Butter vs. Margarine

What is the difference between butter and margarine? We all use butter and margarine on a daily basis,…

What is the difference between butter and margarine?

We all use butter and margarine on a daily basis, whether it is to spread on toast or a bagel or to use in cooking recipes. Even though many people think they are the same, they are two different products. Butter is natural and is made from animal milk, usually that of a cow, but it can come from goats, camels or other animals. Margarine is a manufactured product and the process of making it is very complicated. They are both a good source of fats and they are both used in making other food products.


Butter is a dairy product and is used as a spread and in making sauces and for baking. It is made up of butterfat, water and protein. It is generally used in its pure form, but sometimes preservatives are added to give it a longer shelf life. At room temperature it is soft and melts in high temperatures, but in cold areas, such as in the refrigerator it solidifies. The color can range from white to yellow and depends on the diet of the animals from which the milk is obtained.

You will obtain 420 kilojules of energy from one tablespoon of butter. This comes from saturated fats and is a source of cholesterol. This is why one should not consume too much butter. It has been linked to cardiac problems and obesity. Ghee is a product that is made from butter, but it doesn’t contain anything other than butterfat.


The manufacture of margarine dates back to 1869 when it was first developed as an alternative to butter. There are many different varieties available in the dairy section of the supermarket. It is made from vegetable oil with hydrogen gas being passed through the oils to turn them from liquids to solids.  Margarine does not contain any cholesterol and there are very little, if any, saturated fats.

The fats that are found in margarine are poly saturated fats and these are really unhealthy. Some manufacturers do add Vitamins A and D to the product to enhance the amount of nutrition it contains. Salt and coloring agents are preservatives to allow it to last longer in your refrigerator. The fat the is found in margarine is very unhealthy for diabetics because it increases the level of insulin in the blood.

The difference between butter and margarine

Butter and margarine are similar in the way they are used an in the fact that they have equal amounts of calories. However, butter is an animal product because it is made from milk. Margarine is an alternative to butter and comes from vegetable oils. Butter has saturated fats and cholesterol, but margarine has trans fat and does not have any cholesterol. Butter tastes better, but neither of them is recommended for frying. Margarine tastes better than butter and lasts longer. While doctors recommend using margarine because it reduces the risk of heart disease, it can lead to diabetes.


The body needs to have fats and both butter and margarine satisfy this need. Because it does not contain any cholesterol, margarine is considered the healthier of the two. Butter is rich in saturated fats and margarine contains trans fats. Margarine is tastier than butter.



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