Updated on 24. Sep. 2020

Margarine might have cultivated a bad reputation in recent years, but this butter alternative is actually surprisingly healthy. Read up here on why.

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  • ...contains a lot of vitamin A.
    Margarine is a good source of vitamin A, which helps support healthy skin and vision.
  • heart-healthy.
    Margarine contains unsaturated fats, which helps lower "bad" choleterol.
  • a good source of vitamin E.
    Vitamin E is an antioxidant, helping to protect the body's cells against free radical damage.
  • high in calories.
    Margarine is relatively caloric; 1 tablespoon already contains about 100 calories.
  • ...doesn't contain lactose.
    Margarine is dairy-free, so doesn't contain lactose, unlike butter.
  • ...contains almost no cholesterol.
    Unlike butter, margarine contains virtually no cholesterol.
  • ...contains no dietary fiber.
    Margarine contains no dietary fiber, which helps support a healthy digestive system.

What to Know About Margarine

Margarine has been a popular butter alternative for decades, made from vegetable oils but produced with butter flavor for those who are lactose intolerant, watching their cholesterol or simply looking to eliminate dairy from their diet. To make spreadable margarine from liquid vegetable oils, manufacturers used to harden some of the oils contained in margarine before production, converting healthy unsaturated fatty acids into saturated ones to produce a more spreadible product. This process produced so-called trans fatty acids, which were soon deemed harmful, known to raise levels of bad cholesterol and lower levels of good cholesterol. Today, these fats have largely disappeared from margarine as a result of changes in production processes. In order to increase the spreadability of margarine, manufacturers today change the nature of the oils by means of so-called transesterification, a process in which fatty acids change their place within or between fat molecules and in which no trans fatty acids are produced. However just to make sure, it's always better to research the brand of margarine and what kinds of fats it comprises before purchasing.


Margarine was produced by French chemist Hippolyte Mèges-Mouries in 1869. He created the substance in response to a call by Napoleon III for French inventors to produce a cheap butter substitute that could store well on ships during long journeys at sea.


Margarine is produced and available year round.


Margarine has a creamy texture and flavor similar to butter, if more mild.

How Healthy Is Margarine?

While margarine is far from a health food, in general it is considered a healthier option to natural butter. As it is made from vegetable oils, today's margarine usually contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which can reduce bad cholesterol in the body. Butter, on the other hand, is produced with animal fats, which contain saturated fats that can heighten bad cholesterol levels. However this isn't true of all margarines. Some still contain unhealthy trans fats, so it's important to do your research on what kinds of fats certain brands of margarine contain before purchasing.

Calories 50
Protein 0 g
Fat 5.42 g
Carbohydrates .79 g
Fiber 0 g

Cooking and Shopping Tips


Make sure to always do your research before purchasing margarine. New production techniques mean that many brands contain healthy unsaturated fatty acids and no trans fats, however some cheaper brand will still contain unhealthy trans fats. If you're on a diet, many grocery stores also now contain lower fat brands of margarine.


Left unopened in the refrigerator, margarine will stay good for a few months. Once you open the margarine, it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

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