Diet: butter or margarine?

In Germany it is normal that bread and cheese (or even sausages, you probably already know that I am a committed vegetarian) should have an adhesive to prevent the cheese from falling off. This adhesive is usually butter or margarine. The question of which of the two products is better has been debated for decades. The margarine is purely vegetable, which makes it pleasant at first. Problem: Except for coconut oil, which is solid at room temperature, vegetable fats are always liquid. However, the food industry requires margarine to be firm and spreadable. Therefore, vegetable fats are heated and solidify in this way. However, this produces so-called trans fats, which are a real disaster for our blood vessels. Until a few years ago, most margarines were packed with trans fats. That has changed. Under an EU regulation that came into force last year, the trans fat content cannot exceed two percent per hundred grams of fat. But margarine has another problem, and this is where you as a consumer come in, if you care about your health. When shopping for margarine, you need to read the label and get clarity on the oils the product is made from. Palm oil and sunflower oil are the most widely used. Palm oil is an ecological disaster, and sunflower oil, with its inordinately large amount of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats, can justifiably be described as a disease-creator. So you should leave margarines that contain one of these two oils. There are now manufacturers of organic margarine in particular that use rapeseed oil or coconut oil (caution: don’t confuse good coconut oil with palm oil) and often add ingredients such as almond butter as well. These are margarines that you can buy and eat with a clear conscience.

About butter: To this day, the rumor persists that the saturated fats that make up most of butter are unhealthy. In fact, there is no study that can show that saturated animal fats are harmful to our cardiovascular system. Butter has been thus acquitted for several years. On the contrary, numerous scientific studies indicate that the fatty acids in butter have beneficial properties for health. From a medical point of view, butter is given the green light, even if it can be viewed critically for ethical and ecological reasons.

Bottom Line: Butter has an advantage over most types of margarine. But now there are margarine products that are at least as good as butter. By the way, I love to drizzle my bread with olive oil. Olive oil is my personal favorite oil, its positive properties for our blood vessels are indisputable, and I don’t mind if there is a little oil floating on my plate!


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