Butter Or Margarine? Most People Don't Know The Truth About Their Favorite Fat
Katie Mooney 5/10/2017
Where there are fluffy cakes, rich frostings, chocolatey syrups, and ooey gooey fillings - you can usually find butter. After all, butter makes everything better, right?
Almost every family-favorite baked good, creamy sauce, and cheesy goodness recipe calls for butter - that, or margarine. Now-a-days, as with just about everything, we have choices. Sometimes, too many in fact!
Some people enjoy the classic taste and simple ingredients of butter, while others prefer its seemingly "healthier" opponent, margarine. Taste and dining enjoyment are important, but health is more important - so, which is the right choice for you and your family? Let us help shine a bit of light on the "shortening struggle."
As we all know, butter is high in saturated fat - which of course, is bad. When people made the connection between high levels of saturated fat and increased risk of heart disease, they got a bitter (and buttery) taste in their mouths, and began to seek alternatives.
This was when margarine was born. Margarine seemed to be a much healthier answer to everyone's flavoring problem - and many people were overjoyed to make the switch. But unfortunately, as they say, things aren't always what they seem.
Margarine, although originally praised for its low levels of saturated fat, ended up not being the "miracle alternative" it was initially marketed as.
You see, many types of margarine (especially the stick form) contain high levels of trans fats. These fats raise your body's level of bad cholesterol (LDL) while also lowering your good cholesterol levels (HDL) - two effects which are terrible for your health.
Butter, although high in saturated fat, has been around for thousands of years and is typically made from simple ingredients. Margarine on the other hand, is comprised of numerous "ingredients" and often contains trans fats - which doctors say should be avoided completely, as they are extremely dangerous for your health.
One experiment was conducted in which a small group of ants was placed on a plate with regular margarine, reduced-fat margarine, and butter. And, which option did they choose, you ask? These bitty bugs marched (two by two) right towards the butter.
Saturated fat, within moderation, is actually needed for healthy cell function, suppresses inflammation in the body, raises "good" cholesterol levels, and enhances the immune system. While on the other hand, trans fats get in the way of healthy cell functioning, enhance inflammation, lower "good" cholesterol levels, and suppress the immune system.
When the dangers of trans fats were discovered, manufacturers came up with "new and improved" margarine options which are low in saturated fat, and trans fat free. However, as with many tasty and decadent food items - these "buttery blends" are still often high in calories.
Whether you decide to stick with butter or search for a trans fat free margarine, health is important. So, read labels, use these items sparingly, and be an informed consumer. After all, your health is on the line - and that my friend, is only everything.
For the scientific "butter breakdown" watch more on the butter vs margarine debate:
"Food, glorious food" - we all love it! However, making smart diet choices is critical to living a long, healthy life. Share this butter vs margarine debate with your friends and family, and spread shortening awareness!