Butter and margarine are both incredibly popular cooking products and both seem to be virtually the same. Though they are both made to serve the same purpose, they have fundamental differences.
Butter is made out of cream that has been churned in order to separate the fat from the water. This results in the creamy yellow spread, which is made up of mostly saturated fats. Butter can be nutritious because it contains all of the benefits that milk has. It has vitamins, omega-3, and other components that are good for the body, though butter is usually consumed in such small amounts that it doesn’t have a dramatic effect. Despite of this, butter is often considered unhealthy due to the high amounts of saturated fats it contains, which has been connected to heart problems.
Margarine is made out of vegetable oils that go through a process to change their chemical structure. This creates the butter-like substance, but without the dairy. Margarine is great because it acts the same as butter but doesn’t contain dairy, which is a great alternative for people with dairy-free diets or other similar dietary requirements. Margarine is also thought to be slightly healthier than butter due to the absence of saturated fats. The fats used instead can decrease cholesterol and improve heart health. Though these fats are considered “good”, some margarine is made with trans fats, which raises cholesterol and are considered very unhealthy.
At the end of the day, butter and margarine are relatively equal health-wise and can both be used for the same purposes. They should be consumed with moderation and in combination with a healthy diet, but whichever one you wish to choose comes down to a personal preference!