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It tastes like butter - Really?

Posted Jan 07 2009 3:19pm

It Tastes Like Butter, But It's Not - It's Heart Disease

Examining the difference between margarine and butter and how they affect our health and heart.

The term margarine was gleamed from the Greek word for pearl. The original margarine was white, shiny, and hard, some say and others that it was gray. The first ingredients were milk, beef fat, sheep’s stomachs and cow’s udders. The procedure for making margarine was to treat the ingredients with heat, lye and pressure. Emperor Louis Napoleon the third, while at the 1866 World Paris Exhibition announced he would sponsor a cheap replacement for butter. Although it is said that he wanted to help the poor get their portion of fat in their diet, he saved money on butter for his army, after the French chemist Hippolyte Merge-Mouiries invented margarine. Some say it was first made to fatten turkeys, but it killed them.

Arguments against margarine quickly arose by governments and food industries. Laws were made to keep margarine manufacturers from adding yellow food coloring to it make it more appealing and a tax was forced onto margarine by help from the Dairy industry. There were even early health arguments against margarine. During WWII the price of butter shot so high that laws hampering margarine sales and production were rescinded.

The making of margarine evolved through the years and in the 1920s they used vegetable oils only as the base for margarine, but to improve its taste and appearance many chemical additives have been introduced to margarine and to make it harden for use in a stick form it is hydrogenated, meaning heated at extremely high temperatures and this process creates saturated fats. Dr. Andrew Weil explains that he term "the chemical term saturation refers to the percentage of carbon atoms in fats that are bonded fully with hydrogen atoms."

Butter has a natural fatty acid structure that resembles the fatty acids in our bodies. The body can shape healthy cells when structures fit correctly. The high heat and strong chemicals that are needed to produce margarine change unsaturated fatty acids into a shape called trans-configuration, in other words trans-fats are produced. If they changed one more molecule in margarine it would be plastic.

There isn't a difference in the calories of butter compared to margarine. Butter is three grams higher in saturated fats. Butter has a lot of nutritional benefits and margarine has a few added ones which aren't natural. A Harvard School study notes that margarine increases women’s incidence of heart disease by 53% compared to eating the same amount of butter.

There are manifold bad results from eating margarine including decreasing immune and insulin response, the risk of coronary heart disease is tripled, the quality of breast milk is lowered, cancer risk is increased five-fold, and it increases the bad cholesterol and lowers the good cholesterol. Margarine is so low in nutritional value that if you leave it sitting open outside no microorganisms will grow on it and not even fruit flies are attracted to it.

To be fair, both are sources of fat calories and many people consume too many fat calories already. It may be best to use butter, but very sparingly.

Doctor Excuses Doctor notes online!

By sam smith Published: 6/11/2008

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