Top Margarine Benefits And Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 11/22/22 •  11 min read

What are margarine benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are margarine pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

margarine side effects

Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on margarine benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about margarine benefits and side effects. This will include margarine benefits for your health and potential risks, margarine water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if margarine is vegan or impacts animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if margarine is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about margarine benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Top Margarine Benefits And Side Effects


Margarine benefits may include:

Margarine side effects may include:

Margarine is…


Water footprint: likely high, 6,792 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of refined sunflower oil / 814 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of refined sunflower oil

Carbon footprint: low, 1.77 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of margarine, a car driving equivalent of 4 miles or 6.5 kilometers

Destruction: unknown

Margarine typically (unless milk, lactose, whey, or casein are ingredients) is…


Kills: typically none, most margarine most contains vegetable oil and water and margarine production does not require animals to be killed

Harms: typically none, unless milk, lactose, whey, or casein are ingredients

Indirectly kills or harms: typically none, as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides undoubtably harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Margarine typically (unless milk, lactose, whey, or casein are ingredients) is…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits


Where does most margarine come from?

The world’s top margarine exporting country is USA, followed by Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland and Russia.

margarine is acidic when salted (most common) and neutral when unsalted.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is margarine alkaline or acidic? Margarine is acidic when salted (most common) and neutral when unsalted. What is the pH level of margarine? Margarine has a 7.0 pH level when unsalted.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

margarine is gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is margarine gluten free? Yes, margarine is gluten free. Margarine does not contain gluten. Margarine is a type of vegetable oil spread, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include: recurring abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, tingling, numbness in hands and feet, chronic fatigue, joint pain, unexplained infertility and low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis).

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

margarine is not a common food allergen unless milk, lactose, whey, or casein are ingredients.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is margarine a common food allergen? No, margarine is not a common food allergen unless milk, lactose, whey, or casein are ingredients. Some people may experience allergic reactions to margarine but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods is often referred to as the Big-8 and includes milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. 

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

margarine likely has a high water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does margarine have a high or low water footprint? Margarine likely has a relatively high water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of margarine? It takes 6,792 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of refined sunflower oil / 814 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of refined sunflower oil.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

margarine has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating product emissions, some factors may be… farm equipment, animal feed production, hothouses (greenhouses), food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, package waste, and more.

There are a number of steps we can take to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

margarine is likely moderately sustainable unless milk, lactose, whey, or casein are added.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is margarine eco friendly? Is margarine sustainable?

Margarine is likely moderately sustainable unless milk, lactose, whey, or casein are added.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

margarine is typically vegan unless milk, lactose, whey, or casein are added.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is margarine vegan? Typically, margarine is vegan unless milk, lactose, whey or casein is added. Margarine is made from vegetable oils and may or may not include animal byproducts. Be sure to read the product label for vegan specification. It should also be noted that if palm oil is added to margarine, it is technically a vegan ingredient but very harmful to wildlife, specifically jungle animals of Indonesia.

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

margarine may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is margarine a product with labor concerns?

At this time there are no major concerns with margarine production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade

This post was all about margarine benefits and side effects.


Butter and Margarine Availability Over the Last Century

margarine – FoodData Central

Vegetable Oil Margarine – Agricultural Marketing Service – USDA

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.