Butter vs. Margarine: You Decide

Debra Frick

Well, I am getting up there in years and my husband and I both are a little over weight. Seeking advice from our doctor we were told that we like thousands of other Americans, we needed to start eating more heart healthy food and switch our fat intakes. Less fried food, more fresh salads and to buy natural products where we could. I asked my doctor about "butter vs. margarine" and was told that, believe it or not, butter being a natural product was probably better for our bodies.

Like any thing else if you over do it and put butter on everything, it will not be good for your body. Margarine, unlike butter, is a chemical product that is sometimes worse for your body than butter because of the processes that it goes through to be made. Heck, I don't care about all that. Every other day, there are reports about which is better. To my way of thinking, with the beef industry trying very hard to go back to not flooding the bodies of our steaks with hormones and antibiotics, this is also making our butter and milk safer to eat, or drink for that matter.

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For years, people have been using margarine and have stopped using butter. I thought it would be a great idea for those of you who would like the option of returning to a natural product, some of the cooking facts we have all forgotten about butter. Now I am not advocating for people to eat butter like on the commercial that shows the family eating baked potatoes with a stick of butter stuck in them. I am saying everything in moderation. Olive oil still is the best option for browning meats and general cooking purposes.

Butter Storage

Butter unlike its margarine counterpart really should not be left for days on a counter it really needs to be refrigerated or frozen. So here is the scoop unopened butter keeps in the refrigerator for several weeks and opened butter should be kept in a butter keeper in your refrigerator. Freezing butter is a simple matter of sealing in a freezer bag or using one of those new food savers. Butter can be frozen for up to 9 months.

Butter Equivalents

  • 1 pound of butter equals 4 sticks or 2 cups or 32 tablespoons
  • 1/2 pound of butter equals 2 sticks or 1 cup or 16 tablespoons
  • 1/4 pound of butter equals 1 stick or 1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons
  • 1/8 pound equals 1/2 stick of butter or 1/4 of a cup or 4 tablespoons.

Butter Varieties

Lightly salted butter can be used as a table spread and is generally best for cooking. If you like to make flavored butters for that special occasion, lightly salted butter is best for savory spreads using wine or herbs.

Unsalted butter, better know as sweet butter, is best used for baking and when making sweet flavor butters such as honey butter. It is common practice for chefs to use unsalted butter for seafood and baking for it's delicate flavor.

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Whipped butter contains more air and moisture than regular butter. It is almost exclusively used as a table spread. It is not used in cooking at all as it weights less than that of regular butter and should not be used as a substitute.

Cultured butter is made with cream that has had active cultures added to it. This produces a tangy butter, but with a shorter shelf life.

Have a Happy and Healthy diet!

About The Author: Debra Frick is a mother of 5 and a grandmother to 8 grandsons and one granddaughter. She is a published author and poetress. Recycling and saving money are her passions. She also loves crocheting and cooking. She is also a pet rescue volunteer and has many pets of her own.

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January 21, 20090 found this helpful

A good alternativeis a product called olivio. It is a good choice because it is made mostly with olive oil and it taste delicious. Try it. I use it and mycholesterol is 165 . TRy takin g fish oil pills 1000mg in the am and in the pm. Get the enteric coated ones so you won't get indigestion from them. These will also help lower your cholestrol and evens out blood sugar. It is good for helping heart arrythmias[irregular heart rate]. I get the kirkland brand fish oil [with gla ] from costco. Good luck. Cathy from MA

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January 22, 20090 found this helpful

I'll never forget trying margarine when I first moved away from home in the early 70's and thought 'Wow, this would be healthier (as touted) and less expensive'! Couldn't stand it! It left a plastic coating feel in my mouth and I couldn't help but wonder what ingredients were in it that would do that and never used it again!

In my opinion animal fats are far healthier than chemically enhanced foods. As long as eaten in moderation butter is better.

Read this article and then decide:

http://www.chelationtherapyonline.com/articles/p122.htm

And here's more info from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarine

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January 22, 20090 found this helpful

My husband and I both grew up having butter. We use butter in our house. I can't stand the taste of margarine so that is my main reason to buy butter because it tastes better. Margarine may be cheaper but it tastes terrible!

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January 23, 20090 found this helpful

I never liked the taste of olive oil until I was able to get it fresh. I absolutely love it now and use it for all meats, vegetables and salads. If you can find a brand that you like, I believe this a very healthy choice to make.

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January 23, 20090 found this helpful

Our nutritionalist did say that stick butter was the worst of all t hat you could ever eat, since the fats in it cannot be expelled by the body. Also to eat protein wilth all carbohydrates for energy and good blood sugar levels.

