In the supermarket, over in the open refrigerated area, are the butter and margarine section. Overall, butter is the safest spread. No matter what kind of healthy words the manufacturer prints on those packages of margarine, it is not a healthier product. I don’t care if they add omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, olive oil or krill oil. This is all part of a “health” marketing package to make you believe something that just ain’t true.
Margarine has so much chemical crap in it with regards to colorings, flavorings, preservatives and emulsifiers. Emulsifiers blend together fat and water so the product doesn’t fall apart.
The majority of these non-butter alternatives use trans fats. If there is less than 0.5 mg of trans fats per serving size, the company can list trans fats as zero on the label. So the FDA allows them to legally lie to us about trans fats. Renovating Your Mind always reminds you to please read your labels.
Saturated fat in butter turns on cholesterol production in your cells. Trans fats of margarine notch that cholesterol lever up even higher. Trans fats in margarine are worse for you than the saturated fats in butter. In addition, margarine has all the additional chemicals added to make the product look and taste good. They usually use GM (genetically modified) soybean oil to make the margarine.
The harder the margarine, the more trans fats. So you have ranges of trans fats from least trans like spray/pump to light spreads to regular spreads and then the worse for trans fats which is the stick margarine.
Why do manufacturers use trans fats? Its cheap, easy to process into margarine and stays fresh for a long time.
Safer alternatives to trans fats are expensive to make in the lab. Manufacturers have to sell the product for a high price. This type of margarine has an acquired taste which for some consumers is horrible.
Check out Benecol and Take Control. These are both examples of costly alternatives to butter and safer options to margarine.
Benecol contains ingredients called phytosterols. The ingredients usually come from canola oil. They fake the body into thinking they are cholesterol. In this way, they lower cholesterol production by about 10%. You need three tablespoonfuls (1 1/2 oz) daily to achieve that reduction. Did I mention it is expensive? Do I mention the taste is pretty bad?
Take Control is composed of soybeans and works on the same principle as Benecol. It only requires 2 tablespoonfuls (1 oz) daily which is 250 calories of fat. So both butter substitutes will work but they are expensive, have to be taken daily and their taste leaves much to be desired compared to that of butter.
If you need to lower your cholesterol, see your healthcare practitioner. After first trying diet/exercise, she may put you on an inexpensive statin drug. These prescription chemicals decrease cholesterol much better than medicated margarine.
Margarine was actually invented in the 1800’s as an alternative to butter. It was grey in color and low in cost. The non-butter become very popular during World War II when everything was in short supply. The government only approved of the product as being nutritious after manufacturers added vitamins.
The final word is to purchase butter rather than margarine. It’s safer, tastes better and has no chemicals. Moderation is the key that makes it all work when using this creamy delicious dairy product for smearing on your bread.
And yes, I can believe that it’s margarine because “it’s not Butter!”
Categories: Food, Health, Medications, Nutrition
take control and benecol are not available in our area — where are they sold and who makes them?
Sorry it took me so long to reply. I was locked out of my own site for over 3 weeks. :-). They are the only brand names that I know of but…if you look in the margarine section, anything with plant sterols on the ingredients label will suffice. Thank you for the question. Cheers. Rob