I’m a margarine user unless a recipe specifically calls for butter. I have nothing against butter except its price. I can get 4 sticks of margarine for $1.00 but 4 sticks of butter are anywhere from $3 to $4. That’s quite a difference on a tight budget. So I always opt for margarine when I’m cooking.
When I’m spreading, I use something called Brummel & Brown which is made with nonfat yogurt. My husband uses spreadable butter. Yes, we’re a two margarine/butter family.
Recently there was some discussion on my Facebook page about butter vs. margarine. Unfortunately there’s a lot of incorrect information out there about both butter and margarine so I decided it was time to do some research and find out once and for all if margarine is the villain it’s made out to be.
I decided the best place to start would be with the ingredients list.
- Pasteurized cream (milk),
Saturated Fat: 7 grams per tablespoon
Trans Fat: 0 grams per tablespoon
Cholesterol: 30 mg per tablespoon
- Liquid and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
- Soy Lechithin
- Vegetable Mono & Diglycerides
- Citric Acid, Calcium Disodium Edta Added to Protect Flavor
- Natural and Artificial Flavor
- Beta Carotene (Color)
- Vitamin A Palmitate Added
Saturated Fat: 2 g per tablespoon
Trans Fat: 3 g per tablespoon
Cholesterol: 0 mg per tablespoon
Then I did a bunch of reading from reputable sources about butter vs. margarine. The result: I have no clue. My head was spinning after doing all that reading. There’s really no definitive answer. Every article I read said something different. So here are a few thoughts:
1. Michael Pollen, in Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, says: “Avoid food products that contain ingredients a third-grader cannot pronounce.” He also says: “Avoid ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry…” Butter definitely wins if you’re using this criteria.
2. Maybe we should be eating less butter to start with.
If you want to do some reading on this topic, here are five articles I thought were really informative:
- Fox News – http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/12/08/butter-vs-margarine/
- Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/25/butter-or-margarine_n_907229.html#s314186&title=Worst_Butter_Traditional
- Mayo Clinic – http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/butter-vs-margarine/AN00835
- Nourished Kitchen – http://nourishedkitchen.com/food-wars-butter-vs-margarine/
- Snopes – http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/butter.asp (to separate fact from fiction)
And now, I would love to know whether you use butter or margarine and why.