:)

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January 23, 20090 found this helpful

I could never eat margarine. Yeech! Anyway, I have discovered that you can use olive oil in place of of butter in a lot of things, especially when it's only a tablespoon or two. And olive oil raises your good cholesterol. I even use olive oil instead of butter when I cook eggs. Can't tell the difference!

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January 23, 20090 found this helpful

Butter is food, margarine is NOT... You can place a tub of margarine in your garage, no bugs will touch it and it will never degrade. It is only one molecule away from plastic!

Butter is one of the healthiest fats you can eat as is extra virgin organic coconut oil.

Jim in Jax

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January 23, 20090 found this helpful

I grew up eating margarine but now won't touch the stuff! It's butter all the way for us. yum-o!

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January 24, 20090 found this helpful

You can make your own healthy soft spread by mixing equal amounts of butter and olive oil, and keep it in a container in the refrigerator.

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January 24, 20090 found this helpful

I am pretty much vegan which means I don't eat any animal products, including butter, though this is one item that I've been pondering the last little while. I do use vegan margarine to bake/cook but I rarely actually eat it on anything which means I don't really taste the stuff. A friend of mine who only eats butter made some popcorn one day and BOY was it good, better than what I had eaten at home. I agree that the chemical stuff is bad for you and my solution to all of this is either purchasing organic butter or organic coconut oil (which is recommended by holistic nutritionists). Both expensive but also much better for you! I am in the midst of doing more research on this to find an animal free healthy alternative to butter but until then I might use organic butter. Margarine on popcorn isn't that tasty...sadly :(

However, this stuff is really good & healthy, just pricy so I can't buy it all the time: http://www.earthbalancenatural.com

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January 24, 20090 found this helpful

I totally agree! Margarine is hideous stuff!

For me it's butter, or this:

http://www.laemunns.com/rapeseed.html

Sorry if you're outside the UK and can't get it. I'm lucky and can buy it in town. It's great stuff, doesn't have a strong taste or burn like E.V. olive oil can, and it's even better for you!

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January 26, 20090 found this helpful

Butter all the way! The less chemicals and processed foods the better.

If you want soft, spreadable butter look for a butter bell. It's a two-piece crock with a top that looks like a large egg cup. Smash a stick of butter into the top, put about 2 oz. cold water in the crock, invert the top into the crock and you have a seal that keeps your butter fresh for a long time provided you change the water every 2 or 3 days.

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January 26, 20090 found this helpful

Another problem with margarine is that there are so many that contain canola - which is linked to muscular degeneration and eye problems are not something that anyone wants - so, stick to the natural product.

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January 27, 20090 found this helpful

I worked for a margarine manufacturer and married one of the QC chemists. He would not eat margarine! Margarine was designed to be a table condiment and when used for cooking it is only reduced to oil + additives. I grew up on margarine and HATE it. Since butter is a natural product, we have eaten only butter for the past 30 years. I cook with olive oil and use it in many ways to add flavor (oil & herbs on broiled cuban bread) as I also have a child who is extremely lactose intolerant!

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January 28, 20090 found this helpful

Dr. Oz on Oprah said to choose butter over margarine and use the butter in moderation. He is a heart surgeon.

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March 8, 20090 found this helpful

I can't remember what I grew up eating, probably margarine, because I came from a large family and it was cheaper. When I moved out on my own I bought margarine because of the price compared to butter. It was four pounds of margarine equaled one pound of butter cost-wise. Until one day (this was after I was married and had my own kids) I was listening to the radio and a dietician/nutritionist was talking about the difference between butter and margarine. I couldn't believe the stuff that was in margarine. I became so horrified and grossed out about putting margarine in my body that I decided right then and there to switch. I proceeded to throw out my margarine and replace it with butter immediately. When my kids had to start eating butter, of course, they hated the taste, but I wouldn't back down and they got used to it. Now, many years (10, at least) later they cannot stand margarine and know right away if they are somewhere else and they have margarine. They will go without it. I have switched 100%, using butter in baking and never having another ounce of margarine in my house ever. I also use the olive oil as I know it is better. Whenever I see the price of butter going up I think "Oh well, I spend money on things that aren't necessary so if I spend a little more on butter, I am doing something healthy for my family and it is worth every penny".

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March 8, 20090 found this helpful

Here is my understanding: Margarine is the absolute worst. Butter is better than margarine. Margarine with no hydrogenated oils is better than butter. I have only found two margarine brands that fit this category: Promise and Smart Balance.

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