What is better – butter or margarine? The long discussion continues on whether you should eat margarine or butter.
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. It was not as popular as had been anticipated with these birds. To increase its appeal a yellow colouring was added to it to make it look like butter. Since the early days, some clever new flavourings have been added to it.
What is the difference between margarine and butter?
Both have the same amount of calories. Butter is higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine. On the other hand, eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.
Butter arguably tastes better, increases the absorption of some nutrients in other foods and has more nutritional benefits than margarine, however, margarine, being softer, is easier to use. Butter has been around for centuries whereas margarine for hundreds of years.
What should you choose?
In Ayurvedic terms, butter is thought to be healthier food than margarine as it has more nutritional value. It is given in extra doses to those who want to increase weight as it is a Kapha increasing food.
In Ayurveda, it is thought that there are three energies in food-Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Kapha foods are those with the heavier elements of water and earth and consequently help put on weight. Vata foods have the lightest elements of air and space and would be more suitable if you want to lose weight and Pitta energy foods have the medium elements but more fiery element of fire and some water in them.
Margarine is higher in trans fatty acids. This can significantly increase the risk of coronary heart disease and increase total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lower HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol). Margarine is also thought to increase the risk of cancers by up to five times and decrease immune response.
Overall butter has more advantages over margarine but ultimately people quite often decide on taste, price and convenience.