Margarine Vs. Butter

For years people have debated on the pros and cons of margarine and butter. Let's get into the details of both of them with this article.
Tastessence Staff
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
Margarine is a dairy product which is similar to butter and made from milk products, vegetable oils and other ingredients. It has less cholesterol than butter. Butter is an edible emulsion of fats globules made by churning of milk and cream and is usually used for cooking.
Margarine vs. butter has been a debatable topic for many years now. Different people have different views regarding the two products. People with health issues generally prefer margarine as it has less cholesterol. However, recent studies have shown that the calories in margarine are same as that of butter. So this becomes a hot topic of discussion between health freaks and nutritionists.
The Healthier Option
People have been arguing on this topic for decades. Margarine versus butter, which one is a better option to include in our diet? According to me, neither one is extremely beneficial.
  • Butter contains fat and margarine contains some amount of saturated fats and fatty acids. Recent studies show that fatty acids also cause some cardiovascular complications in the body.
  • Margarine is mostly made of vegetable oils, so there is no cholesterol in it. Doctors also say that margarine contains good fats, which are polyunsaturated while butter contains bad fats which increases the risk of heart diseases.
  • Margarine is made by a method called hydrogenation. While going through this process trans fats are formed in margarine. These are unhealthy fats. Liquid margarine have less fat than stick or hard margarine. Like saturated fats, trans fats also increase cholesterol levels in our blood, leading to various heart complications.
  • Butter is unhealthy due to the excess amount of fat and cholesterol level found in it. If you want to improve your health, keep the consumption of butter or margarine in your diet to the minimum.
Calorie Content
No matter who wins the margarine versus butter fight, the common factor is the calories they add to your diet. Butter and margarine both add 740 calories in your diet. Margarine is also available with animal and veg fat, this variant of margarine also has 740 calories.
Nutritional Content
Butter (1 tbsp) Soft tub Margarine (1 tbsp) Stick Margarine (1 tbsp)
102 kcal 60 kcal 101 kcal
11 g total fat 6 g total fat 11 g total fat
7 g saturated fats 1 g saturated fats 2 g saturated fats
0.3 g trans fats 0.5 g trans fats 3 g trans fats
33 mg cholesterol 0 mg cholesterol 0 mg
Usage in Baking
When it comes to baking, butter and margarine both provide textures and flavors to baked foods. If you are confused between butter vs. margarine, let's compare.
  • Margarine is good for health, but gives no flavor in baking. It also gives a good texture to cookies and cakes but most people don't prefer margarine in baked foods because of its low flavor characteristic.
  • Butter on the other hand, has high fatty content which is not beneficial to human health, but it gives the flavor required in cakes and cookies. When it comes to deciding between margarine vs. butter for baking, I say it's a personal choice. I hope with the above given information, you would make an informed decision. My advice is try to use both and see the outcome.

The differences between butter and margarine are minimal. While the main difference is butter is a natural ingredient derived from animal fat, while margarine is derived from hydrogenated vegetable oils. Butter is much older in the market of foodstuffs than margarine. Margarine vs. butter has been a topic of discussion for years. In fact, people should discuss which is more harmful out of the two. I am a health freak and hence I limit the use of both of them and I urge all my readers to do so.