Butter vs. Margarine
Which is better for your health, butter or margarine? This is the eternal question that I am asked as a nutritionist.Â For some, the answer is blatantly clear- butter of course! There is no alternative to the rich and creamy flavor butter exudes. For others, margarine is the safe choice. The truth is both are high in fat with very little nutritional value and should be limited in your diet.Â Butter is high in saturated fat, which raise the LDL levels of cholesterol in your body and some margarines still contain trans fats.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, fat in your diet is extremely important as they are needed for brain development, vision and hormone function, etc,Â however, the form in which it is derived is crucial. You want the majority of fat in your diet to be from monounsaturated fats, contain dietary fiber, fat-soluble vitamins and complex carbohydrates found in foods such as nuts, avocados, and olives.
So which is better for your health? My first response to this question is always the same: natural is better, and in this case butter wins, however, if you have high cholesterol or a genetic predisposition to developing it, you should use olive oil in place of either of these.
Letâ€™s begin with butter, it comes from cowâ€™s milk, has been eaten for centuries, has a rich and creamy flavor and texture that can not be replaced. Aside from that, there are many fat-soluble vitamins and minerals found in butter, such as vitamins A, D, E and selenium.Â And studies show that eating a modest amount of natural butter as part of a well-balanced diet, combined with exercise can be safe.Â Â However, butter contains 54% saturated fat, which means that you MUST consume this product sparingly.
As for margarine, it is a man-made manufactured product in which cheap vegetable oils undergo hydrogenation. This process creates trans fats, which as we now know, raise your LDL levels and lower your HDL levels of cholesterol. Additionally, during its production, margarine undergoes several processes such as deodorizing, coloring, bleaching and the addition of artificial flavoring to enhance its appearance and mouth feel.Â Being that the manufacturers are not particularly concerned with your overall health, they often use oils that are below par in the standard of quality.
While many margarine manufacturers now claim to be trans fat free, it has been repeatedly proven that eating natural foods are far better for your health than any man made processed product can ever be.Â Bottom line: always go for the real thing but do so in moderation.