
When compared to traditional butter, which has over 50g of saturated fat per 100g, Clover’s saturated fat content is significantly lower, making it a more heart-friendly option.
Reducing saturated fat intake is crucial as excessive consumption can elevate cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart problems. This composition makes Clover a potentially better choice for those monitoring their fat intake, particularly saturated fats.
Other nutritional values
Clover spread has a minimal protein content, with only 0.7g per 100g, which is typical for such spreads.
It also contains a low carbohydrate level of 1g per 100g, all of which are sugars. This minor sugar content is derived naturally from the buttermilk used in Clover, and it’s important to note that there is no added sugar in the product.
As for salt, Clover has 1.5g per 100g, mirroring the salt content found in regular salted butter.
So, is Clover good for you then?
Clover offers notable benefits, such as being lower in calories and saturated fats compared to traditional butter, while also providing heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It’s free from artificial ingredients and contains minimal trans fats. These qualities align with dietary recommendations to reduce saturated fat intake, potentially decreasing heart disease risk.
However, Clover should not be the sole source of healthy fats in one’s diet. Natural sources like fish, nuts, and olive oil offer these fats in a less processed form. Additionally, despite its benefits, Clover is still a high-calorie spread predominantly composed of fats. Overconsumption can lead to unintended weight gain, counteracting its health advantages.
In conclusion, Clover can be a healthier alternative to butter when used in moderation. It fits well in a balanced diet focused on reducing saturated fat intake. But, like any calorie-dense food, excessive consumption can lead to health issues. Hence, moderation and dietary balance are key.
Is Clover spread ok for diabetics?
Clover spread can be suitable for diabetics in moderation, as part of a balanced diet. It is low in carbohydrates, with only 1g of carbs per 100g in the regular version and 2g per 100g in the light version, which means it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels.
However, it’s high in fats, so portion control is important. Diabetics should focus on a diet that is balanced in carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, and should always consult with their healthcare provider or a dietitian for personalized dietary advice.
Is Clover low FODMAP?
No, Clover spread is not considered low FODMAP due to the presence of buttermilk in its ingredients.
Is Clover good for cholesterol?
Clover spread, with lower saturated fat compared to butter, can be a better option for cholesterol when used in moderation. However, it’s still important to carefully manage its intake, especially for individuals concerned about cholesterol levels.