Butter Vs Margarine

31 Jan


Image courtesy of pinterest


Ok. So the other night, I was on the couch relaxing and watching some TV with hubby (read – staring mindlessly in front of me because I now can’t remember the show or channel I was watching but in all likelihood it was probably something to do with cooking) when an ad came on that absolutely horrified me.

It was an ad for Meadow Lea margarine and the catch of the ad was a little girl walking and carrying a lump of ‘fat’ and saying “gee, I’m glad my mum made the switcheroo from butter to Meadow Lea”.  I was in shock.  Firstly, completely wrong and misleading information. Secondly, what sort of message are we trying to send to kids who are at an impressionable age and should not be worrying about what makes us fat (the little girl in the ad would be no more than 7-8 years old?) especially as butter is not the food that will be ‘making her fat’ and we have enough body issue problems created by the media as it is! This is just blatantly irresponsible.



Image courtesy of pinterest

I posted my outrage on my facebook page Naughty Naturopath Mum and Essence Practitioner and the response I received was overwhelming. All of my likers were in agreement with me and hated the ad as much as I.  One of my likers comments made me sad and then happy.  She has 2 little girls, one of them said “oh no mummy, will butter make us fat?” Her sister replied before mum could “No, margarine gives you cancer, butter is better.”  

Now I’m not wanting to be a sensationalist but she might be right.

Butter is better than margarine but let’s look at why.

So first, lets look at butter.

It is a real food.  It is made from cow’s milk and the only thing added to the churning process of cream into organic butter is salt.  Yes, it contains saturated fat, and back in the 50’s people started to wig out about the fact that too much saturated fat can cause heart disease.

So enter margarine, a spreadable chemical version of butter that had to be coloured yellow (from grey) so people would be comfortable using it.  They unfortunately overlooked the trans fat issue which we are very much more aware of today and which I will expand on further down.

“Then the hazards of margarine came to light. Its high levels of trans fats packed a double whammy for heart disease by raising levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowering levels of HDL (good cholesterol). Many people felt betrayed or duped.

The truth is, there never was any good evidence that using margarine instead of butter cut the chances of having a heart attack or developing heart disease. Making the switch was a well-intentioned guess, given that margarine had less saturated fat than butter, but it overlooked the dangers of trans fats.”

Excerpt from Harvard University Health site, to read full argument click here

Margarine … Think of a tub of margarine as a big block of trans fat — hydrogenated oil helps liquid oils to be solid at room temperature, and is a key ingredient in margarine. Trans fat adversely affects both bad (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL), as well as increasing triglycerides, lipoprotein, and inflammation.  This sets people up for the common health issues of today – heart disease, arthritic conditions, auto-immune issues, poor cognitive function and mental illnesses and the list goes on.



Now my argument for butter over margarine is also vindicated by the fact that in today’s age, we have genetically modified ingredients starting to appear in our ‘foods’. Plant crops around the world (mostly in America at this stage) are being genetically modified to enable farmers to grow more, harvest faster and use less pest control (good for the farmers, not so good for us).

And what oils (that have been hydrogenated, therefore making them a trans fat) are used to make these margarine spreads? Canola, Soybean, Corn and Sunflower oils.  Guess which plants are among the highest GM crops?

You guessed it!

Those I just mentioned above.

Scientific studies have shown that rats fed a diet of genetically modified plants such as these grew tumors.   This is a study done with a control group of rats under the very same conditions apart from diet, and they did not grow tumors.  To read an article on this study, click here.




Fortunately, we have come a long way since the fear of ‘fat making us fat’ of the 1950’s and the real culprits of today’s society’s health issues are coming to light – Trans fats and sugar.

The fact that fat was taken out of our foods and replaced by hydrogenated oils and sugar (to replace flavour that fat provided) has shown with time that obesity, auto-immune issues and heart disease have been steadily increasing.

Some health experts have known this for a long time but now their voices are louder and more prevalent and we as a society are taking more notice.



Image courtesy of pinterest

The above picture is of Sally Fallon and she is holding one of my favourite books “Nourishing Traditions“.

