Dietitian asks, is butter or margarine the better choice?


Whether you choose margarine or butter, use them in moderation. Both products are 100 per cent fat content and both contain 4g of fat per teaspoon or 35 calories in each teaspoon
(5 ml).

When choosing a spread, it depends on a person's medical condition, family history, taste preferences and their overall dietary needs as to which is the best option to use.


Margarine is made from vegetable oils and therefore is loaded in good fats, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which help lower bad cholesterol (LDL). It also naturally contains no cholesterol.
Many margarines are a source of omega 3 fats, which is great for heart health, and serve as a source of vitamin D. If margarine is your choice, still remember to use it sparingly, and tub margarine is a better alternative than block margarine.


It takes 10.2 litres of fresh cow's milk to make a pound (454g) of butter. An old fashioned, natural process, butter does not undergo any hydrogenation. It contains about 50 per cent saturated fats; known collectively as 'bad fats' for our heart health, and does contain cholesterol.

However, new research reveals some hidden benefits naturally found in butter fat.

CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is gaining solid support as a potent cancer inhibitor. Just one teaspoon (5 ml) of butter contains 19mg of CLA. CLA fat may also aid in fat loss and increased muscle mass.

Other micronutrients in butter include sphingolipids and butyric acid (a good saturated fat, because not all saturated fats are bad for us), which also shows cancer inhibiting potential. But that doesn't mean you can layer the butter on thick. If butter is your choice, again, use it sparingly.

With butter or margarine, always remember that moderation wins the nutrition race.

For an individual nutrition appointment, call the Health Centre (SU 020) at 403-329-2484. All sessions are $40 for community members, U of L students and employees.

Diane Britton is the University's on-campus registered dietitian

For a look at the full issue of the December Legend in a flipbook format, follow this link.