Would you rather eat something made biologically natural (butter) or something created in a lab by chemists (margarine)?
A simple search comparing butter and margarine on the internet will result in websites arguing back and forth about which is better. At one point there was a much greater argument that most of us may be unaware of. It was a so-called "War" against margarine. Since there is so much debate, what is the answer?
Butter vs Margarine Points to Consider
Pro Margarine Points:
Saturated fat is bad for cholesterol and damaging to your health. Margarine contains little to no saturated fat and some ADDED vitamins. Because of this, and because of unsaturated fat's health benefits, margarine must be better than butter.
Pro Butter Points:
1. “The truth is, there never was any good evidence that using margarine instead of butter cut the chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease.” This is a direct statement from a publication released by Harvard Health (Harvard Medical School).
2. In a previous article, I quoted from BornFitness, that “Harvard published a study that showed there is no evidence that dietary saturated fat is associated with coronary heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease."
3. “Trans fats are worse for cholesterol levels than saturated fats because they raise bad LDL and lower good HDL [more than saturated fat]. They also fire inflammation, an overactivity of the immune system that has been implicated in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. And they contribute to insulin resistance” (Harvard Health).
Most margarine products contain trans fats as a main ingredient. They have tried hiding these from you by using the word partially hydrogenated. Anything that says partially hydrogenated contains trans fats.
4. Ingredients List
Land O Lakes Margarine: Liquid and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Buttermilk, Contains less than 2% of Salt, Soy Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Mono and Diglycerides (Emulsifier), Lactic Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (Color).
Margarine contains trans fats, processed oils preservatives, added flavors and colors, and emulsifiers to bind water and oil together. None of these naturally occur and need to be produced in a lab. Who wants that?
Land O Lakes Salted Butter: Sweet
Simply contains what is on the label: salt and butter. If you don't want added salt, choose the unsalted products. I will take butter over margarine any day of the week.
5. Nutritional benefits of butter (Source)
Rich in fat soluble vitamins A, E, and K
Contains a lot of healthy saturated fats
It lowers heart attack risk compared to margarine
Good source of the fatty acid butyrate (anti-inflammatory effects and various health benefits)
Rich in conjugated linoleic acid (positive metabolic effects)
Butter is Associated With a Lower Risk of Obesity
So in this debate between butter vs margarine, now that we've presented the facts, we'll let you draw your own conclusion... But we'd also like you to keep in mind that margarine's original color (before colored dye is added) is black. Now that's just gross.
Heroic Answer: Butter over margarine.
If you like this article, you can find more like this at the Train Heroic Nutrition Section.