She is of the same opinion, that I am vouching for now, and her book was published in 1999 and was a text for me during my Naturopathy studies which I commenced in 1997.

Good timing for me as I was on her bandwagon as soon as this book was devoured!

Fast forward to today, mainstream society, science and medical doctors are understanding it is not ‘fat’ making us fat but sugar and trans fats (which coat our cell walls in a hard layer turning them from a semi-permeable membrane that is used to pass nutrients back and forth to a wall that nothing gets through therefore not being able to take in vital nutrients from our food into our cells or expel waste product properly).

Australians who have gained popularity by researching and publishing this lately and who you might want to check out for for further reading are –

Cyndi O’Meara Nutritionist and founder of Changing habits, Changing Lives

Christine Cronau Nutritionist and author of The Fat Revolution Series

David Gillespie author of Sweet Poison

Sarah Wilson author of  the I Quit Sugar programme

Ok, enough about sugar and what’s making us ‘fat’.  Back to Butter vs Margarine one more time……

This is how margarine is made in a factory…..


….and here is a link for how you can make butter at home, from 2 ingredients….


for recipe, click here – http://www.cookyourdream.com/2012/01/homemade-butter.html

For Quirky Jo’s thermomix recipe to make butter from pure cream, click HERE

Now, I’m not suggesting you go and slather great gobs of butter on everything you eat.  Balance and moderation is the key always.  But if keeping saturated fats down to stay slim and healthy by buying margarine and low fat foods that are packed with trans fats and sugar, well, you are just doing yourself more damage.

Those needing alternatives to both butter and margarine, I suggest –


nut butters

extra virgin olive oil, macadamia oil, coconut oil/butter (you can even refreigerate cubes of these oils in an ice tray to use as needed)

a good home-made hummus! For a very delicious hummus recipe and other snack spread ideas, click here – Mamacino Hummus

And if the ‘easy spread’ idea of margarine is what keeps you buying it, simply blend your organic butter with extra virgin olive oil or macadamia oil at home in a thermomix, blender or food processor.

Just start adding the oil into the cut up pieces of butter, little by little until you have your desired consistency and store in a glass dish . Bang. Spreadable butter from the fridge.

And to conclude, I will use the words of Julia Child

“Butter makes everything taste better”

An amazing campaign has been in the spotlight of late run by Jessie Reimers of Get a Fresh Start and she has started a petition to ask the heart foundation to stop putting their ‘tick’ on highly processed food, in particular margarine. 

Please sign the petition so maybe one day people will stop buying this non-food with the idea in mind that they are doing something ‘healthy’ for themselves and their family.  

I really urge you guys, PLEASE, if you have made it this far in the reading, please click here to sign this very important petition as it really depends on continued momentum for it to do any good in the long term.  

Many people, including important people in the  health industry have signed already, Christine Cronau, Sarah Wilson and Cyndi O’Meara to name just a few, but they are only 1 person each.  

The real power  lies with the masses – that is us!

Please take the time to sign – Petition to help stop the endorsing of unhealthy foods by the heart foundation and why not forward this on to people who you know that would also care enough to sign?

Yours in health,

Alisha x



55 Responses to “Butter Vs Margarine”

  1. The Yogic Housewife January 31, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Seriously margarine is the most awful non-food there is!!!

    Sent from my iPhone

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum January 31, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      As my papa used to say – Preaching to the choir Nicola 😉

  2. Nikki@WonderfullyWomen January 31, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    I am with you, butter tastes and is better, it is certainly the only thing we use our house 🙂

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum January 31, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

      Thanks Nikki, and yep couldn’t agree more x

  3. Natural New Age Mum January 31, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    You explained that so well… great blog and I shared it. Disregarding all the health info, butter tastes so superior to margarine anyway!!

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum January 31, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

      Thanks so much for sharing on your page Sonia, I’m so grateful xxxx

      • Natural New Age Mum January 31, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

        it’s a pleasure…. great to get the word out there 🙂

  4. Claire T January 31, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    I was a big fan of butter but have been diagnosed lactose intolerant so have had to give it up. Really dont like marg much but if I want to bake etc I have no option. Interestingly almost all marg contains milk products. I have finally found an olive oil based one to use but it does not taste very nice. Would love to know what other who cannot have dairy do.

