Is Butter Better than Margarine?

Butter’s much-maligned reputation in the past might be because of the margarine era during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Nutritionists first presented margarine as a low fat, healthy alternative to butter. Margarine was promoted as a way to get the same butter flavor with less fat. The public made the switch to margarine imagining that they were making a healthy choice when in actuality they were eating substantial amounts of trans fat.

This is why butter is healthier than margarine. Hydrogenation is a chemical action applied to make margarine. It’s a process that adds hydrogen atoms to an unsaturated oil in order to make a spreadable form– the one we’re each familiar with today. Rather than producing a healthier butter alternative, the hydrogenation process creates a highly processed product that is less heart-healthy than butter. Though they have almost the same amount of calories, margarine and butter are different in the types of fat they have.

Each have saturated fat, which is safe to consume in moderate amounts. However, just margarine has trans fat, which is linked to clogged arteries, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Butter, however, has only trace amounts of trans fat. Trans fat also brings up your LDL (bad cholesterol) and decreases your HDL (good cholesterol). If you’re attempting to eat healthy while getting great flavor, don’t worry! Put a tub of trans fat-free butter into your cart and start baking.