Differences Between Butter and Margarine

Both butter and margarine are an amazing ingredient for breakfast or for preparing sauces. Whether you choose one or the other depends on your taste, but you should also be aware of the impact that they have on your health. 
Differences Between Butter and Margarine

Last update: 15 October, 2018

The main difference between butter and margarine is their origin. 

Margarine comes from processed vegetable oils, whereas butter is an animal product. 

The main differences between butter and margarine

Butter has a larger percentage of fats (99 percent), the most predominant is saturated fat. However, margarine contains 80 percent fats, and these are mostly monounsaturated fats and hydrogenated fats. These fats come from the industrial process that makes vegetable oil solid.


Since butter is an animal product, it contains more cholesterol than margarine (0-100 mg).

With respect to micronutrientsboth butter and margarine are great sources of sodium, containing about 800 mg of the mineral, per 100 grams of product.

Moreover, butter is a natural source of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, A and E and carotenes. The latter, along with vitamin A, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, are found in greater quantities in butter, than in margarine.

We can also buy margarine enriched with probiotics, minerals and steroles. This is another option and these products favor a decrease in cholesterol.

So, in conclusion, we may say that both butter and margarine are mainly a source of fat.

One difference between butter and margarine is that the former contains vitamin A and carotenes  and the latter has less saturated fat, but is high in trans fat. 

Impact of butter and margarine on our health

Traditionally, people have always thought that margarine was healthier due to its vegetable origin. When we discovered that trans fats were incredibly harmful to our health, and that saturated fats don’t have a negative impact, opinions started to change.

butter margarine differences

Other studies have also debunked the myth that saturated fats pose a cardiovascular risk. The cholesterol we eat has no connection with the cholesterol produced by our bodies, and this has been proven; it doesn’t negatively impact the health of our heart.

Experts have also demonstrated that there isn’t a correlation between eating butter and heart disease. So, it makes butter a better choice than margarine; especially because of the high trans fat found in margarine.

Butter and margarine are actually two very different foods, even though we use them in similar ways.

According to nutritionists, every food is acceptable in a well-balanced and varied diet. What’s important is moderation and variation. And you should also consume large amounts of plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.

Therefore, by  eating margarine instead of butter, you will significantly reduce your saturated fat intake and increase unsaturated fats. 

On average, margarine provides about 70 percent less saturated fats and 60 percent more unsaturated fat, than traditional butter.

What kind of oils should my margarine contain?

Lastly, how do we know what kind of oils margarine contains? Although it may seem difficult, it’s actually very simple. When the ingredients on the package don’t specify the type of oil, we should assume that it contains saturated fats. The product will contain saturated fats if the oils are coconut, palm or peanut oil.

However, if it was made with olive oil, then we will not be consuming saturated fats; even better if it’s extra virgin olive oil. These are the fats that, “take care of our heart.” We can consume these without concern.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.