The Ongoing Butter vs Margarine Debate

The Ongoing Butter vs Margarine Debate

The debate between whether to use butter or margarine has been going on for decades.  The content and quality of each has also been debated over the years. It’s time to simplify the information so you can make an educated decision.

Many years back, when the medical community decided that butter was bad for health, margarine was created. However – Butter or Margarine – which is better for health?  This continues to be an ongoing debate.  Both have their own pros and cons.

The biggest difference between the two lies in their fat content.  Butter is an animal or daily product, whereas margarine is a plant-based product made from oils like canola or soybean oil.  Both have a large amount of fat.  However, they are different types of fat. 

Butter is made up of saturated fats. Saturated fats are known to raise LDL, or bad cholesterol levels.  From the standpoint of heart disease, butter remains on the list of foods to use sparingly mostly because it is high in saturated fat.

Margarine, on the other hand, has less saturated fat and more unsaturated fat which is overall better for health. However, margarine has gotten a bad reputation because it used to contain trans-fats.  Trans-fats not only raise LDL or bad cholesterol levels, but they also decrease HDL or good cholesterol.  So basically, it’s a double whammy.  In fact, trans-fats have so many negative health effects that the FDA banned its use in the US as of June, 2018. 

The good news is that the newer margarines have eliminated the trans-fats which make them a good option.

So, which one should you choose?  The pros are that butter is only made from a couple of ingredients making it less processed. But, it has a high amount of saturated fats (one tbsp accounts for a third of your daily intake of saturated fats).  So, if you are healthy, it is fine to use in moderation. But, if you have a history of heart disease or an increased risk of heart disease or if you have high cholesterol, it is better to minimize butter use or just switch over to margarine.

‌How about the pros of margarine?  It has significantly less saturated fat and more unsaturated fat which makes it a good option for those watching their heart health.  Some margarine brands are also a good alternative for vegans. And the cons?  First, it is processed and not as natural as butter. It is also not the greatest option for baking – butter is still far superior.  When buying margarine pick one that comes in a tub and look at the ingredients to see which oil blend you like as they can be made with canola, soybean, and even olive oil.

At Physicians Premiere Weight and Wellness Center, Dr. Trupti Patel and her experienced team enjoy simplifying the answers to the many health questions their patients may have. If you have questions or are ready to get started on your journey to better health, visit their website at where you can learn more about the many ways they help their patients lose weight, while creating healthier habits that can last a lifetime.