Butter or Margarine what side are you on?
The debate has been going on long enough now odds are you’re either firmly in one camp passionately defending your position or still annoyingly confused in the middle. For decades we have been told conflicting information about what is the healthiest option, study after study, fact after fact. Decades discussing what we choose to spread on our toast.
So let’s talk about it.
Do you know where butter comes from? I’m sure you do. Cow, milk, cream then, butter.
What about margarine? Where does it come from? Where did it originate?
Well, it was originally created in a chemist’s lab in 1813. French scientist Michel Eugene Chevreul discovered a new fatty acid and he called it acide margarique. However, the margarine process took a little longer to catch on. It was Napoleon III who helped the process along. He wanted a cheap replacement for butter for his poorer subjects and navy. He sent out the challenge and subsequently set off a chain of events spanning over many years that lead to margarine being pursued by scientists and companies looking to cash in.
Margarine had a tough beginning in the marketplace. Governments and farmers despised the product, the unnatural paste that was white and needed to be coloured yellow to look like butter seemed crazy and they did not want to support it. Insisting and creating tough taxes, restrictions, and bans on the product and the yellow dye used. World War II changed this, margarine was cheap to produce, butter was scarce and expensive, margarine became a necessity. So now consumers had a cheap alternative in a time of desperation so taxes and restrictions were lifted.
Interestingly enough, margarine became insanely more popular after a scientist named Ancel Keys published a study that changed the way everyone viewed fat, a lot of power for one study, but it was that impactful! He began a study about 22 different countries and the way fat impacted heart disease. He made a direct link between heart disease and fat intake.
So much weight was given to this study, it was incredible. This study saw the American Heart Association begin to warn everyone about the dangers of saturated fat and its link to heart disease. People stopped buying butter and started using margarine.
But the truth was that Ancel Keys started out with 22 countries in his study. However, he decided that he would completely disregard any country that didn’t fit his hypothesis! This left only 7 countries. The final study only had the 7 countries he wanted! When other researchers analysed his data using ALL 22 of the original countries, the link between fat and heart disease totally vanished.
Ancel Keys was a fraud, this study was incorrect and the impact was enormous.
When initially released this study clearly linked saturated fat to the cause of heart disease. So this study became the cornerstone of modern nutrition policy and the reason health authorities originally turned away from a higher fat diet rich in animal foods, towards a low-fat, high-carb diet with plenty of grains.
Scary stuff. Low-fat foods, high carbs, and margarine were being taught as the best nutritional choices based on bad science.
When it comes to flavour, rich, creamy butter wins every time! Because it is full fat, it is more satisfying and fills you up for longer. Butter is also one of the best dietary sources of Vitamin A, and also contains vitamins E, K and D and is a rich source of selenium.
Margarine is a whole lot different!
Margarine is a manufactured food product. Vegetable oils are extracted either from corn, cottonseed, soybeans or safflower seeds. The extracted oil is steam cleaned to remove most impurities. Steaming also destroys vitamins and antioxidants! The oils are hydrogenated by passing hydrogen through the oil in the presence of a nickel catalyst. Yes, nickel.
The next juicy step, emulsifiers are added to remove disgusting lumps. Then bleach is used to remove the grey colour and it’s steamed to remove the chemical odour it now has.
Finishing off the process is the addition of synthetic vitamins, artificial colours and that all important yellow colour are added. Yum!
Can you imagine the difference in your body when you eat margarine vs butter? Take everything above into consideration, now think cow, milk, cream, butter.
The best test I have heard is to place a dollop of butter and a dollop of margarine out for your backyard ants to investigate. The ants will NOT touch the chemical, toxic margarine option, they can sense, smell and identify that as poison every time! You will, however, find them basking in the golden goodness of the real butter, feasting on its nutrient rich deliciousness.
So Butter Vs Margarine?
A ridiculous question I say
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