Margarine

Almost all margarine begins as chemically-extracted, refined vegetable oil. This is a poor quality product to begin with. The oil is extracted at high temperature, which damages the oil. It also destroys the vitamin E in the oil, an important nutrient.

To make margarine, the oil must be hardened. This is done by by bubbling hydrogen through the vegetable oil at high temperature. The hydrogen saturates some of the carbon-carbon bonds of the oil. The product then becomes hard or solid at room temperature.

When the carbon bonds are saturated, the product is called a saturated fat. Margarine contains some saturated fat. Otherwise it would not be hard at room temperature. The ads and the packaging for margarine are often deceptive. Advertising often states it contains ‘polyunsaturated oil’. However, the processing saturates or partially saturates the oil.

The final product also usually contains some trans-fatty acids, no matter what the label says. These are man-made fatty acids. Research shows that trans-fatty acids increase inflammation in the body. This can worsen illnesses such as colitis and arthritis. Very recent research indicates that trans-fatty acids in margarine raise LDL levels. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol.

The final product also contains nickel, cadmium and often other very toxic contaminants. These are introduced as hardening agents used in the production process.

Cadmium is also among the most toxic of the heavy metals. It may contribute to serious diseases such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure and malignancy.

Margarine also contains artificial or natural coloring agents, or it would look like bicycle grease.

Butter

Butter is made from the cream that rises to the top if milk is allowed to sit for a time. Butter is made by churning cream. This causes a chemical reaction that causes the cream to harden slightly, giving it the buttery consistency.

Butter is a fabulous fat that contains a number of natural fatty acids that are excellent for the body. Butter is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K. These are not found to any degree in margarine. The vitamin content of butter varies seasonally, depending on the diet of the animals from which it is derived.

Also, butter does not contain trans-fatty acids or toxic metals, hopefully, such as nickel and cadmium. Butter contains some milk solids, giving it a whitish color. Ghee or clarified butter does not contain the milk solids.

Although many people are sensitive to cow’s milk dairy products, often butter is well- tolerated. This is because butter is almost a pure fat, and does not contain many of the allergens found in other milk products. For example, it does not contain milk protein (casein) or milk sugar (lactose). These are two highly allergenic components of some dairy products.

Butter made from certified, raw (unpasteurized) cream is available in some areas. It the best quality butter available next to making it from your own cow.

Is avoiding butter the way to control cholesterol?

The observations of many natural health practitioners indicate that a balanced body chemistry is the key to normalizing cholesterol.

Most cholesterol is manufactured within the body. A maximum of about 4% of all cholesterol comes from the diet. Cholesterol is the raw material for the adrenal stress hormones and the sex hormones. The body often reacts to stress by producing more cholesterol. This allows the body to make more stress-fighting hormones. As biochemical stress is reduced through a scientific nutrition program, cholesterol levels often decrease without the need for restrictive diets.

In fact, eating some animal products often helps balance body chemistry. In these instances, cholesterol levels or the cholesterol/HDL ratio improves, although the diet contains cholesterol-containing foods.

Does butter have more calories fat than margarine?

Measure for measure, butter and margarine have exactly the same number of calories and fat–approximately 35 calories and less than 4 grams of fat per single pat or teaspoon.

Can butter be part of a low cholesterol diet?

A teaspoon of butter contains only 10 milligrams of cholesterol, which is less than 4% of the maximum daily value guidline of 300 milligrams.

Can I eat butter and keep my fat intake to 30% of my daily calorie intake?

Current dietary guidelines suggest a total diet with a maximum of 30% of calories derived from fat. In a 2000-calorie diet, this means 65 grams of fat. A single pat or teaspoon of butter contains less than 4 grams of fat which represents approximately 6% of the daily value guideline.

Moderation, as usual, is the key. If you want to “have your butter and eat is too” here’s some suggestions for cutting other, often overlooked sources of fat in your diet.

  • Consume low or nonfat versions of dairy products such as milk, yogurt, sour cream, etc.
  • Substitute low or nonfat dairy products in recipes calling for higher fat versions.
  • Use low-fat cooking techniques such as steaming, broiling, grilling and baking.

Healthier Substitutions:

  • Enjoy a baked potato with a pat of butter (179 calories, 4.0 grams of fat) vs. 15 French fries (237 cal., 124 g fat).
  • Enjoy 1 cup air popped popcorn with a pat of butter (57 cal., 4.1 g fat) vs. 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (420 cal., and 35.7 g fat).
  • Enjoy an ear of corn with a pat of butter (117 cal., 4.8 g fat) vs. 1/2 cup potato salad (179 cal., 10.3 g fat).

Sources: Challenge dairy, Mayo Clinic

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