Emma’s Health Talk: Butter vs. Margarine, Part 1

by Emma Ware

Every controversy has two sides. This month’s topic, on which one is better for your health— butter or margarine— is no different, and comes with information supporting both sides.

This article is formulated from the most current information available online to the general public. Information can also be found in bookstores, at the library, and in pamphlets at doctors offices, especially cardiologists. 

I hope the aforementioned resources and this article will guide your own search for information that’s relevant to your specific needs, and help you decide which food is best for you. 

My caution always is and still remains that you check with your doctor before making any changes to your health routine.

News-Medical Life Science/Health, found on the web, wrote a comparison between butter and margarine dated from February 7, 2019. 

In the article, they remind us that butter is a dairy product obtained after separating the cream from milk. It is made up of 80%-82% milk fat, 16-17% water with 1-2% of milk solids. It is available as salted, sweet, or reduced-fat. Butter also contains saturated fats, proteins, calcium and phosphorus, with some essential fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E. 

The Coastal Insider
Emma Ware. — Photo Meganpixels Parker

On the other hand, margarine is prepared from liquid vegetable oils by the process of hydrogenation which saturates the fatty acids through the addition of hydrogen. 

Hydrogenation alters the molecular structure of fatty acids so that trans fats may be formed, and results in the fat assuming a semi-solid state. This increases the shelf life and durability of the margarine and also make foods cooked with this fat crisper. The more solid the consistency of the margarine, the greater the percentage of trans fat.

Both butter and margarine hold approximately the same percentage of fat—nearly 70-80%. They differ from each other in regard to their preparation, ingredients, flavor, nutritional value and type of fatty acids. 

Stay tuned for part two of this article next month, which will continue to detail the differences between butter and margarine. 

We’ll also discuss the differences between types of margarines. We’ll explore how butter and margarine varieties each contributes to a person’s cholesterol and the affects on health. 

As always, I’m reminding you to consult with your doctor regarding any changes you make to your health regimen. Call with your comments at (843) 997-7037 or stop by the office at 2798-D Howard Ave in Market Common.



Click here to read Part 2. 

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