Which is More Fattening – Butter or Margarine? And a recipe for Avocado Butter

Avocado Butter

Butter vs margarine – which is more fattening?  It’s a debate that’s all over the internet with some far-fetched, so-called “facts” on both sides of the argument.

The truth?

They’re both fattening.

Butter packs about 100 calories per tablespoon (100% of which are from fat).  And margarine about the same.  Very calorie dense.  Butter-like spreads, depending on the brand and variety, are sometimes a little better in the calorie department, but taking a look at the ingredients we see they are basically just oil, water, natural flavors, and salt.

And oil is 100% refined fat  – not a whole food, not a good source of nutrition, and not very healthy.

What’s more, the calories in butter, margarine, and butter-like spreads come with no fiber and very little nutrition.  But while the calories don’t come with any health benefits, they will feed a healthy serving of fat to your fat cells, and they have a tendency to raise cholesterol levels, increase risk of cancer, increase risk of heart disease, contribute to weight gain, and more.

Which is better - butter, margarine, or avocado butter

But bread without butter?  A dry baked potato?  And what will I put on my corn on the cob?!

We love love love this Creamy Italian Dressing on our baked potatoes! And this Millet Butter is fabulous on corn on the cob.

And for bread? Hooray for avocado butter!!!

Not only does avocado butter offer 19 vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds and some slimming fiber (!), but including avocados in the diet has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and help with weight loss.

And it tastes marvelous!

avocado butter

Avocado Butter

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Condiment
YIELD 4 servings
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  • Cut avocado in half, remove pit, and scoop out flesh. Place in a bowl and mash with a fork until soft and creamy.
  • Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
    Serve immediately.

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  1. 5 stars
    We really liked this once we got over how different it was! I like that its a healthier alternative to butter.

  2. 5 stars
    I liked it too. I made half a recipe so I didn’t have to worry about too many leftovers getting brown.

  3. Is this only used for the day of, or does it last any longer because of the lime juice? Thanks for a yummy looking recipe.

  4. actually the debate is long over… margerine is a horrible thing, not even a food. Butter from cows eating a natural diet (grass, not grains) is healthy! Good quality fat is incredibly important for healthy cells. And good quality fat DOES NOT make you fat… sugar, white flour, and processed foods are the culprits. Healthy fat also has no negative impact on cholesterol, but a corrupted fat like margerine sure does… it raises your HDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) while good butter raises LDL (‘good’ cholesterol). There is soooo much mis-information about this out there!

    1. I agree that sugar, white flour, and processed foods – as well as a great deal of misinformation – contribute to obesity. Good quality fat is indeed essential for healthy cells.

      However, butter cannot be considered a “healthy fat”. Contrary to the recent misinformation spread by the media, numerous scientific studies have repeatedly shown that fats from animal sources (butter, cheese, milk, cream, meat, fish, chicken, etc.) contribute to not only increased levels of LDL cholesterol, but also to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, dementia, and hypertension.

      For example, researchers from Tufts University placed groups of subjects on diets that were equal except for the source of fat used (soybean oil, “squeeze-bottle” margarine, soft margarine, shortening, stick margarine, or butter).

      LDL cholesterol levels were highest among participants who used butter and lowest among those who used the soybean-oil and semi-liquid margarine diets.

      Does this mean oil and margarine are healthy choices? Not at all. As I stated in the post, they are both unhealthy choices. However, this study helps us to see that butter in not the health food that the media is recently making it out to be.

      1. I agree with the first comment. Butter in its natural state is a healthy fat. All things in moderation. We must remember also that food giants have deep pockets…wolves in sheeps clothing. They want to make us sick. Bottom line, stick to foods in their natural state and season with fresh herbs and shine of mom’s secret ingredients. ☺
        Thank you kindly for sharing….I’m making this.

  5. The study you are referring to has been called into question. Let’s first look at bias; the study was funded by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, which are both in turn funded by Pharma. Statins(cholesterol lowering drugs) remain a billion dollar cash cow for the drug companies and they protect these earnings with vigor. Their studies simply cannot be trusted… They have in the past many many times been caught cherry picking data, which alone is enough to render a study invalid. They also have been caught outright falsifying data and bribing officials in regulatory agencies.
    Also, many other experts, and far more qualified proffesionals at that (let’s face it… the medical community knows absolutely zero about nutrition. In fact, following their advice will ultimately result in any manner of inbalance, for which they will promptly prescribe you a drug or 3. Convenient for pharma, isn’t it?) have done studies proving the opposite… that saturated fat FROM GOOD SOURCES(this is key… grass fed dairy butter is healthy, grain fed dairy butter is far less so) not only has no negative effects on CV health but it can lower your cholesterol as well. Google butyric acid and research it’s beneficial effects of intestinal flora… that’s for starters, I got more if you need it. Regards…

    1. I’ve looked at the Tufts study (published in N Engl J Med) more closely and I believe it was sound and unbiased. However, even if we threw out that study, there are numerous other studies that demonstrate the health risks of saturated fat. (For example, The Oxford Vegetarian Study and the Environmental Factors and Cancer of the Colon and Breast study published in the British Journal of Cancer).

      Epidemiologic studies and randomized clinical trials have provided consistent evidence that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat (but not refined carbohydrates) prevents coronary heart disease and other diseases.

      Whether the fat was from grass-fed or grain fed makes no difference. There has been sufficient studies done among people groups whose primary source of animal fat was from grass-fed animals. The greater the portion of their diet composed animal products, they greater the incidence of heart disease.

