Is Margarine Harmful? – 6 Secrets They Don’t Tell You!


My mother had a mild heart attack the week before Thanksgiving and was found to have an 85% blockage in one of her coronary arteries. Thankfully she is recovering and gaining her strength back after having a stent put in.  Guess what type diet was prescribed for her? A heart healthy diet otherwise known as a low-fat diet.

What  food do you think of as being full fat? For me, it is butter, rich creamy butter. Unfortunately, butter is a big no-no on a heart healthy diet.

So, what is a person to use as a substitute  for butter?

You guessed it – Margarine!

Margarine is of course, at the top of the list when a low fat diet is prescribed. After all, who would want butter, full of fat and saturated fats at that!  At the risk of being politically incorrect,  saturated fats are good for you! But margarine …

According to the Free Dictionary:

A fatty solid butter substitute consisting of a blend of hydrogenated vegetable oils mixed with emulsifiers, vitamins, coloring matter, and other ingredients ,
[French, from Greek margaronpearl]

The History of Margarine

Margarine was created in 1870 by a Frenchman from Provence, France — Hippolyte Mège-Mouriez — in response to an offer by the Emperor Louis Napoleon III for the production of a satisfactory substitute for butter. He used margaric acid, a fatty acid component isolated in 1813 by Michael Chevreul and named because of the lustrous pearly drops that reminded him of the Greek word for pearl, margarites  - and – he claimed the Emperor’s prize.

Margarine has had a colorful history to say the least! In fact, at different points in history, 27 states prohibited the manufacture or sale of colored margarine, 24 imposed some kind of consumer tax and 26 required licenses or otherwise restricted margarine sales. But, with advertising and new packaging, it reached consumers who eagerly devoured the fake stuff. 1998 marked the 125th anniversary of the U.S. patent for margarine.

Low-Fat Myth

Everywhere we turn we hear how good a low-fat diet is for us – from television commercials to the American Heart Association. But, looking at the nation as a whole shows a different picture than what the medical community proports. In the 1960s, fats and oils supplied Americans with about 45 percent of calories – about 13 percent of adults were obese and under 1 percent had type 2 diabetes. Today, Americans take in less fat, getting about 33 percent of calories from fats and oils - yet 34 percent of adults are obese and 11 percent have diabetes, most with type 2 diabetes.
It is time to expose the myth that a low-fat diet is good for you!
Low-fat is not what the human body needs – In fact it is harmful!

6 Secrets About Margarine  ”They” Don’t Tell You:

1. Margarine is high in trans fatty acids The disadvantage of true margarine is the trans fat level.  A study done in Boston, at the Harvard School of Public Health showed that trans-fatty acids do increase the risk of heart attack. In fact, the risk of heart attack more than doubled between those who ate the most and those who ate the least foods containing vegetable oil trans-fatty acids.

The more solid a margarine is at room temperature, the more trans fat it contains, as much as 3 grams per tablespoon. Even the improved brands, such as, Smart Balance are full of artificial ingredients, synthetic vitamins which do nothing to boost your immune system (as those found in real butter do) and artificial colors because without them the products are unappealing.

2. Margarine actually contributes to heart attacks – Another study done by the Harvard School of Public Health asked people how much margarine they ate. Once the answers were recorded they waited to see what they died from. Amazingly, people who ate as little as three pats of margarine a day had twice the heart-attack rate of those who ate less than a pat a day, far worse than those who ate lard or butter.

3. Margarine increases cholesterol - Not only does margarine increase total cholesterol, it also increases the LDL (the bad cholesterol). If that were not enough, margarine lowers the HDL which is the good cholesterol!

4. Margarine lowers quality of breast milk- Studies show how a mother’s eating of trans fats affects the level of trans fats in her milk. One study, for example, comparing Canadian breast milk to Chinese breast milk found that Canadian mothers had 33 more trans fats in their milk than the Chinese mothers.  So the quality of the breast milk can be affected by the consumption of trans fats.

5. Margarine decreases immune response - According to Dr. Mary Enig, author of Know Your Fats (affiliate link), consuming trans fatty acids “Affects immune response by lowering efficiency of B cell response and increasing proliferation of T cells.” This decreases the body’s immune response.

6. Decreases insulin response -Actually the trans fats can increase blood insulin levels, which increases the risk for diabetes.

Mistake in Research

So, if margarine is actually bad for us, how did it get to be so popular?  Pure and simple – money! Margarine gained popularity beginning with America’s entry into World War I when there was a shortage of fats and cost of living was high. A cheaper alternative to the more expensive butter was quickly received by the uninformed public.

Dr. Mary Enig discovered during her research that  the studies linking saturated fat to heart disease were wrong. Saturated fats along with trans fats (partially hydrogenated fats) had been grouped together because of there similar chemical structure. This was done for analytical purposes. These “minor” difference, however, made all the difference in the world to the conclusion of the research. Dr. Enig found that when separated into different groups, saturated fats were found to have NO LINK to heart disease while trans fats were found to have a very strong link!

