I myself have been intrigued by this question: which would I recommend to my patient… margarine or butter? During medical school, it has been taught to us that margarine as a safer heart healthy alternative to butter. Butter apparently is unhealthy because it contains too much fat as well as cholesterol and therefore bad for the heart. On the other hand we were taught that margarine is better since it is being made from unsaturated vegetable oils, and as such it is healthier!
But lately research has shown otherwise especially with the knowledge we have now of trans fat! Margarine – specifically the hard stick margarine - contains large amounts of trans fats and as such WORSE than butter! In the study published in Journal of American Medical Association, women who ate 4 teaspoons of stick margarine a day had a 50 percent greater risk of heart disease than women who ate margarine only rarely.
So, what ’s my recommendation ? If you can avoid both…much better. If you want to use margarine… read the label… use those that are trans fat free or non-hydrogenated and if you chose a soft margarine, chose a product that is low in saturated fat.
Butter or Margarine…Neither!