Margarine vs. Butter: Which is Better for Your Health?

Margarine vs. Butter: Which is Better for Your Health?

Butter and margarine serve the same purpose: they are often used for cooking, baking and as spreads. However, they are made in drastically different ways. Real butter is made by churning the fatty portion of cow’s milk. Margarine, on the other hand, is a highly processed product that consists of artificial ingredients. When it comes to weighing the pros and cons of margarine vs. butter, the choice is clear.

A Strong Case Against Margarine

Margarine became popular in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s due to the scarcity of butter at the time. Now that we have easy access to both butter and margarine, have you ever asked yourself if margarine is bad for you? In some ways, our health has actually deteriorated since the advent and huge rise in margarine (and other hydrogenated oil) use:

  • Death rates from heart disease & cancer were at only 3%.
  • Obesity was at only 5%.
  • Diabetes was practically nonexistent.

Eating margarine (and other trans-fats), not getting enough of the critical healthy essential oils (EFAs), along with high sugar consumption and a lack of sufficient protein in our diets has caused an epidemic of disease and ill health in this country and around the world.

Margarine plays a key role in our deteriorating health because the ingredients are unnatural – our bodies are not designed to process it. A plastics engineer would call margarine “plastic food,” – meaning that margarine’s molecular structure resembles a low-grade plastic.

The Harmful Effects of Margarine Ingredients

Hydrogenation is the chemical addition of hydrogen to another chemical. When applied to oils, the process turns the healthy essential oils into dangerous trans-fatty acids, which are very unhealthy for humans.2Margarine contains a large amount of trans-fatty acids.1 The process of hydrogenation requires a metal catalyst, like nickel, and is stopped when the margarine looks butter-like, without regard to the unnatural fat by-products, which have been produced.3

These by-products include trans-fatty acids, lipid peroxides and other potentially toxic compounds. The ingestion of trans-fatty acids has been found to lead to increased risk for various health issues.

Heart Disease

Did you know that those who eat margarine have twice the rate of heart disease as those that eat butter?9Even though margarine is often promoted as being “heart-healthy,” some large studies have been published which suggest that the ingestion of trans-fatty acids is considered a risk factor for heart disease.4 In 1956, Lancet published a 16-page article warning physicians of its dangers, but few listened.

Researchers have found that trans-fats are more detrimental to the ability of blood vessels to dilate, a marker for heart disease risk. “This suggests that trans-fatty acids increase the risk of heart disease more than the intake of saturated fats,” concluded the scientists at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

Cancer

Trans-fatty acids can block the body’s ability to use healthy Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) in the production of eicosanoids, and they lessen the transfer of the life-giving nutrient oxygen across cell membranes.5 The sufficient transfer of oxygen is crucial for cellular health, prevention of cancer, energy and a healthy immune system.

In 1939, The American Journal of Cancer published that eating trans-fats produced cancer when skin was exposed to ultraviolet rays. Your skin needs unadulterated parent omega 6 EFAs (it contains NO omega 3), but most people have been consuming trans-fats or excessive amounts of omega 3 instead, Therefore, their skin (and other tissues) are deficient in EFAs, causing it to be susceptible to UV rays that can lead to the development of cancer.

It is important to understand that your skin doesn’t utilize omega 3 EFAs (like in fish or flax oils), which is one reason why it is recommended to use a formula with a higher balance of organic, cold-pressed “parent” omega 6 than omega 3.

Vision Health

You can also expect vision-related problems when you consume too many trans-fats in your diet.6 This is because your eyes are supposed to contain healthy EFAs but are getting the distorted oils instead.

Mental Performance

Studies show that the trans-fatty acids we eat get incorporated into brain cell membranes, including the myelin sheath that insulates neurons. They replace the natural DHA in the membrane, which affects the electrical activity of the neuron. Trans-fatty acid molecules disrupt communication, setting the stage for cellular degeneration and diminished mental performance.7 This shows that EFA deficiency likely plays a key role in mental and emotional disorders from children to the elderly.

