Margarine at Stiftung Warentest: Good products don't have to be expensive
An investigation by the Stiftung Warentest showed that good margarine does not have to be expensive. In their test, many inexpensive margarines from retail chains scored high marks. However, not all are suitable as spreads.
Margarine in the test
"Roast, bake, cook, spread - margarine is versatile," wrote the Stiftung Warentest on its website. The per capita consumption in Germany is about five kilos a year. The experts have now taken a closer look at 19 margarines. Her test showed that only those are recommended where the recipe is correct and which contain hardly any pollutants. The judgments range from "good" to "poor".
Good grades for inexpensive products
The test tested full fat margarines with a fat content of at least 80 percent and spreadable fats with a lower fat content of 70 to 75 percent.
"All can be used for sizzling in the pan, the roasting test shows. But not everyone would enjoy it as a spread: During the tasting, some smelled a bit cheesy and stuck slightly in the mouth, ”write the testers.
Eight products received good grades, including many inexpensive margarines from chain stores such as Aldi or Netto. However, three products received only a "sufficient" and one failed with "poor".
Low saturated fat and many omega-3 fatty acids
According to the Stiftung Warentest, the good margarines contain the right mixture that makes a healthy spreadable fat: low-saturated fats, many omega-3 fatty acids.
“In terms of fat composition, all products in the test are slightly healthier than butter, ten are even significantly healthier. Margarines that contain a lot of rapeseed, sunflower or linseed oil are particularly convincing, ”said the experts.
Products with many saturated fats made from coconut or palm fat are less recommended. However, only a few margarines still rely on such recipes in the test.
Herbal alternative to butter
In a message from the dpa news agency, the oecotrophologist and author Dagmar von Cramm explains that margarine is the vegetable alternative to butter.
The vegetable oils from which it is made therefore supply the body with valuable unsaturated fatty acids, which the body cannot produce itself and which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Margarine contains, among other things, important omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin D. According to Cramm, margarine and butter should be alternately smeared on bread.
As it says in the dpa report, margarine used to contain harmful trans fatty acids. According to the expert, the manufacturers would now make sure that this is no longer the case.
Contaminated with the pollutant glycidyl ester
However, margarine can be contaminated with the pollutant glycidyl ester, which Cramm says may be carcinogenic.
And: "Glycidyl esters can change the genome," writes the Stiftung Warentest. "To date, the fat pollutants cannot be completely avoided: they were tested in all products, but only in very small amounts for most of them."
As Cramm explained, glycidyl esters are formed in the refining of oils. "Since margarine is usually made with refined oils, contamination cannot be ruled out."
Since only cold-pressed oils such as rapeseed oil are hardly contaminated, she recommends: "You should prefer rapeseed oil-based margarine."
Butter or margarine?
The general question of whether butter or margarine is healthier also goes hand in hand with the discussion about good and bad cholesterol. In the meantime, there are even products that contain both butter and margarine.
And in some cases, margarine additives are added that are said to have a health-promoting effect, for example to lower cholesterol levels.
The fact that such substances are often controversial was shown, among other things, by the so-called margarine dispute between the food company Unilever and the consumer protection organization Foodwatch. (ad)