The debate over whether Margarine is better than butter has gone on for many years, especially now that there are so many health concerns, regarding cholesterol, heart disease, and other illnesses.
First, it’s a good idea to look into what each is made from, how it effects your body, and then you can decide which is right for you.
Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains no cholesterol. It’s also more good fats, like polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated.
These types of fat help reduce the negative low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol.
And while you may think this is a good thing, looks can be deceiving, and can often times be worse than using butter. Why is this? Because the process used to make margarine, called “hydrogenation”, produces the really unhealthy trans fats, and the more solid the margarine is, the higher the amount of these trans fats.
Unfortunately, these can also lower good, high-density lipoproteins, which can really counter any good benefits of margarine.
Real butter is made from milk and animal fats, which does contain cholesterol and saturated fat, but it’s not hydrogenated, and so it’s much less processed than margarine.
And while it does contain saturated fats, which produce LDL, it also produces the good HDL cholesterol as well.
The biggest advantage butter has over regular margarine is the levels of trans fat that margarine contains, up to three grams per tablespoon.
Overall, both butter and margarine have the same amount of calories, about 100 cal per tablespoon.
Heart doctors may recommend butter over regular margarine, but also recommend the trans fat free margarine over butter, and it gets pretty confusing.
The biggest problem with buying butter or margarine is…the price.
While the regular margarine is cheaper than regular butter, it isn’t as good for you, but the special margarine that is “supposed” to have no trans fats, or say that they actually reduce cholesterol levels, are quite a bit higher than just buying butter, and you get a lot less.
Overall, it seems that butter is better for you than margarine, because not only is it much less processed than margarine, but it contains many vitamins you need.
If you don’t want to give up the taste of butter, but want to control your fat intake, a good idea would be to purchase a whipped, light, or reduce calorie butter.
There are also spreadable butters with some vegetable oils added.
It’s important to remember that even if you’re using a reduced calorie butter, to still use it in moderation, just enough to add the flavor you need for taste.