      I’ve written a post on the subject of butter and saturated fats here if you’d like to read it.

      I’m sure you would agree that we can’t just throw out reams of research that all point to the same conclusion unless we have substantial evidence to the contrary.

      Could you please provide a few studies that show the benefits of butter so we can take a factual look at the other side of this? I realize the media has been touting the benefits of butter for the last year or so, but I would like to see the actual research behind these claims.

      1. sure i can give you some studies, although if you were to just google ‘saturated fat and heart disease’ you would find that most recent studies exonerate fats from CVD. But here are a very few of the thousands of studies out there:

        this study was cited by many different sites, the link above is for a ‘pro-paleo’ website but again, they had nothing to do with the study itself they are only drawing attention to it.


        1. Dave,
          The studies that you cited in your comment were actually the same critically flawed meta-analysis which I referred to in my post about saturated fat and butter.

          Googling “saturated fat and heart disease” brings up this same meta-analysis over and over. It may look like loads of research, but it’s just the same paper.

          A meta-analysis is a form of research that combines data from several studies. To create a reputable meta-analysis the authors need to find all of the pertinent articles on the topic. However, there were several sound and relevant studies that were not involved in this analysis, all of which demonstrated that diets low in saturated fats reduce incidence of heart attacks and/or strokes.

          Even before this paper was published, scientists began pointing out errors in it. If you take a look at the paper in detail you can see that were incorrect numbers pulled from many of the original studies.

          Many scientists called for a retraction of this study.

      2. I know this thread is old but I would just like to say this. You’re adding confusion to the debate. You tout the healthiness of saturated fat yet you post a recipe for avocado and olive oil, of which both are full of what you argue as not being healthy. Ok yes avocado has some added nutrient value but that is beside the point if your argument is about the issue of heart disease. Saturated fat is saturated fat and in my opinion you are cherry picking as well. Grass fed butter also has other nutrients as well. I’m not siding with either or as I like them both but if you have a preference just make that clear and just stop joining in on the confusion debate. Logically it’s not sound and doesn’t make any sense. I would also like to say that countries like France and other Euro countries use plenty of butter, cream, sugar — lots of exotic foods and desserts and I’m assuming in moderation but don’t have the “heart disease” Americans seem to been labeled to have so something else is going on here. I will continue to eat the best sources of butter I can find, avocado and coconut oil (also a so called “healthy SATURATED fat”) and ignore the propaganda techniques that all these big pharma generated “studies” perpetuate. It’s a ridiculous, pointless and obsession creating path to eating disorders.

          1. Dear Mr. Lies,

            I’m wondering if you read the post.

            What I said was:

            1. Oil is a refined food. (Refined foods contribute to many diseases.) Avocados are a whole food. (Whole foods are beneficial for health.) Hence the spread made with a whole food.

            2. Butter is 100% fat with very little nutrition. Whether the cow ate grass or not, there is still very little nutrition compared to what you find in a whole food like avocados, nuts, etc.

  6. This looks good to have on a sprouts and tomato sandwich or something like that but on the rare occasions when I do put Organic Smart Balance on anything it is to eat cornbread with honey or toast with honey or jam. And this spread would NOT work in those cases. 😉

    1. I, personally, prefer fresh avocado or guacamole on sprouts and tomato sandwich. I think this butter tastes great on cornbread or toast! But that’s just my opinion. I hope you can find a way that you like it.

  7. Great article / recipe. Science is sound, nutritional benifits abundant.

    I add a Serrano chile into the blender/processor for a bit of a kick. Great for tacos. Thanks!

  8. I would like to know how long this keeps? Hours like everyother avocado dish or can it hold all day in the refrigerator if i wanted to have some at voth the start and end of my day.

    1. Hi Briana,

      If you lay plastic wrap over the top of the butter, eliminating as much air exposure as possible, and do this when it is freshly-made, it will help it keep for a day or two. But, unfortunately, most foods with avocado won’t keep too long.



  9. Have you ever frozen this. We like to have butter occasionally but looking for an alternative. I don’t even think we’d use all of this if we made 1/2 the recipe.
    Also, could I use avocado oil instead of the ones listed here?

  10. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. I don’t own a food processor so I mash the avocado with a fork and blend everything with a hand mixer. It comes out a bit chunky but I don’t mind. I’ve been mixing this with avocado oil and olive oil. I’m concerned about the saturated fat in coconut oil so I quit using it. I was afraid too much olive oil would overpower it but avocado oil has a similar nutrition profile and a neutral flavor so it works well. My first batch kept for 3 days in a half cup sized plastic container. I was recently in a car accident and have limited mobility for a while so I’m eating more sandwich type foods and this works as a awesome spread in place of mayo, butter or anything else. Thank you!

  11. 5 stars
    How many calories are in this amazing avocado butter? Looking at your image above is that accurate? And per what sizing, teaspoon, tablespoon, etc.? This is so incredibly delicious!! Yum!!! This is my new go-to and I truly appreciate it!!

    1. Hi Red,
      I’m so happy to hear you liked the avocado butter. : )

      Sorry, I don’t have the calorie count for this recipe; you can read more about why I don’t have nutrition information for my recipes here.

      Almost all of my recipes fit in my weight loss program and one of the benefits of the program is there’s no need to count calories or take too much time with nutrition labels.

      Sorry I don’t have the information you’re looking for, but I’m glad you liked the avocado butter!


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