The difference between butter and margarine

Published October 22, 2021, 12:00 PM

by Patricia Bianca Taculao

Dairy lovers appreciate the role of butter in their diet. A single stick has many uses that can elevate the flavor of a dish or bind ingredients to create a mouthwatering result. But butter isn’t the only spreadable that’s been capturing the attention of consumers. 

Margarine has also become a popular commodity. At times, people have a hard time telling butter apart from margarine. 

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Butter is made from cow’s milk. It is churned until it turns into the thick, yellowish product that’s loved for its creaminess. Some sticks of butter may also contain salt or herbs for added flavor. 

On the other hand, margarine is a cheaper alternative to butter. It was invented in the 1860s for French workers and soldiers during the Franco-Prussian war. The first margarine was made from beef tallow churned with milk. 

Eventually, animals were cut from margarine’s main ingredients and it shifted to used hydrogenated plant oils. Hydrogenation was developed in the 1900s and is the process of using trans fats to solidify vegetable oils. 

The more solid the margarine, the higher the content of trans fats. 

Compared to butter, margarine contains significantly less saturated fat. The downside is that it has more trans fats. Properly reading labels can help consumers determine the amount of fat content in butter or margarine. 

Ultimately, consumers can lower the risk of heart disease by choosing a softer tub of margarine or liquid oils instead of butter to lower their saturated fat and trans fat intake. It’s just not as tasty.

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