The old debate over which is better for cooking, butter or margarine, has been rolling on for what seems like forever now! While many are still engaged in the argument, we've gotten out textbooks and done some research so that we can give you the all facts you need to know about cooking with margarine.

Using margarine as a butter substitute for cooking has become more popular in the recent past - why? Because margarine helps you to cook tasty and healthier meals, since it contains less saturated fat than butter. But what exactly is the difference between butter and margarine?

Good quality margarines contain unsaturated fats and less bad saturated fats than butter. Replacing SAFA by MUFA and/or PUFA in your diet helps to maintain a healthy/normal cholesterol level. Most margarines producers now pay special attention to the amount of salt in their margarines and most quality margarines are made with a combination of vegetable oils that naturally contain omega 3 and 6.

Here's what the experts have to say about the differences:

Jennifer K Nelson, R.D, L.D of The Mayo Clinic states that "margarine usually tops butter when it comes to heart health", while the Nordic Nutrition Recommendation report suggests switching to vegetable oil and vegetable oils based fat spreads as part of a healthy diet.

Put simply it looks like this:

Margarine 
- Made from vegetable oil 
- Contains 'good fats' 
- Comes in many different varieties and blends for your needs, tastes and lifestyle requirements

Butter 
- Made from animal fat 
- Contains more cholesterol and higher levels of saturated fats 
- Has a more limited longevity

So we can see why more and more people are making the switch from butter to cooking with margarine every day.

On top of all this there are loads of tasty recipes that you can try using margarine as a butter substitute for cooking.

Cooking with margarine might just re-invigorate your passion for cooking at home, or perhaps it could be the incentive you've been looking for! There are some fantastic buttery-tasting recipes online, made - you guessed it - with no butter! All you need is margarine, flour, caster sugar and an egg yolk: simple! There are loads of other tasty, healthy, margarine-based foods available, both sweet and savoury.

There are also surprising benefits to cooking with margarine; did you know that liquid margarine changes from opaque to translucent when it gets hot enough? So can see immediately when your pan has reached the right temperature. And margarine doesn't spit, like some oils, so it's perfect for all your cooking.

Why not try making the switch at dinner tonight? Try out a new recipe using margarine as a butter substitute for cooking. You never know - it could end up being the healthy change you've been looking for.

As passionate about margarine as she is about cooking, professional chef and home economist Sue Batty has her share of experience in the culinary world. She's a writer of recipe books, a teacher and specialises in food styling and recipe development among many other talents. Find out more about margarine as butter substitute for cooking at http://www.enjoymargarineeveryday.com/cooking-with-margarine

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