Butter or margarine is the new egg-or-chicken question. While you’d see people rooting for butter owing to it being “real food”, you’d also find the margarine loyals who wouldn’t touch a thing with butter. There is certainly a huge difference in taste when butter is kept at a competitive angle with margarine, but what exactly is good for you is the question. Should you be trusting the cows or the Chemist? Let’s have a very basic review which will help all of us decide for ourselves. There are many graphs and studies that speak for butter, but we’ll have our own common take on it. Butter: Better talk about butter first. Butter has been a dietary staple for centuries. All you do is churn the fatty portion or cream of cow’s milk until it turns into butter. That is all that is there. It is a shame how butter has been demonised by the media owing to its contents of both saturated fats and cholesterol. But should you be fearing them? New studies show that there is no association between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, eating saturated fat in controlled proportion improves the blood-lipid profile. It raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and changes the LDL from small, dense LDL (very bad) to large LDL, which is benign. Eating cholesterol-rich food leads to similar improvements. There is one more very important aspect to look into while thinking butter. It is the goodness of butter obtained from grass-fed cows. The health effects of animal food depends on what they eat. As a matter of fact, butter from grass-fed cows contains the following: Vitamin K2 – Very little known, Vitamin K2 is a wonderful vitamin that plays a role in preventing many serious diseases, including Cancer and Osteoporosis. CLA – This fatty acid can have anti-Cancer properties and help lower body fat percentage. Butyrate – A short-chain fatty acid found in butter which is also produced by bacteria in the intestine. It fights inflammation and improve digestive health. Omega-3 – This, I am sure, all of you have heard: thanks to the famous oil brand. Grass-fed butter has less Omega-6 and more Omega-3, which is important for a good lipid profile. In a nutshell, butter looks good by far. Margarine: Now, lets take a look at Margarine. Margarine is made from vegetable oils like soyabean oil or safflower oil. Note that vegetable oils are mostly unsaturated fat, which are then subjected to a hydrogenation process to solidify. What is hydrogenation? Think of it as subjecting the oils to extreme heat, pressure, hydrogen and not to forget a metal catalyst. This process, in addition of solidifying the oils, also prolongs its shelf-life and makes it harder at room temperature. So basically, you have a block of hydrogenated fat, also known as trans-fat, which is highly toxic and is known for playing nuisance with the arteries. Although today many trans-fat-free varieties are available, beware of the ad-gimmick: manufacturers can label their products trans-fat free as long as there is less than 0.5 g of trans-fats per serving! There is one more thing that’s wrong with margarine. The vegetable oils from which they are made are harmful on their own! Oils are the biggest wells of polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acids in the diet, which causes cancer, and the very thing margarine is supposed to prevent is, heart disease. Keeping it Real: It is almost stupid that we’d question butter. Butter has been with us, the culinary folks, for ages. A good-quality butter can indeed boost your health. Our grandmothers used butter, moms did and so do we. It’s only when you try to alter or replicate nature’s own giving is when it all goes wrong. As a matter of fact, it has been proved that a little butter actually aids in preventing heart attacks! There we said it. Personally, we’d stick to real food: food that has been there forever. Why? Because you can trust cows. Anything churned with a touch of hydrogen is not food for us: It is either poison or medicine. We’d love to know your opinion too. Write to us.