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum January 31, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

      The best replacement of butter I have found for baking is coconut oil or coconut butter. It is heat stable and when you buy the extra virgin coconut oil, there is no ‘coconutty’ taste so can be used in anything. I personally like the coconut taste in a lot of my recipes but it’s good to have the option. Banaban is the best brand of coconut oil I have tried 🙂

      • Natalie August 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

        Is it an exact quantity swap? Ie if the recipe calls for 185g butter, do you use 185g coconut butter? Thanks 🙂

      • Naughty Naturopath Mum August 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

        Yep, you got it Natalie! 🙂

    • Anne-Marie January 31, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

      I use coconut oil and or butter i my baking. there are many many recipes out there in cyber world, in particular on the vegan pages on facebook.

    • Julia February 1, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

      A lot of cakes work well with a mix of banana and coconut oil substituted for butter, milk and egg and it increases the moisture for Gluten free recipes as well.

    • Terri newton April 7, 2013 at 6:32 am #

      Use lard in sweet baking, or macadamia nut oil, or coconut oil, or tallow. You may also find that you do okay with ghee (clarified butter) which you can mix with macadamia nut oil to make it spreadable from the fridge)

  5. Kristin from mamacino January 31, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    You don’t have to twist my arm to get me to use butter…a little bit goes a long way…great post! And I’m glad you like my hummus xx

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum January 31, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

      I certainly didn’t think I would need to twist Mamacino’s arm on this debate! And yep, scrummy hummus!

  6. Angela Sinclair January 31, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Butter is better ! No contest. Great article Thanks!

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum January 31, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      Thanks Angela, glad you liked it x

  7. SJ Boehm January 31, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    I just made a spreadable butter tonight to replace margarine in our house, it is organic butter mixed with cold-pressed flaxseed and cold pressed macadamia oil – you keep it in the freezer. I can’t wait to try it.

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum January 31, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

      That sounds fantastic!

  8. Carlie January 31, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    I thought exactly the same thing when I saw the ad for the first time the other day!!! And for the many people out there who have no idea (not necessarily their fault) about margarine the ad is very very dangerous in giving wrong and misleading information!!

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum February 1, 2013 at 7:09 am #

      Yep, companies can stoop pretty low Carlie, but it’s great that our voices can be heard so easily now, well read anyway 😉

  9. Jo January 31, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Great post…those advertisers pimping to our kids…criminal.
    Thanks for taking the time to draft that long and informative post…will share 🙂

  10. Julia February 1, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Just posted this in response to the article on The Kids Menu.

    I note that in, in this article, you outline the negative aspects of butter AND the negative aspects of margarine and basically come to the conclusion that neither are particulartly good for you and that alternatives should probably be sought. In contrast, the Naughty Naturapath Mum, whilst vilifying margarine also praises butter. This is not a criticism of either article, just an observation that the articles are not a true A vs B argument. Thanks for the info both of you.

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum February 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

      Thanks for your feedback Julia. You are probably quite correct, It is not exactly a topic with arguments raised and exact rebuttals in place. Nikki and I wrote about this topic separately and privately and neither had read each other’s articles until they were published simultaneously and everyone else was reading them too. We both just thought it would be fun to take our sides and put them forth, we hope it helped some people out there or maybe even affirm their own beliefs which were already in place. Alisha x

  11. Nicole Miles February 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Hi! I am very confused about coconut oil. My father was told by his nutritionist that coconut oil is not a “heart healthy” oil to use and especially not good for weight loss. I have others who swear by it and I would live to know the pros and cons of it! Cheers

