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Margarine Ingredients

Margarine Ingredients
Have you always wondered about what the various ingredients in margarine, the popular butter substitute are? This article will hopefully quell your curiosity about margarine and its nutrition.
NutriNeat Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Margarine is a very general term that has been used to refer to a wide range of butter substitutes. Margarine owes its existence to the discovery of margaric acid, by Michel Eugene Chevreul in 1813. But this acid was categorized as one of the three fatty acids. It was Wilhelm Heintz who discovered that margaric acid was simply a combination of stearic acid and palmitic acid. Hippolyte Mege-Mouries rose up to the challenge that Emperor Napoleon III threw open in 1869, demanding a substitute for butter for the use of the army and lower classes. He invented the substance oleomargarine, which is now widely known as margarine. Today, margarine is a staple in most households, and is a very popular butter substitute, despite the many arguments about it.
Ingredients in Margarine
The basic ingredients of margarine are:
  • Natural plant and seed oils
  • Vitamins A & D
  • Color and flavor
  • Additive
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Water
So, now that we know what is margarine made of, let us try and understand the basic method of how to make this spread using the various ingredients. The method of making margarine is very simple. It involves making an emulsification of purified vegetable oils and skimmed milk, and then cooling it to form a solid with improved texture.
Margarine is made of many different types of natural seeds, which are crushed to extract the oils from them. Generally, the oils that are used are either canola or sunflower oils, which are widely called good oils because of the high nutritional content and their numerous health benefits. It is after this process that the various other additives, color, flavor, milk, salt, and water are added. The additives added depend on the manufacturer. These additives are important to increase its shelf life, and the colors and flavors enhance the taste, making it more appealing to consumers. The mixture is then chilled to create the smooth spread of margarine that we enjoy so much. There are three types of margarine that are commonly preferred by people the world over.
  • Traditionally made margarine which contains saturated fats, and was primarily made of vegetable oils.
  • Margarine blends that are high in content of monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats.
  • Margarine which has a hard texture and no color, generally used for cooking and baking.
Nutrition Facts
Traditionally, margarine contained almost 80% fat, but with increasing health consciousness amongst people, manufacturers have started producing low-fat margarine spreads. Margarine contains almost 50% saturated fats, which is a blend of both liquid vegetable oil and hardened oils prepared by hydrogenation. The fat content widely depends on the kind of vegetable oil that has been used to prepare the spread. Many oils like sunflower, safflower, and olive oils are very rich in unsaturated fats, and during the production of margarine, these unsaturated fats are converted to saturated fats or trans fats. This is a deliberate process, so that they obtain a higher melting point and remain in their solid form at room temperature. Margarine also has an extremely high content of Omega-6 fatty acids. When initially introduced, it was rich in trans fats created by the solidification of liquidized form of vegetable oil to form a spread. Trans fats have the tendency to increase the LDL cholesterol in the body, and reduce the HDL cholesterol. This negative effect has resulted in the manufacture of non-hydrogenated margarine, which contains no trans fats, and is therefore healthier than the margarine that was available earlier. Given below is a table that lists out the total fats and cholesterol in one tablespoon of margarine. This is in comparison to the recommended intake of total fats and cholesterol for a healthy individual between the age of 22 and 50.
Recommended Intake Margarine (Soft Tub) (1 tbsp) Margarine (Stick) (1 tbsp)
Calories 2100 Kcal 60 Kcal 101 Kcal
Total Fats 70 g 6 g 11 g
Saturated Fats 23 g 1 g 2 g
Trans Fats 2.3 g 0 - 0.5 g 3 g
Cholesterol Less than or equal to 300 mg 0 mg 0 mg

One of the most popular butter substitutes in the world, the ingredients list will also differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, due to the variety of vegetable oils used for making the same.