Beware what you are eating? Margarine which has similar physical appearance to butter has some drawbacks that we need to highlight.
Butter, a product from animal milk, was noticed to have more saturated fat which means it can be fattening and can contribute to cardiovascular diseases. Paradoxically butter has some essential vitamin A and E.
Margarine on the other hand is made from plant oils and has unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fat has lower melting point so its natural state is less solid. To make margarine more solid for spreading, Hydrogenation is done. This process involves adding Hydrogen.
During Hydrogenation, high temperatures are used causing changes in molecular structure. The structure changes from CIS bonds to TRANS configuration. That causes Trans fats. Trans fats change the way our body metabolizes. Trans fats lowers good cholesterol (High-density lipoprotein [HDL]), and higher the bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein [LDL]). That increases the risk of coronary heart disease, causes hardening of the walls of the arteries and increases risk of colon cancer.
So what is better, butter or margarine? I would say; avoiding spreads with Hydrogenated oil or Trans fats would be a healthy choice. Many margarine producers nowadays are lowering the saturated fats, calories counts and no Trans fats. It would be advisable to check the label.
You may also opt for healthier alternatives to margarine like vegetable oil spread or dipping your bread in olive oil. However it is good advice to stay away from the refined oils. No matter the choice you take, the most important thing is to limit the intake of saturated fats and avoid the Trans fats at all cost.