Maybe you’ve seen the story making the rounds lately. It’s pretty disgusting. But here it is…
Margarine was originally developed to fatten up turkeys for market. The only problem? It killed the turkeys. But the developers had pumped a lot of money into the project… so how could they recoup their investment?
The answer: Sell margarine as people food. In spite of the fact margarine is just one molecule away from being plastic.
Yup. Another example of companies putting profits before people. Except for one thing…
The story is complete B.S.
The Real Story of Margarine
Butter has been a staple food for ages. There’s just one problem: It’s kind of expensive. You see, butter is made from cream – the highest fat portion of cow’s milk.
Farmers skimmed the cream off the top of milk and churned it until it hardened. The result was butter. But making it was labor-intensive… and it had a limited shelf life. Which made it an expensive food item for navies.
Navies like those of Napoleon III. Napoleon also realized the poor couldn’t afford to buy much butter. Economics and the need for political stability led him to issue a challenge…
Napoleon offered a prize to anyone who could develop an inexpensive alternative to butter. And margarine was born.
Well, sort of. The original product was a mixture of beef tallow and milk. But it looked sickly white. Later, a Dutch company added yellow dye to make it look more like butter. The process eventually ditched animal products in favor of vegetable fats.
That’s when modern margarine was really born.
So why shouldn’t you eat it?
Is Margarine Better for Your Heart?
To make vegetable oils work in margarine, food scientists had to change them. You see, vegetable oils are liquid at room temperature. And who wants a butter substitute that pours onto food?
Enter the process of hydrogenation. Hydrogenation keeps vegetable oils solid above room temperature. Which makes margarine act more like butter.
But the process also creates trans fats. And trans fats are bad for your heart. They’re far worse than saturated fats. In fact, trans fats are so bad, the Food & Drug Administration passed a rule in 2015 to phase out trans fats by the end of 2018.
Right now, some margarines may still contain trans fats. Check the label. If it says “partially hydrogenated” on the ingredients list, that product still contains trans fats.
A new process – called interesterification – creates saturated fats from unsaturated fats. This results in solid fats at room temperature… but the same theoretical risks as butter.
Some newer margarines are fortified with heart-healthy plant sterols or stanols. Others, however, are high in Omega-6 fats, which promote inflammation.
So what’s your best bet?
Butter Is Simply Better
Butter has many advantages over margarine.
To begin with, it’s a natural product. Margarine is the result of industrial processing.
Butter is churned cream. Margarine is made from oils industrially extracted from plants. It’s then hardened using another industrial process. It’s not one step from plastic… but it’s several steps from food.
Butter from grass-fed cows is rich in nutrients missing from margarine. Nutrients like heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids…. other fatty acids that promote lower body weight and may fight cancer… and vitamin K2 – essential for bone health.
Your bottom line? Skip the margarine – even though it was never a deadly turkey food. Natural butter is simply a better choice.
About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.
Trex, E., “The Surprisingly Interesting History of Margarine,” MentalFloss.com. Aug 31, 2010.
Tavernise, S., “F.D.A. Sets 2018 Deadline to Rid Foods of Trans Fats,” The New York Times. Jun 16, 2015.
Gunnars, K., “Butter vs. Margarine: Which Is Healthier?” Healthline.com. Apr 17, 2018.
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