Is margarine healthy?
Should you use margarine or butter?
The short answer is: Use butter!
The long answer: Use butter and read everything below 😉
Margarine or Butter
It’s actually a choice between a natural product (butter) and plasticized oil (gross!).
Margarine is made by taking cheap ass oils like vegetable oil (not that healthy in itself) and subjecting them to extreme heat and pressure.
Hydrogen atoms are then shot into the oil, which chemically alters the structure of the fatty acids, and solidifies it.
This is where the term ‘hydrogenated oil’ comes from. This process also creates the bad TRANS fats found in margarine.
By the way, at this stage of the manufacturing process it looks NOTHING like butter. It’s actually GREY in color and smells horrible. They have to bleach this goo first, then dye it yellow, then deodorize it using heat and yet more chemicals.
So if you’re cool with spreading a cheap, plasticized, trans fat-laden, bleached, deodorized, chemically altered oil on your bread, be my guest.
But unfortunately, there’s more…
Every cell membrane in your body needs saturated fatty acids to function properly and be waterproof as they are. Swapping natural saturated fat for trans fats will result in cell membranes that do not function properly.
That’s why over half of the fat in mother’s breast milk is saturated fat. Nature knows best!
- The heart prefers saturated fat for energy
- Bones need them to assimilate calcium effectively
- They help protect the liver
- Lung surfactant is composed entirely of saturated fat, which can help prevent asthma and other breathing disorders
- They function as signaling messengers for hormone production (this is why they are a key component of the carb-cycling MANS diet)
Trans fats on the other hand contribute to
- heart disease
- hormonal imbalance
- bone problems
- skin disease
- growth problems
- learning disabilities in children.
The only reason margarine came into existence is because a few decades ago people started believing that saturated fat was bad for you and so alternatives had to be found. But the alternative happens to be much much worse!
This belief was based on a terrible study by a physiologist named Ancel Keys. However, Ancel was a little ‘selective’ in the countries he chose for his study. Any country that had a high saturated fat intake and low incidence of heart disease was completely ignored. The study was a load of crap, and so were Mr. Keys’ conclusions. For more on this see an article I wrote many moons ago called ‘The Saturated Fat & Cholesterol Myth Destroyed‘.
I’ll repeat what I stated above…
If you’re cool with spreading a cheap, plasticized, trans fat-laden, bleached, deodorized, chemically altered oil on your bread, be my guest.
If you’re not convinced by this relatively short article on margarine, do your research and make up your own mind. There’s a lot of work out there on the subject.
Be healthy and well 😀
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It would be nice with a proof. Science by the way rarely states anything in absolute terms, so this should also be doubted. At least untill proof has been delivered.
The man drops another great article! Thanks Mark! 🙂
Butter all the way here and plenty of it 🙂
Kerrygold or Yeo Valley organic mainly
Mark the machine. Good stuff and keep em coming
Is becel margerine all right? It contains no trans fats and is not hydrogenated
Did you know that you can leave out any food stuff and the flies will eat it, if you leave out margarine even the flies wont eat this stuff.
Very informative, I’ll stick to my butter
Good article. I knew that ages ago. I use only 100% Coconut fat for spreads/cooking etc. If it’s organic it should contain >80% saturated fat.
@Kim. There’s plenty of proof, esp of the healthfulness of saturated fat. The bad boys are really trans fats and sugar. Read the article I’ve linked to for a start. There’s plenty more articles on this site with references to studies to prove all of this.
@John. I’m not too familiar with becel. I looked it up but can’t see exactly how they make it. I don’t understand how they solidify it. Until I knew, I would stay away from it.
@Jason. I did! Here’s a pic actually of ants around a nub of butter and 2 bits of margarine, they won’t touch the margarine
@Mike. Love my coconut oil for cooking with 🙂
are regular vegtable oils also something to stay away from? such as olive oil, canola oil, things like pam, also sauces or dips with vegi oil such as ranch dressing.
I use Smart Balance. It CLEARLY states on the carton or tub that there is no hydrogenated oils, trans fats etc. All the ingredients there are natural. The same goes for Smart Balance peanut butter. Read the label. also if you want holiday pie without hydrogenated, go to Sams club, I read the pies and no hydrogenated!!!
Kerrygold Irish butter is the best butter in the world!
best wishes from germany, your articles are great mark 😀
they dont make margarines with trans fat any more, at least not in australia
@Eric. Vegetable oils aren’t great but you find them a lot in dips and sauces. You don’t want to get into a position where you can’t eat anything because there’s vegetable oil in it. I have dips myself sometimes. So don’t worry about these small doses of vegetable oil. Just avoid trans fats.
For those stating that their brand of margarine doesn’t contain trans fats. I think that if the trans fat count is below a certain level, they can legally say it is trans fat free. Doesn’t mean it is, though.
Also, look out for “mono-glycerides and di-glycerides of fatty acids” on the label. These contain trans fats and DO NOT have to be listed on the label.
So be careful out there, guys.
Hey Mark very informative article thanks again for all you do. Can you give me a snapshot of what your current diet consists of in terms of meals I’m looking for new ideas. I started to incoporate goji berries into my diet and feel that it has made significant difference in my health and well being if you’re unfamiliar with them you should look into them they’re nutritionally stacked and taste great