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Margarine Vs Butter- Which One is Healthier Option?

 

Every time you coat a piece of bread with a spoonful of butter, you carry guilt along with it. Those golden pats not just add taste to your cravings but also extra mass to your belly and then you start considering alternatives for the same. Right?

One of the most contradictory topics is the health benefit of both margarine and butter and the fact that which is better out of both. Here, we lay down what each has in store for you and where one surpasses the other. The health benefits of both and then the disadvantages of consuming each if any.

Margarine and Butter- What’s the Difference?

Butter

As we all know, butter is a dietary food made by churning cream. Butter has an extensive use as the frying fat, a spread on the toast or for preparation of the sauce, pastries, and cakes. Being made from the concentrated milk, it goes without saying that butter is extremely rich in saturated fat. Now we all know that saturated fats are also termed as the unhealthy or the bad fats and butter being a rich source of the same should not be consumed. Owing to the increased risk of heart attack or majorly cardiovascular disease, the public health authority in the year 1970 stated that people should limit the amount of butter consumed each day. It is not that you need to strike the entire consumption but restricting the same to a limited amount is beneficial.

Margarine

On the other hand, margarine is something similar to the butter. The taste and the texture are same as butter. Also, it is worth noting that margarine is a processed food-induced in the market to replace the unhealthy butter with the healthy heart featured margarine.

The kinds of margarine you would find in the market are generally made from the vegetable oils that comprise of the polyunsaturated fats which as we all know are a great form of healthy fats. These are highly efficient in reducing the overall cholesterol content of your body and is an excellent substitute for the saturated butterfat.

Because the vegetable oils generally are liquid at the room temperature hence to give them the texture and form of butter, scientists solidify them. The chemical structure is changed so that they appear to be similar to the cream churned butter. For the past few decades, scientists have been using the phenomenon of hydrogenation to change the texture and give the form of solid butter to the processed margarine. Hydrogenation leads to the hardening of the vegetable oils present in the portions of margarine. Also, hydrogenation leads to the increment in the content of the saturated fats with the trans fat being produced as a by-product.

Another process that is majorly used by the scientists nowadays is the interesterification. These are also capable of handling the vegetable oil with the advantage of not leading to the formation of the trans fat. Along with the interesterified and the hydrogenated vegetable oils, the margarine also has the food additives such as the colourants and the emulsifier.

To sum up, the margarine is a processed form of butter that is largely made of healthy fats, and the butter is a form of concentrated fat.

Butter vs Margarine – Comparison

Moving on to the health benefits of the butter, it has a variety of nutrients that are not present in any other form of food products. For instance, consider the butter obtained from the grass-fed cows. These are an excellent source of vitamin k2 which as we all know is beneficial for the bone health. Butter not only aids improved nutrient concentration but also improves the health of your bone.

Advantage Of The Grass Fed Cow Butter

The prime advantage of any butter relies upon the health of the cow from whom the milk is fed to make the butter. Mostly we see cows eating grasses as fed by their owner but many foreign countries restrict the diet of the cows on grain-based food. It is seen that the butter extracted from the milk-fed by the cows that eat grass majorly are largely nutritious and has a pool of benefits.

Grass-fed cows have the following:

  • Vitamin k2- Butter made from the grass-fed cows have an extensive content of vitamin k2 which is helpful in treating a variety of health issues. Osteoporosis, serious heart disease and other issues can be effectively cured with an adequate intake of the vitamin k2.
  • Butyrate: It is regarded as the short chain of the fatty acid that is present in lump sum amount in the butter and is produced by the intestinal bacteria. The acid is capable of fighting inflammation and also aids better health of the digestive tract. The same is useful to control unwanted weight gain.
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid: Another element present in the butter produced by the grass-fed cow milk is the CLA or the Conjugated Linoleic Acid. These are highly effective in reducing the risk of developing cancer and also is effective in reducing the overall fat percentage of your body.
  • Omega 3: Butter made from the grass-fed cow milk is a rich source of the Omega 3.

Disadvantages Of Butter  

We have until now seen the benefits of consuming butter and now it’s time to see what are the threats or risk associated with the consumption of butter.  It goes without saying that butter has a large content of the saturated fats and also the risk of raising the levels of cholesterol in all. Owing to this, scientist and also doctors advice to eat butter but in a limited amount. But to support the same, we list down the disadvantage of excessive consumption of butter.

1. Rich In Saturated Fats

It is known since long that butter is rich in the saturated fat content. Near about 50% of the total butter is comprised of saturated fats whereas the rest is made up of the unsaturated fat and the water. Several studies have laid the fact that there is a direct relationship between the content of saturated fat and the risk of having heart disease. Another study reveals that if the total intake of the saturated fat is reduced, then the risk of heart disease decreases by 17%. You can replace the same with the unsaturated fats or other forms such as carbohydrates and the protein.

2. High In Cholesterol Content

Another disadvantage of consuming the saturated fat is that they are extremely rich in cholesterol content and can pose a serious threat to the health of an individual. Also, greater cholesterol levels directly pave the way for type 2 diabetes and also increases the rate of heart disease. However, the effect varies from person to person. It is advisable that you take cholesterol but in a limited amount. You need cholesterol but in restrictive amounts.

Health Benefits of Margarine 

The major benefits of the margarine depend on the type of vegetable oil used for the same. Margarine is largely rich in content of the polyunsaturated fats. We know that these are the kind of healthy fats. They have exceptional health benefits but to keep in mind that all of these depend on the type of vegetable oil used. They reduce the level of cholesterol in your body.

Also, margarine has a sufficient amount of the plant sterols and the stanols. It is known that the vegetable oil has rich content of the above.

Risk Associated with Margarine

Though the margarine has an excellent content of the unsaturated fats, it is also seen that they have trans fat. These are associated with the range of disease with the most common being the heart disease and the risk of type 2 diabetes. It has been stated above that the vegetable oils are not solid and hydrogenation is used to solidify them. During this process, a chemical change leads to the formation of the trans fat that poses a serious threat to the health of an individual.

Another risk being the fact that the kinds of margarine are rich in Omega 6 content. It is proved that Omega 6 is directly related to the increased risk of obesity and leveraged levels of the cholesterol which is again not advisable.

 

So, you have seen both the pros and cons of each of them. Now, what suits your purpose and how, solely depends on the requirements of your calorie intake. No matter what you choose, eat them in moderate amounts.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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