Margarine is Deadly, Butter is Better?
Date Added: Oct. 10, 2003
It seems like each week we receive an important notice about our health that contradicts what we've long been taught about the things we eat. One week butter is bad for you, the next it's good. When I first wrote an article on this chain letter back in 2003, I had no idea how long-lived it would be or how heated the debate would get. The Butter Battle wages on...
BUTTER VERSES MARGARINE
DID YOU KNOW... The difference between margarine and butter?
Both have the same amount of calories Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams. Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter according to a recent Harvard Medical Study
Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods Butter has many nutrional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added! Butter tastes much better then margarine and it can enhance the flavours of other foods. Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less then 100 years Now for Margarine... very high in Trans Fatty Acids Triple risk of Coronary Heart Disease Increases total and LDL ( this is the bad cholesterol) Lowers HDL cholesterol * and this is the good one Increases the risk of cancers by up to five fold. Lowers quality of breast milk. Decreases immune response. Decreases insulin response.
And here is the most disturbing fact....
Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE from being PLASTIC...
( this fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated , this means hydrogen is added changing the molecular structure of the food )
YOU can try this yourself, purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area, within a couple of days you will note a couple of things, no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it,( that should tell you something) it does not rot, smell differently...Because it has no nutritional value, nothing will grow on it, even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow...Why? because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your tupperware and spread that on your toast?
What you're looking at above is not a coherent essay written by a single, knowledgeable author. It is actually a compilation of facts and opinions from many unidentified sources, incorporating a good deal of sensational and questionable information. However, its basic premise - that trans-fatty acids found in most margarine have been linked to heart disease and other conditions - is basically correct.
A 1994 Harvard University study, as well as research from other credible sources, concluded that a diet high in trans-fat doubles the chance for heart attack and decreases life expectancy. While trans-fats can occur naturally, they are most commonly associated with chemical preservative techniques, such as hydrogenation. During hydrogenation, liquid fats, like most vegetable oils, are infused with hydrogen atoms to make them semi-solid at room temperature. Unfortunately, the process produces trans-fatty acids, often in large amounts.
The dangers of trans-fatty acids have only recently been publicized. Health and dietary experts now recommend that you limit your intake of hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated foodstuffs as much as possible. In its 2005 revised nutrition guidelines, the U.S. Department of Agriculture warns of trans-fats. And, effective 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires manufacturers to list trans-fat content on nutrition facts labels.
But, butter isn't necessarily the healthier alternative. While butter and Margarine have similar caloric values, butter is made from milk fat and is generally is much higher than margarine in saturated fat, which is also known to be detrimental to heart health. Margarine contains small amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are generally considered healthier than saturated. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, switching from butter to margarine can greatly reduce blood cholesterol levels. Further, not all margarine is created equal. Many brands have developed semi-solid spreads without hydrogenation - and thus, no trans-fat. Most brands that are trans-fat free proudly and prominently state so on their packaging.
With pros and cons on both sides, the butter pundits usually pull out the "naturalness" argument. Margarine is indeed a durable foodstuff that can survive outside refrigeration without spoiling. However, its durability is not because margarine is chemically similar to plastic, as the letter above asserts. Rather, margarine is made from vegetable oils (corn, canola, olive, etc.), which are less susceptible to bacteria and fungi than dairy fats.
It is not true that margarine is "but ONE MOLECULE from being PLASTIC," and, even if it was, this doesn't mean that eating margarine is like eating plastic (though some would argue it tastes like it). Many items in nature are chemically similar to one another, but that doesn't make them similar in appearance or effect. It's not the molecules that a substance is made of that defines it, but rather how those molecules are arranged.
Both butter and margarine contain fats, which are basically groupings of the elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The difference is how those atoms are bonded together. (Naturally occurring fatty acids generally have one "cis" orientation, meaning both hydrogen atoms are on the same side as the carbon atoms. Trans-fatty acids, logically, have a "trans" orientation, meaning that at least one hydrogen atom is opposite the carbons. Essentially, the molecules making up both butter and margarine contain the same atoms, just in different configurations. Margarine has much more in common chemically with butter than it does plastic.
Butter is more natural (and some would argue more flavorful), is not hydrogenated and, thus does not contain trans-fats. Margarine, on the other hand, is cholesterol free, lower in saturated fats and is increasingly becoming available in trans-fat free varieties. Whichever spread you choose, experts say moderation is key. Too much of either is definitely a bad thing, says the American Heart Association:
Butter is rich in both saturated fat and cholesterol, so it's potentially highly atherogenic. That means it contributes to the build up of cholesterol and other substances in artery walls. Such plaque deposits increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Most margarine is made from vegetable fat and provides no dietary cholesterol. The more liquid the margarine (in tub or liquid form), the less hydrogenated it is and the less trans fatty acids it contains. On the basis of current data, we recommend that consumers follow these tips:
The American Heart Association's Nutrition Committee strongly advises that healthy Americans over age 2 limit their intake of saturated fat and trans-fat to less than 10 percent of total calories. Healthy people should adjust their total fat intake to match their energy expenditure so they don't gain weight. To lose weight, it's helpful to limit total fat to no more than 30 percent of calories.
Minimize trans-fat intake. If you limit your daily intake of fats and oils to 5-8 teaspoons, you aren't likely to get an excess of trans-fatty acids.
BreakTheChain.org recommends against relying upon or forwarding health advice via e-mail chain letters. The medium is simply too unreliable. If you have a question about your particular risks from using butter or margarine, your best source of advice remains your family physician, who can analyze your health and diet and help you make the best decision for your situation. Break this chain.
References: Snopes.com, About.com Nutrition Guide, ScientificPsychic.com, American Heart Association