Blog Archive: margarine

Margarine – Artificial Butter

Margarine is one of the worst spreads you could consider putting on your food or cooking with.

In the 70’s I remember growing up with Fairy margarine for baking and Stork margarine for spreading. I did not like the taste so much and remember a cousin who lived nearby had butter and loved visiting there for that reason.

During the 70’s we were told that butter was bad and margarine was so much better. It does make me wonder if it has in some way contributed to health problems now in our society.

Margarine is still around today but butter is getting a better wrap. I cook with butter and use it as a spread, there is nothing wrong with my cholesterol or that of my husband.


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Where did margarine come from?

Margarine was originally called oleomargarine and was created by a French chemist called Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès in 1869. The original product was made from beef fat as it was less perishable than butter. Over a period of time the beef fat has been removed and replaced by Cottonseed Oil (a poison), vegetable oils and/or soya bean oil. By the time WW1 came around it was almost exclusively made from vegetable oil.

Margarine began to gain popularity thanks to smart marketing, cheaper pricing and during the wars the scarcity of butter. Then when we got to the 70’s the marketing guru’s started telling us that fat would make us fat and margarine was so much healthier for us.

Making margarine

A lot of energy and chemical processes go into making margarine an edible food product. The raw oil is bleached to remove the darkness of the pressed oils. Colour is added to make it look palatable, vitamins added to make us think it has good health benefits, preservatives, maybe some milk solids and some emulsifiers. For example here is a list of ingredients in the very popular brand in Australia Meadow Lea (a whopping 12 ingredients):

Vegetable oils 65% (containing 52% canola & sunflower oil), water, salt, emulsifiers (soy lecithin, 471), preservative 202, food acid (lactic), milk solids, maltodextrin, natural colour (beta-carotene),vitamins A & D, flavour.

Now consider what goes into the creation of butter. Butter is simply the butterfat obtained by the churning of milk to separate the cream from the milk. It is churned until thickened and may have some salt added. No cooking, pressing, adding of preservatives. It is also easy to make at home.  Butter naturally contains:

Vitamins, A, D, E, B12 K2
Omega 3 and 6

If you eat margarine maybe it is time to consider changing to a food that is infinitely more natural and better for you. Better still butter really does taste better.