Nutrition experts have varying opinions when it comes to butter vs. margarine. But for me, it comes down to a quote I heard about 10 years ago in graduate school:
“Who do you trust more: cows or chemists?”
I’m not sure who said this, but I am sure about the answer. Cows! Chemists are impressive, but nothing they create in a lab is gonna make it onto my morning toast.
Here are my reasons for preferring butter:
- It has only 1 ingredient, or two if you buy salted
- Butter from pasture-fed cows may contain some heart-healthy fats
- I think the taste is far superior to any alternative
- The texture and taste allow you can use less, which keeps calories under control
What to look for when buying butter:
If you choose margarine, look for:
- No “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients list. This is a sign of trans fat. (Even if the label says “No trans fat” there may still be up to 0.5 grams per serving if there is any hydrogenated oil present).
- Earth Balance (the best choice) or Smart Balance.
- Spread rather than sticks. Nearly all the sticks contain hydrogenated oils.
- Organic or Non-GMO.
As with all fats, butter and margarine are high in calories and need to be used in small amounts no matter which you choose.