Stick to the real thing: 10 natural foods to eat instead of margarine
12/23/2020 / By Leslie Locklear / Comments
Stick to the real thing: 10 natural foods to eat instead of margarine

Many government health organizations have advocated the use of margarine in cooking as a way to avoid the purported negative effects of butter on one’s health.

But as it turns out, the reverse is actually true: margarine may in fact, cause more harm to the body than the product it was meant to replace.

What is margarine?

Margarine’s origins can be traced back to France, where it was developed by the chemist Hippolyte Mege-Mouries in response to an order by Emperor Napoleon III which called for the development of a cheap butter alternative that could be used by French workers and his armies in the Franco-Prussian war.

But far from being the vegetable-based concoction we now know, Mege-Mouries’ original margarine consisted of beef tallow churned with milk. This went unchanged until the 1930s, when the Great Depression forced manufacturers to use vegetable oils such as soybean and safflower.

Since then, margarine has become a widely used alternative to butter, one that is often marketed as being a “healthier” version of the latter.

What are the negative effects of margarine on the body?

Despite being marketed as a healthy alternative to butter, margarine is actually linked to several health risks, most of which are caused by its manufacturing process.

Margarine owes its butter-like consistency and higher melting temperature to a process called hydrogenation, which involves the introduction of hydrogen molecules into the oils. This process effectively renders the oils stable at room temperature, thus ensuring a longer shelf-life for the final product.

But hydrogenation also results in the creation of harmful compounds called trans fats which recent research has linked to an increased risk of heart diseases and other health issues because of its ability to raise levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol.

Aside from raising one’s risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular problems, here are other health problems posed by margarine consumption:

Margarine is packed with bad fats

Most of the margarine on the market is made with a vegetable oil base. This base, depending on the brand, is usually a blend of soybean, canola, palm and sunflower oils.

These oils, as noted by experts, are predominantly made up of polyunsaturated fats which are easily oxidized through heat and light. This is dangerous, according to research, since oxidized fats can actually increase inflammation in the body.

In addition, most of the margarine currently being sold on the market are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which are linked to all sorts of illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and arthritis.

Margarine severely lacks essential vitamins and minerals

Unlike butter, which is rich in fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K as well as other essential nutrients and minerals, margarine in its natural state is almost devoid of nutrients. In fact, some manufacturers end up bumping their products’ nutrient content with synthetic forms of vitamins A, and D.

Most of the margarine on the market are made from GMOs

Most of the margarine that are available on the market are made using safflower, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils.

Unfortunately, most of these crops are genetically modified organisms (GMOs), deliberately engineered to make them toxic to pests while at the same time, resistant to commercial weed killers.

GMOs, according to a study, can have harmful effects on the human body, as their consumption can cause the development of diseases that are immune to antibiotics.

Most commercially-available margarine are packed with preservatives

Aside from adding synthetic vitamins to margarine, most manufacturers also add preservatives to their products in order to ensure longer shelf life.

One such preservative is butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), which is usually added to prevent oils in food products from oxidizing and becoming rancid.

BHT, despite being constantly touted as being ‘safe’, is actually linked to the development of bladder cancer in rats.

Which food products can I use as a substitute for margarine?

Because of the potentially harmful effects that trans fats pose to the human body, many food products are now being repurposed as healthy alternatives to margarine, most of which are readily available and affordable.

With that being said, here are some alternatives that you can instead of margarine:


The product margarine was originally meant to replace, butter is rich in nutrients and beneficial compounds like butyrate and conjugated linoleic acid which are both linked to several health benefits including reducing one’s risk for developing certain cancers, obesity and diabetes.

Butter, however, is still high in calories and saturated fat and should be enjoyed in moderation.


Sometimes referred to as clarified butter, ghee is made by cooking butter for a long period of time and by straining out nearly all of its milk solids and water.

A staple in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, ghee is known for several health-supporting properties such as its ability to stave off cancers and chronic inflammation, among others.


Also known as the alligator pear, the avocado is the only fruit that provides a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).

A naturally nutrient-dense food, the creamy flesh of the avocado contains nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, all of which are linked to potential health benefits including improvements in digestion and cognition.

Want a quick snack? Mash the flesh from an avocado and use it as a spread on some whole wheat toast. You can also use it as a substitute for margarine when baking pastries such as brownies.

Soft tofu

Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It is also a valuable plant source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese and phosphorus. In addition to this, it also contains magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. These nutrients, according to research, are linked to several benefits, such as staving off the development of breast cancer in women.

Much like avocados, soft tofu can be mashed and used as an additive to brownies and other tight-crumbed pastries.

Cream cheese

Cream cheese is primarily a source of healthy fats, although it does contain a small number of carbs and protein. Commonly used in pastries such as cheesecakes and as a spread, cream cheese is also considered to be a good source of vitamin A. It also contains vitamin B2, as well as the essential minerals calcium, phosphorus, and sodium.

Olive oil

Olive oil is a major component of the Mediterranean diet and is known for being incredibly rich in antioxidants that can help protect the body from cellular damage.

A vegan alternative to margarine, this tasty and savory oil can be used in recipes for spreads and dips or even drizzled on freshly baked bread and rolls.

Unsweetened organic applesauce

Apples are among the most nutritious fruits in existence, with the fruits known to be incredibly high in fiber and vitamin C. Not only that, but apples are also rich in polyphenols, which function as antioxidants

This means that eating applesauce—especially one that’s made using the whole fruit—can help reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Organic prunes

Prunes are incredibly rich in essential nutrients such as the minerals calcium, potassium and iron. Not only that, but prunes also contain high amounts of retinol, vitamin K, most of the B vitamins and beta-carotene.

These nutrients, according to research, are the reason behind the fruit’s impressive slate of benefits, such as healthy vision, optimal bone health and healthy digestion.

Coconut oil

Considered by many to be a superfood, coconut oil contains a cornucopia of important nutrients, all of which are linked to several health benefits.

For instance, coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) such as caprylic acid, lauric acid and capric acid. These fatty acids, according to researchers, have positive effects on the body, such as boosting fat loss and improving one’s heart health and cognition.

Almond butter

A tasty and flavorful treat, almond butter is a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, copper, vitamin B2, and phosphorus. In addition, almond butter is also a great source of monounsaturated fat, protein, and fiber—all of which are essential for optimal heart health.

When it comes to adding food to our diets, it is best to not be swayed by empty health claims and instead, pick whole foods in order to gain the most amount of nutrients and their corresponding health benefits.

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