Margarine or Butter? Seriously?

by Suz on October 3, 2011 · 14 comments

in Food, Journalism

I couldn’t help myself.  I read through October’s Issue of “Good Health” magazine today.  Our ideas on what constitutes good health couldn’t be much further apart.

I thought conventional wisdom was starting to come round to realising that natural, animal fat maybe isn’t so bad after all.  Clearly not.

So, let’s compare the ingredients: –


  • Cream

Margarine (this example is Flora)

  • Water
  • vegetable oils (including sunflower oil) (so other vegetable oils are also in the mix, with a high omega 6 ratio)
  • plant sterol esters (12.5%) (this is an additive that reduces cholesterol, but interferes with absorption of fat soluble vitamins & hormones)
  • modified tapioca starch, salt (1.0%) (this is a chemically altered thickener)
  • buttermilk
  • Emulsifiers: Mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids, sunflower lecithin
  • Preservative: Potassium sorbate, citric acid, vitamin E, flavouring (often synthetic chemicals), vitamin B6, folic acid
  • Colour: Beta carotene, Vitamins A, D and B12

So, this article specifically mentions trans fats.  Well, as Julianne Taylor clearly explains, “trans fat free” margarine doesn’t sound too great either.  And as for the trans fat in butter – natural trans fats are created in the stomachs of ruminants (like cows) – and have a completely different fatty acid profile to trans fats found in artificial foods.  A lot of evidence suggests that these natural trans fats may actually be beneficial.

Margarine, seriously?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirley @ gfe October 3, 2011 at 10:56 pm

I’m convinced that most “health” magazines only make their readers patently less healthy. There’s so much more to the reality of butter and margarine than is presented in this article. I wince every time I hear that a cardiologist has recommended margarine to another patient. Great post, but sure wish it was one you didn’t have to write or we didn’t have to discuss.



Suz October 3, 2011 at 10:59 pm

It’s heartbreaking isn’t it, especially considering a lot of people will buy these magazines and follow the advice.
I guess there’s just no money for cardiologists in promoting “real” foods!


Monique October 4, 2011 at 8:07 am

I saw this too and couldn’t believe it!

On a side note, lots of American blogs refer to spaghetti squash as an alternative to spaghetti. Have you ever seen spaghetti squash in Australia?



Suz October 4, 2011 at 4:45 pm

No I’ve never seen it, I’ve tried using the butternut squash we have here – definitely not the same! Surely it must be available somewhere in Australia?!


jillm October 5, 2011 at 7:00 am

Yes, I have seen spaghetti squash. Cucurbita pepo seeds are available from Eden Seeds.


Suz October 5, 2011 at 11:59 am

Great solution – grow your own! I wonder how well the seeds will do in Australia?

I’m going to have to try this as I have so many recipes that call for spaghetti squash.


jillm October 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm

This plant is like a pumpkin vine. Plant seeds in spring. It takes quite a lot of space.


jillm October 5, 2011 at 7:24 am
Suz October 5, 2011 at 11:58 am

It’s horrible stuff isn’t it!


Jen November 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Really interesting, that’s funny, I’ve always had butter never any spreads simply because I just love the taste. So many people make money on these ‘low fat diet’ type foods.
Most of the ‘untouched’ (nothing added) foods don’t have middle men involved.
I love cooking with coconut oil my roasts have a lovely taste.


Suz November 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

The natural foods taste so much better don’t they. Hopefully, eventually, people will realise and start to eat real food again!


Suz November 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

The natural foods taste so much better don’t they. Hopefully, eventually, people will realise and start to eat real food again!


Rose December 8, 2012 at 8:06 am

I have to wonder about the folk who claim they can’t taste the difference between butter and margerine “anyway”. What are they deficient in!


Tina February 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Love reading your posts. We (husband and me) are devout paleos for 2 yrs. Follow Mark Sisson. Butter rules! Well, with coconut oil… and bacon fat… thanks for information on coconut aminos… and all the. great recipes. Great information. We live in Arizona, but I’m from Hawaii. So, much aloha… Tina.


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