Today’s margarines contain only traces of maligned trans fats, are fortified with essential fatty acids particularly omega-3 – and vitamins, and are sometimes even infused with olive oil. Numerous types of margarine carry the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Health Check seal, a designation that tells consumers the product has met its nutrition criteria. Product labels are also designed to boast about the healthy changes.
WHAT IS MARGARINE?
Margarine begins as chemically-extracted, refined vegetable oil. This is a poor quality product to begin with. It also destroys the vitamin E in the oil, an important nutrient. To make margarine, the oil must be hardened. The final product also usually contains some trans-fatty acids, no matter what the label says. 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.
Margarine also contains artificial or natural coloring agents, or it would look like bicycle grease. In summary, margarine is a disaster, even so-called health-food margarine.
WHAT IS 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.
Certified raw 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. Ghee or clarified butter does not contain the milk solids.
Let’s look at why butter and margarine both get a bad rap. First let’s look at butter. The problem with butter is that it contains two cholesterol-raising ingredients: dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. Margarine is by no means void of artery clogging fat. The controversy with margarine lies with its level of Tran’s fat, largely a man-made fat.
Butter and margarine both have a bad effect on our health. Margarine has undergone a major transformation in recent years, so much so that many brands are starting to more closely resemble a health product than a high-fat butter-like spread.