When I want to have a simple quick breakfast, I opt for bread and butter. In my head, it’s a light and healthy breakfast. Today, we have several alternatives to butter like cheese, spreads, mayo, cream etc. The closest substitute that we can find has been margarine till date. Margarine has several pros and cons just like our butter.  

Let’s try to understand what constitutes each of the two options and make an informed decision about which one suits us better.  

What is butter?  

Butter is a composition of churned cream and consists of a high amount of saturated fats. It is generally animal fat. If you are consuming butter made from grass-fed cows, it is believed to be healthier and more nutritious than the one from grain-fed cows. They contain a good amount Vitamin K2 and Omega-3. However, the downside of this is that it is high in saturated fats and cholesterol, both of which are linked to a risk of heart diseases.  

What is margarine?  

A look alike of butter, margarine is made of vegetable oils as opposed to saturated fats. It’s generally liquid in consistency which is changed to a solid form through certain processes. It is a processed form of butter unlike the dairy fat-based butter. This is high in polyunsaturated fats which is good for health heart. The amount this fat present depends on the vegetable oil that is used for making margarine. Another good fact about margarine is that it helps to lower the bad cholesterol. But this is not free from cons as well. Here the catch is that during the process of converting margarine to solid form, it is subjected to high heat and pressure resulting in a side product like trans-fat. Since this was really unhealthy, another technique was adopted in which some saturated fat is used and no trans-fat is generated. This is considered a healthier process and trans-fat-free margarines are also available. Also, it is rich in Omega-6 fat and too much consumption of the same can result in chronic inflammation.  

So which is a safer bet?  

Based on their nutritional profiles, it can be deduced that there is no definite healthier alternative to this. If you do not prefer processed foods, opt for dairy based butter (preferably grass-fed cows). And in case you are a fan of margarines, try to look for trans-fat free variants. You can also go for soft/liquid margarine instead of solid ones. Nevertheless, you should limit your consumption of either of the two items.