  12. Bill February 11, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Hello Alisha. You are obviously very concerned about trans fats, and rightly so – they increase the risk for heart disease more than any other fat. However, comments suggesting that margarine is ‘a big block of trans fats’ are misleading.
    The adverse effects of trans fats on heart disease risk were discovered in the early 1990s. In Australia, trans fats were removed from leading brands of margarine in the mid-1990s. Nearly all leading brands now state ‘virtually free of trans fats’, or something similar, on the labels and have done so for 15 years.
    There should also be some mention of the trans fats in butter, which comprise about 3-5% of butter fat. These trans fats arise from the partial hydrogenation of fats in the rumen of the cow. Cows are like big hydrogenation vats – they eat large amounts of polyunsaturated fats in grass and grain, and these are converted to saturated and trans fats, which turn up in the meat and milk. Butter is a highly hydrogenated product. It’s low in the essential fats, high in saturated fat and contains trans fats. This is not a very healthy cocktail. Regards, Bill.

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum February 11, 2013 at 11:38 am #

      Hi Bill, thanks for your input, I thought you might be interested in some further reading on butter?
      Regards, Alisha

    • Terri newton April 7, 2013 at 6:54 am #

      Hydrogenation is done by subjecting oils to high pressures in the presence of hydrogen. How are the natural trans fats hydrogenated? Also last time I checked grass does not have lots of polyunsaturated fats. Grains are another story and are not beneficial for cattle, especially at feedlot quantities and do negatively affect milk and tallow quality. Natural trans fats are protective and in no way the same as industrial trans fats. Natural trans fat is called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vaccenic acid (VA), and both of these have been shown to be extremely beneficial for cholesterol, heart health and even cancer prevention. CLA is also sold as a weight loss supplement, with trials supporting these claims.

      • Naughty Naturopath Mum April 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

        I wholeheartedly agree Terri, I feel that point needs a whole blog by itself, it was hard enough to stop where I did with a lot of points but blogs can turn into essays or books if you let them!! Thanks so much for your educated and valuable response, Alisha x

  13. Shari February 15, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    I’ve only made butter from scratch once and it was sensational, it reminded me just why I’m not a margarine fan. Very informative post – thanks 🙂

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum February 15, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed Shari! Thanks for your feedback x

  14. Grace February 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Love that Julia Childs quote. We’ve been a butter family for a while now. Tastes so much better

    • thenaughtynaturopathmum February 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by and your comment Grace! Yes, there really is no argument which is better is there? X

  15. Jen March 7, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    There’s nothing natural about factory farmed dairy products. In fact, as the only species that consumes the milk of another species, there’s nothing natural about humans drinking cows’ milk at all. Also, from a perspective of compassion and environmental awareness, dairy is a bad choice (please see UN and Carnegie Mellon reports on livestock production outlining the devastating effects on the environment). Not to mention the bovine growth hormones and bacteria found in milk (one of the sources being pus from the poor cows’ mastitis from being forced to produce unnatural amounts of milk). There’s also nothing natural or kind about separating a mother from her babies – both the cow and her calf will outwardly grieve for days after separation. The calves not chosen to be inhumanely raised as veal, are killed as “waste”. Dairy cows only live for about a third of their natural lifespan due to the toll producing unnatural amounts of milk takes on their bodies.

    There’s also much misinformation in this post regarding margarine, particularly in the presence of trans-fats and the natural colour of margarine (which is white through to yellow, depending on the oils). Yes, there are still products on the supermarket shelves containing hydrogenated oils, but they can be easily avoided. I make my own vegan butter alternative from organic coconut oil and a blend of whatever oils I like, such as macadamia, and it is naturally golden in colour and really delicious! Importantly, it doesn’t contain palm oil, which is also a product causing devastating environmental effects and contributing to the endangerment of important species such as the orangutan. I appreciate that your butter vs. margarine argument is not coming from a perspective of compassion or sustainability, but even from a health aspect, there is plenty of room for debate. Not all plant based oils and butters are good for you, but the ones that are healthy are universally considered to be better for you than dairy fat.

    • Naughty Naturopath Mum March 7, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Jen, I appreciate your point of view, thanks for sharing it! Alisha

  16. Janelle March 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Ditto to all of the above… I gagged when I first saw that ad. Horrifying to say the least! I’m so glad that people of integrity, knowledge (and the qualifications to go with) and determination have made a stand. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ad is removed.. I’ve heard such a backlash about it from many .