Benefits of Omega 6 and Omega 3 Supplements

It is difficult to get undamaged parent omega 6 oils in your diet. Despite what you may read from popular health publications and professionals about omega 6 oils, research clearly shows that nearly every bit of omega 6 in the foods we eat has been damaged in one fashion or another. Therefore, it is crucial that we get the nutrients  in a high-quality supplement.

The balance of parent omega 6 and 3 is crucial, as well. Simply taking flax oil is not enough. Flax is excessive (unbalanced) in omega 3, and without enough unprocessed omega 6 there will be an imbalance. It is nearly impossible to avoid all trans-fats, so the best way to ensure your cells get the good oils is to take a high-quality supplement.

The Truth About Real, Full-Cream Butter

When debating whether to purchase margarine vs. butter, consider the ingredients in each and how each is made. Real butter is a fat-soluble vitamin activator.10 Rather than being stored as excess body fat, butter is used directly for energy.11 Biologically no dietary fat gets stored as excess body fat.12

Saturated Fats are Not the Cause of Heart Disease

With regard to heart disease, the fact is that no saturated fats can be found in aortic plaque.13 This means that eating saturated fat does not cause heart disease. The complex process in which heart disease develops cannot be simply compared to “clogged pipes,” as in your kitchen sink.

Scientists around the world have discovered that, once again, insulin overproduction (from high sugar/carb consumption) is a significant issue. Excess carbs stimulate overproduction of insulin, leading to elevated blood levels. It reduces the elasticity of arterial walls, increasing the risk of plaque formation and causes the kidneys to increase salt and fluid retention – all of which increase blood pressure and heighten risk of heart disease and stroke.14

Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard states, “The problem with low-fat diets is that people replace fats with carbohydrates, primarily sugars and refined starches, which can have adverse effects on coronary risk….” The truth is, we have all been looking in the wrong place for the solution to heart disease.

Learn the Facts about Margarine vs. Butter

Gross misconceptions of the development of heart disease and the myths about cholesterol have caused a change in eating habits and increased prescription drug use that have seriously been damaging our health. Don’t be misled by bad information. Eating a low carbohydrate diet, adding EFAs in the scientifically correct ratios, essential minerals and a gentle herbal detoxifier, show how simple dietary changes prevent illness and maintain overall health at the cellular level.

If you’re ready to learn more about getting the correct balance of omega 3 and 6 oils in your diet, check out our program today!

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Endnotes

  1. Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, Udo Erasmus, Published by Alive Books, Burnaby, BC, Canada, 01 January, 1999, pages 103, 105.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Fats and Oils, Erasmus U., Alive Books, Vancouver, Canada, pp 84-89, 1986.
  4. Mensink RP, Katan MB. Effect of dietary trans fatty acids on high-density and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in healthy subjects. N Eng J Med 323:439-445, 1990.
  5. Kinsella JE, et al. Metabolism of trans fatty acids with emphasis on the effects of trans, trans-octadecadienoate on lip id composition, essential fatty acids and prostaglandins – an overview. Am J Clin Nutri 34:2307-2318, 1981.
  6. Essential Fatty Acids and Eicosanoids, 1992, pgs: 107-115; Invest. Opthalmol. Vision Science, 1992, 33(11): 3242-3253.
  7. Lipids, 1994; 29/4:251-58.
  8. Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, July 2001, American Heart Association/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins January 1995, Division of Cardiology, UCLA School of Medicine, 0833 LeConte Avenue, Room 47-123, CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1679.
  9. Nutrition Week, 3/22/91 21:12.
  10. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Weston A. Price, McGraw Hill – NTC; 15th edition (June 2003) ISBN: 0879838167. (out of print).
  11. Textbook of Medical Physiology, pg. 843.
  12. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dept. of Human Studies and Nutritional Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1996, vol. 64, pgs. 667-84.
  13. Lancet, 1984;344:1195-96.
  14. American Diabetes Association’s 59th Annual Scientific Sessions, June 1999 and Basic Medical Biochemistry, pgs 25, 26, 475, 512, 566.
  15. Ravnskov U. The questionable role of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in cardiovascular disease. J Clin Epidemiol 1998;51:443-60 and Hooper L, Summerbell CD, Higgins JP, et al. Dietary fat intake and prevention of cardiovascular disease: systematic review. BMJ 2001;322:757

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