Found in powder and granular forms, butter substitutes are made by a process that removes the fat and water from butter extract (a blend of modified butter oil and spray-dried butter). They contain no fat or cholesterol. What the "all natural" (according to the label) products do contain are such ingredients as maltodextrin (a carbohydrate derived from corn), corn syrup solids, salt, natural flavorings, buttermilk and cornstarch. As expected from the ingredients used, butter substitutes have an embarrassingly counterfeit flavor. They also have from about 8 to 12 calories per teaspoon, as opposed to butter or margarine's 33 calories per teaspoon. Butter substitutes may either be reconstituted by blending with a liquid, or sprinkled directly onto food. Because they're fat-free, they cannot be used for baking, frying or greasing pans. See also butter.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.