    • Naughty Naturopath Mum March 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

      Hi Janelle, so glad to have your comments and feedback. I really hope something get’s done about this, Alisha x

  17. sammy gabriel March 18, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    Thank you for your input , I have always believed natural foods were better for me , my doctors seem to differ , they tell me to change to margarine , I is good to have my beliefs validated ,thank you !! Sam

    • Naughty Naturopath Mum April 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      I’m so glad you came across this info then Sam! Alisha ps. Great name! Same as my 1 year old son!

  18. Clare September 3, 2013 at 10:08 pm #

    Interesting. However really not sure sarah Wilson qualifies as a health expert. Weakens your argument

    • Naughty Naturopath Mum September 4, 2013 at 8:23 am #

      Thanks for the feedback Clare however, I don’t refer to Sarah Wilson as a health expert but someone who has made the sugar/fat debate more mainstream!

  19. mathew thomas September 4, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    great post! however found a smal bit of misinformation, some (im not saying all because i really dont know) gm crops allow the use of more chemicals and pestsicides, the gm modification is to make the plant imuune to the use of pestisides, the only benifit the

  20. Stan Slusarski September 4, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    I have been using Canola and Olive Oil based Margarine for as long as I can remember and my Cholestorol level is perfect..Not bad for a 62 year old guy.I am diabetic drink Coke Zero and my last 3 month average sugar level was 5.8.

    • Naughty Naturopath Mum September 4, 2013 at 8:17 am #

      Hi Stan, that’s great! However margarine won’t affect your cholesterol as such but be more likely to set up inflammation in the body. So if you are ever experiencing joint pains, skin flare ups like eczema or psoriasis and autoimmune issues such as diabetes! Then these are the conditions we attribute to trans fat and hydrogenated oil use. Coke zero and the aspartame it contains are proven carcinogenics so i would urge you to re-think that choice too…but if you are happy and healthy then you need to live your life as you see fit – many aren’t as blessed as yourself 🙂

  21. Anna September 4, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Have you seen the latest one of these ads? The kids use some fat hate bullying word like “fateroos” or “fattytutus” – can’t remember exactly what it was – when they throw the fat in the bin. Double disgusting – promoting frankenfood for kids, body hate AND bullying.

    • Naughty Naturopath Mum September 4, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      They are absolutely despicable Anna – I have seen one recently where they dump fat in a bin and say “see you later fatulater!!”

  22. Author Bek Mugridge (@bekmugridge) September 5, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Great post Alisha XX


  1. My Happy Pills | naughtynaturopathmum's Blog - March 10, 2013

    […] And last but not least, I am so happy to have come across Jessie from Get a Fresh Start as she has started a petition to appeal to the heart foundation to stop advertising margarine as a healthy or good option to be using.  This was so exciting for me as I believe so strongly that margarine which unfortunately is a staple in many households is being used daily in the diets of so many people that are perhaps unaware of the detrimental affects of this plastic non-food.  I urge you to read my ‘Butter vs Marg’ blog by clicking here. […]

  2. The Diet Dictocrats and Politically Correct Lies Surrounding Saturated Fats and Nutrition | The Healthy, Allergy Free Home - March 10, 2013

    […] According to Dr Sandra Cabot’s latest book, Cholesterol: The Real Truth (which I highly recommend purchasing and reading) The fats in margarine are heavily processed, rancid and create free radicals (inflammation) in your body. Most margarine contains trans fats which raise LDL and lower HDL- that’s not a good thing!! Margarine has been linked to cancer and cardiovascular disease and is literally poisoning our people. For an excellent article on the margarine vs butter war read http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/12/07/why-is-butter-better.aspx and a blog by a friend of mine https://naughtynaturopathmum.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/butter-vs-margarine/ […]

  3. B is for Butter and a Simple Home Made Garlic Bread. | mamacino - April 7, 2013

    […] article on Butter vs Margerine by Naughty Naturopath Mum has much more detailed information for your […]

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