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Margarine or Butter: The Heart-Healthiest Spreads (Infographic) HealthHub from Cleveland Clinic

Margarine or Butter: The Heart-Healthiest Spreads (Infographic)

Is margarine or butter better for your heart?

Butter. Yogurt butter. Olive-oil margarine. There’s no end to the variety of spreads available today. How do you know which ones are healthy for your heart?

You can’t go by total fat. If most of the fat is heart-healthy monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat, that’s a good thing. But if there is even a miniscule amount of trans fat, that’s a problem.

Heart & Vascular Institute dietitians Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, and Kate Patton, RD, LD, break down nine types of spreads for you below.

Margarine or Butter: The Heart-Healthiest Spreads (Infographic) HealthHub from Cleveland Clinic


Tags: Be Well e-News, butter, healthy diet, infographic, margarine
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  • MKennedy

    Can somebody supply the numbers and a recommendation for “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” in tub form?

  • Hezi Green

    What kind of fat is in your brain?
    You recommend margarine ? You must be joking. Margarine and health don’t go together. Do your homework !

    • April Spivey

      Margarine goes with being healthy just as well as diet sodas!!! All that wonderful artificial crap o ly helps to line the pockets of these facilities. As long as you stay sick, they can make money!

  • RMurray

    This really feels like very dated research. Many of the more recent studies have put sugar as the main culprit behind clogged arteries, not saturated fat. And just looking at basic stats can be very deceiving. What I find interesting is that it hasn’t been noted that as the fat etc. decreases as you go from butter to the alternate spreads, the sodium increases significantly. So theoretically fixing one problem but adding another.

    I still feel that butter is a far more natural product – take a look at the ingredient list: Cream. Now take a look at the ingredient list of any of the other products on the list. Butter isn’t as evil as it’s been made out to be over the years.

    MKennedy – Take a look at the USDA website and type in margarine – see which of the products comes closest to the various formulas that show up for you “I can’t believe it’s not butter’ butter substitute. The question is, if it’s not butter, then what is it really?


    • Carolyn Brown

      Well said

    • Janice M Giaco

      AGREED, read “Good Calories Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes. This whole “low saturated fat craze” was never proven! I’ve been eating eggs butter and bacon since I was little, I’m 60 yrs old and 118 lb. never had a weight problem and cholesterol is fine…..Sugar, particularly Fructose is the problem.

      • Kandie Long

        Bacon had nitrates and nitrites that are cancer causing

    • william C

      sugar and refined carb are the most dangerous culprits. Butter and eggs have gotten a terribly bad rap over the last few years.New research has shown that any hydrogenated oil or fat is far worse. Even pasteurizing milk products, removing the fat, denatures them and makes them less healthy than their whole counterparts

  • Bert

    I’ve looked at this over simplistic graphic. It leaves too way many questions. Way does this graphic nt show the info for unsalted butter. Too many studies have conclusion which bring to question the use of PUFAs in diets..

  • DaRinda Truesdale Baggett

    I think I’ve just lost my respect for this institution……

  • Sweetooth

    I have not read anything about sugar, directly, but cholesterol synthesized in the liver has been demonstrated to increase LDL by way of fructose overconsumption. At any rate, it may seem that this oversimplified illustration may have negated many substantial studies of late.

    • Janice M Giaco

      Dr Robert Lustig has brought the issue of Sugar to the fore, and it needs to be shouted from the roof tops! Its put in EVERYTHING now because the companies tried to comply with the “wisdom” of low fat everything. Now we are super saturated with sugar everywhere, even in foods you ordinarily would not associate with sweet, like Ketchup…etc…unless you cook everything yourself from natural foods.

      • Kandie Long

        You’re right . . . and buying whole foods and doing your own cooking is the ONLY way to go

  • lifesaver1

    Margarine has way too many artificial ingredients in it to consider it to be healthy!

  • David Byelick

    Wake up! They are all bad for you. In every case 100% of their calories come from fat. No matter the fat you shouldn’t be consuming more then 10% of your calories from fat. This article is like analyzing which bullet is best to use when shooting yourself in the foot. Who cares. The point is not to shoot yourself to begin with. The Cleveland clinic needs to read some of their own staffs books, like Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn’s Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease before publishing this stuff.

  • The_Beating_Edge_Team

    I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to write – I have discussed your comments with our dietitian who sees patients in our Preventive Cardiology Clinic. She stated – This article is strictly discussing spreads. It is not addressing sugars or fructose. This article was written to aid consumers when navigating through the grocery store attempting to make a healthy choice when choose a spread ONLY.

    Butter is a source of saturated fat. despite recent research on fructose, butter and saturated fat ALSO do play a role in elevated LDL cholesterol. If your total saturated fat is mainly within range, butter can safely be used regularly. Although if you are having other regular sources of saturated fat (red meat, cheese, eggs, dark meat or skin, whole milk dairy products) then the amount of saturated fat from butter should be reduced or modified to keep within the restriction of 7 % of total calories from saturated fat.

    That being said the best spread to choose would be the one with the lowest in saturated fat and LEAST amount of artificial ingredients (hydrogenated oils). Such as a butter blended with oil or a yogurt butter if you prefer to stick to butter. We also included non-animal based spreads for those who are vegan and some vegetarians whom choose NOT to eat animal products. In the end it all depends on how much and how often you use it. This article is not endorsing a specific product but just comparing the difference between the various spreads on the market.

    • Fernando Domeniconi

      I love the answer, most people think that everyone is the same. Each person is different and you are just providing general guidelines, here. I had a heart attack 2 years ago and decided to become vegetarian and follow a low saturated fat diet. In conjunction with physical activity and medication, my LDL has never been this low (53 last month), so it’s been working for me… but I would never try to be the owner of the truth like some people here and force my lifestyle on others. Research (but use good sources, please), find the best for you and be happy with that. Some comments are so harsh that it makes me think they are not so sure about their points of view.

  • Terry

    Seriously????? Margarine is like one molecule away from being plastic and it is better for you than butter? UUhhhhhh, no thanks!

    • Fernando Domeniconi

      Sorry, I am a chemical engineer and this is the most absurd misconception I’ve ever read. If you think this way, then water is one molecule away from being sulfuric acid…

  • Lisa Muzic

    Organic grass fed butter on anything BUT bread. Bread is the culprit here, especially the so-called healthy whole grain bread. Stay away from grains- they cause a myriad of problems especially clogged arteries, elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, elevated triglycerides, visceral fat & glycation. 2 slices of whole wheat bread raise blood sugar more than 6 Tbs of sugar!!!

  • Roger Glynn Richardson

    What about sodium content?

  • George

    The Harvard group has published that diary fat is not necessarily bad. Not all saturated fats are the same. I agree with prior posts that these are facts but not based on outcomes.

  • knockdoodle

    They say use margarine instead of butter…I have read for a couple of years now that margarine is made from plastic…In the beginning it was fed to animals and they wouldn’t eat it so they made it into margarine for us humans…

  • Susan

    Hmmm. Look at the sodium content. Looks like butter is my go-to spread for more than just taste!

  • Stephen cohen

    This is a joke. Real food. Butter is heart healthy. Get with the times. Margerine is frankenfoods that promotes imflammation.

  • william C

    Crap. Natural, unprocessed foods are best. Reduce sugar and processed grains is the best policy