There has been a long term mantra out there in society telling us to eat margarine because it’s healthier, but which is really healthier? Butter or margarine?
Truth be told it’s opposite to common knowledge, butter is definitely better!
I wrote a post yesterday to describe the difference between butter and margarine where we talked about the modern processing techniques. You can read/view that here.
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Today I’d like to cover the health aspects, why butter is better than margarine.
It basically comes down to 4 reasons:
- Margarine is highly processed butter is not
- Seed oils used to make margarine are high in Omega 6 which is pro-inflammatory
- Saturated fat does not cause clogged arteries and heart disease
- Butter is a natural product
By the way, this information is not just what I say or my opinion, I have done the research and while I won’t quote studies in this post, just know that there is good solid research to back everything I am about to share.
So let’s take a look at these in a little more detail.
4 Reasons why butter is healthier than margarine
1. Margarine is highly processed butter is not
Butter is just the butter cream removed from raw milk that is churned, that’s it! A pretty simple process right?
In making margarine, oils are heated to high temperatures, then undergo several processes including hydrogenation which changes the structure of the fatty acids. This generates trans fats which are very unhealthy. Although margarines now contain less trans fats, not all of it can be removed and even a small amount can be harmful to your health. Heating oils to high heats also increases oxidation, thus increasing free radicals in the body. This alone is not a good thing because oxidation causes cell changes and generates disease. The more processed something is, the more unhealthy it is going to be. So in this regard alone butter wins out hands down.
2. Seed oils used to make margarine are high in Omega 6 which is pro-inflammatory
On top of what we’ve already covered, you have the fatty acid component of margarine that makes it highly unhealthy. We have been told that unsaturated fats are healthier for us and while this is true to a certain extent, if unsaturated fats are heated to such high heats this is not a good thing, as has already been pointed out. On top of this most oils that are used in margarines are not high quality unsaturated fats, they are oils like refined canola, safflower and sunflower oil and these oils are high in Omega 6 fatty acids.
In our body the same enzyme is needed to convert both Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. Most of us eat too many omega 6 and not enough omega 3 and this is a problem because omega 6 oils increase inflammation and contribute to the development of disease. Many of the oils used in margarines are already highly processed before the margarine process even begins, this already makes them unhealthy!
3. Saturated fat does not cause clogged arteries and heart disease
This is another myth that has been jammed down our throats for years and it has become common knowledge yet it is highly untrue. Our body needs all types of fats; saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated to perform all it’s necassary finctions. Natural forms of saturated fat are not unhealthy, butter being one of them. Of course that doesn’t mean a free license to go and eat as much fat as you like but don’t be afraid of eating fat. I have been doing my Masters thesis on heart disease and inflammation and it is the inflammation that causes heart disease, not fat. In fact, sugar and salt are more likely to cause heart disease that saturated fat!
Here are a couple of articles you will find helpful
4. Butter is a natural product
Butter is just made from raw milk They remove the butter cream and churn it, maybe add some salt and that’s it! There is nothing wrong with that and natural products are far better for your body, period!
I always choose butter over margarine and I have a history of heart disease in my family. I have also conducted enough of my own research to know that butter is definitely better! If I’m not worried about it then maybe you shouldn’t be either.
Are you convinced? If not I’d be happy to answer more questions so please leave your comments below.
Nutrition & Health Coach
P.S. This guide to healthy fats might interest you too.