Cholesterol Facts: Is Margarine Better Than Butter

Several cholesterol facts are very often misunderstood and misinterpreted. One such fact is that only fat consumption causes high cholesterol and those who totally avoid fats in their diets will have very little cholesterol. The real facts about cholesterol are like this:

  • Dietary cholesterol and Blood cholesterol are two different things.
  • Only animal products contain dietary cholesterol; plant products don’t (they contain phyto- sterols, not chole-sterols)
  • High cholesterol containing diets will not cause a corresponding increase in blood cholesterol levels in all people, equally. It varies from person to person.
  • Cholesterol is different from saturated fats. But it is true that both of them cause clogging of arteries, independent of each other.

What is Butter and What is Margarine?

Butter is a soft fatty substance that is obtained from animal sources. It is made from milk of animals reared for dairy products. It has both dietary cholesterol and saturated fats.

Margarine is also a fatty substance, but is obtained from plant sources. Hence it has no dietary cholesterol, but has equal amounts of saturated fats and phytosterols taht are not harmful like cholesterol.

Saturated fats are present in red meat, dairy products like butter and also in certain plant oils. They are solid fats that remain solid even at room temperature.

Which One Should You Choose – Butter or Margarine?

From the above stated facts, we can easily conclude that as far as cholesterol is concerned, butter is a bad choice. But having said that, one can still not clear margarine to be a better choice. There are a separate set of margarine facts as well.

Margarine and butter have equal number of calories! So, calorie conscious people stay clear of both irrespective of their cholesterol content.

Which Margarine is Good for You?

Margarine, in it’s original form is less solid. In order to make it firmer, trans fats are added to them to give them the solid form similar to butter. For this, a process called hydrogenation is used where more hydrogen is added to harden the plant(vegetable) oil. This process also prevents margarine from spoilage.

This hydrogenated margarine is BAD. But the good news is, zero-trans fat margarine commonly called soft margarine is getting more popular and is fast replacing the hard maragrine. It is available in tubs as a semi solid or even liquid form.

Choose Soft Margarine

So, the clear winner between butter and margarine is obviously soft margarine. These soft and liquid varieties contain mono and poly unsaturated fatty acids that are very helpful in reducing bad cholesterol.

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