When you ask people about healthy spread options, margarine seems to prevail at the top of most people’s responses. There has been a lot of debate recently around the right spread to use. Butter has been the spread of choice for years but margarine has no cholesterol so must be healthier?!
So what should you choose? Butter or margarine?
Margarines are table spreads that are made with a variety of plant oils, like sunflower, canola, soybean and olive with just enough hard fat to make it spreadable. Most margarines have added vitamins A and D and emulsifiers which are used in the food industry to stop the product form separating. Over the last few years margarine has generated a lot of bad press because of the presence of ‘trans fats’ – bad fats which are produced when liquid oils are partially hydrogenated to make them solid at room temperature. However, once scientific evidence emerged that these were harmful; many reputable manufacturers changed their formulation and the way they made margarine. Some commercially used cooking fats are still partially hydrogenated but most table margarine spreads at the supermarket are not.
Butter on the other hand is pure dairy fat churned from cream. Many people love the taste of butter and prefer it to margarine. It is important to note that dairy products contain cholesterol and that eating butter and cream will increase blood cholesterol levels. Ideally, butter should be eaten sparingly should be considered a “sometimes” only food if you do eat it.
So overall, if you want a healthy result use an everyday spreading margarine and only for special occasions use butter.