The Great Debate: Butter Vs. Margarine

By Escali in Healthy Living, Homemade

The great debate between margarine versus butter has been a slippery subject for years. Some claim that margarine is better than butter but others claim that you can’t get better than the original, aka butter. So what is truly better and the most important question, what is healthier for you?

Butter is a dairy product and one of the most concentrated forms of fluid milk. According to the article, “What is Butter”, here commercial butter is 80-82% milk fat. 16-17% water and 1-2% milk solids other than fat (curd). There are different types of butter such as unsalted, aka sweet, reduced-fat, salted and many more. Butter contains phosphorus, protein, calcium and fat-soluble vitamins D, A and E. The five primary factors that make up butter’s composition include: diacetyl, methyl ketones, dimethyl sulfide, lactones and fatty acids. The amount of fatty acid that is in butter varies based off of the producing animal’s diet.

So now that we have a better understanding of what butter is what is margarine then? First made in the 1800’s in France due to the scarcity of butter and the raising price for it, margarine was created as a substitute. Made from vegetable oils, margarine has no cholesterol and high amounts of polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats which are considered “good fats.”  here Some brands of margarine contain trans fat which is the common name for unsaturated fat “bad fat.” Trans fat lower HDL “good” cholesterol and can cause other big problems if ingested too much. here A rule of thumb to remember is that the more solid a stick of butter or margarine is, the more trans fat it contains. So stick to tubs when you decide between butter or margarine.

The American Heart Association suggests buying soft, trans-fat-free spread instead of regular butter or stick margarine. Make sure to check the ingredient list for the least amount of saturated fat and make sure that it says zero trans fats. It’s better to choose whipped butter and margarine instead of the stick option because the added air breaks ups the elements a little bit more leaving less room for concentration.

It’s important to remember however that even though you are using a healthier alternative to not overdo and overcompensate by using twice as much because that is not healthy either. The most recommended for butter or margarine use is using substitute sprays such as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Parkay. Even better yet would be to skip the butter and margarine and use monosaturated fat instead such as olive and vegetable oil.

So next time you find yourself in the butter/margarine aisle make sure to look closely at the labels so you know exactly what you’ll be digesting, buy what tastes good but is still healthy for you, go for the tubs versus the sticks and when in doubt, just switch to oil.

Disclaimer: The Escali blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. more

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