Margarine is one of the most evil innovations in the food industry.
Aside from being man-made, the manufacturers make claims about cholesterol reduction and push the ‘heart health’ fabrications. They advertise as healthier alternatives to butter.
Margarine is hydrogenated vegetable oil, artificially saturating the unsaturated fats, which makes it solid. After hydrogenation, margarine is WHITE. The yellow dye is added to make it look more edible.
At one point, it was legally required to dye margarine pink in the USA and NZ to highlight how filthy, abhorrent and DISGUSTING it is. (As you can tell, I really hate margarine).
The problem with the hydrogenation process is that it forms artery-clogging trans-fats that increase LDL (bad cholesterol) and reduce HDL (good cholesterol)(1). This increases your risk of coronary heart disease, and trans-fat consumption is a very powerful predictor of obesity in adults. There is evidence to suggest that trans-fats lay down a denser form of subcutaneous and visceral bodyfat around the belly that is much harder to shed than normal bodyfat. This lays down around your belly and internal organs, around your liver. This is not a good thing.
So now that we’ve examined margarine, lets take a look at its healthy nemesis, butter.
Butter comes from the udder of a cow. You make it by shaking cream for a while. No hydrogenation here.
A claim that smug margarine manufacturers can make is that butter contains 40% more saturated fat (+3g per 100g). Because saturated fat is incorrectly more ‘infamous’ than trans-fats, they can get away with this.
Benefits of saturated fat
- Saturated fat is useful for the production of testosterone, which helps you gain muscle and lose fat. (3)
- 50% of your cell membranes comprise of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fat intake is involved with cell reparation.
- Protective role, including boosting the immune system and protecting your liver from alcohol.
A study of 348,000 people found no statistically significant link between cardiovascular disease and saturated fat intake. Mediterranean diets with high dairy and olive-oil intake produce ‘exceptionally low’(2) death rates from heart disease, and lower depression rates.
Eat your butter.
1: Food and nutrition board, institute of medicine of the national academies (2005). Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients). National Academies Press. p. 504.
2: “Coronary heart disease in seven countries”. Circulation 41 (4 Suppl): I1–211. April 1970
3: Mary Enig, pHD – The truth about saturated fats.
* Disclaimer: Don’t ACTUALLY eat butter. Cook with it or something.