Unfortunately, when Dr. Enig tried to make others aware of the mistake, she was cast out. Naturally the edible oil industry whose profits she so threatened opposed her findings and she found herself unable to get grants, funding, or even a job. Fortunately for us, she has continued her research quietly and is now on the board of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

What About “Heart Healthy” Substitutes?

You might think the heart healthy oil blends are a good compromise. Think again!

The word “Smart” should be taken out of Smart Balance! As mentioned earlier not only is it full of artificial ingredients, synthetic vitamins which do nothing to boost your immune system (as those found in real butter do) and artificial colors but the process to make them is called “interesterification” which may be even more dangerous to health than trans fats! You can read more about the process here. Suffice it to say, these so-called heart healthy blends can not be made in your own kitchen using only 1 ingredient!

I don’t know about you, but I am sticking to real butter and whole raw milk and bacon and cream and ….

 

This post is part of: Monday Mania, Family Table TuesdayFat TuesdayScratch Cookin’ TuesdaySlightly Indulgent TuesdayFrugal DaysAllergy Free WednesdayHealthy2Day WednesdayHomemaking Link-UpParty Wave WednesdayReal Food WednesdayWildcrafting WednesdayWheat Free WednesdayWhole Foods WednesdayThank Your Body ThursdayPennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday

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Comments

  1. What about Earth Balance which is an organic spread that’s dairy-free? I have had to resort to this due to my little girl having an allergy to dairy.

    • Christina, have you tried using coconut oil as a spread and/or in place of butter? I have a friend who is in the same boat and coconut oil worked! I would beware of Earth Balance also! It is factory processed with money in mind! Unlike butter, it can not be made in your own kitchen with such simple ingredients as cream, mixer and a bowl.

  2. Anita Bentata says:

    Thank you. Love the article on margarine. So glad I can pass this on to my children and other people. So good to reveal the myths about food.

  3. This is all we had growing up…yuck! Now I know better and we make our own butter :)
    I would love to have you link this to the Wildcrafting Wednesday blog hop!

    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2012/12/wildcrafting-wednesday-2.html

    Hope to see you there!

  4. Excellent information! Thank you so much for sharing this with our readers on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

  5. Thank you. very interesting.
    In Nutrition books and journals we always find saturated fats harmful, related to cancers and heart disease.
    how do you justify this?
    I know that butter has CLA,a healthy ingredient. But what are the present evidence?

    • Thank you for asking! Modern medicine refused to see the error in the original study, plus the oil industry had much too lose. I encourage you to get a copy of Dr. Mary Enig’s book, “Know Your Fats” which is available on amazon – it explains more than I could in one blog post about the benefits of saturated fats – remember, the original study grouped the saturated fats along with trans fats (partially hydrogenated fats) because of there similar chemical structure. When these were separated into different groups, saturated fats were found to have NO LINK to heart disease while trans fats were found to have a very strong link. Also, go to the Weston A Price Foundation website and search “fats” – one very good article on there is The Oiling of America.

      A great example to all of us on longevity of life with a traditional diet including plenty of good animal fats was Julia Child – she lived to be in her 90′s and even with all her butter and cream, she did not die of a heart attack but in her sleep ;)

  6. LSTynan-Cashmore says:

    Hi tehre. Love teh article, but would like to post it to a few friends who I knopw whould want to see WHERE teh evidence came from. Can you point us in the right direction?

  7. Do you have access to the info that during WWII that margarine was given the US population, while butter was sent to the military troops? The theory was that butter prevents cramps and a soldier fighting for his life cannot afford to have cramps. This was told to me by a soldier that survived that war. Butter has complex F that prevents cramps and margarine does not. Is that a myth or real and who was the person that figured that out? I would appreciate your comments. Thank you, Dr. Mulhern.

  8. I am allergic to dairy among other things and i had no idea tit was thise awful. Thank you for ruining baking for me, especially since im allergic to wheat eggs milk peanuts and dandelions.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Is Margarine Harmful? 6 Secrets They Don’t Tell You from Cultured Palate. This can’t be said enough. [...]

  2. [...] Can you believe people are STILL eating margarine??? It still dominates the shelves here in Finland despite all of the science and anecdotal evidence showing how harmful it is! Until humans get back to normal and start eating real fats again, us bloggers keep having to post articles like this one from Cultured Palate called Is Margarine Harmful? – 6 Secrets They Don’t Tell You! [...]

  3. [...] just criminal that the medical profession still recommends margarine to heart patients. Like My Cultured Palate’s mother my brother also has a heart stent and he received the same [...]

  4. [...] I’m considering composing this or one of the shots at a vertical angle looking down with the edges of packaging coming into the side of the frame. Margarine will be used on any sandwiches as there is substantial evidence to suggest it is worse for you than butter due to the processed nature. There is plenty of evidence out there to suggest one is better than the other but from reading many sources one would assume margarine is not as good for you as they make out - http://myculturedpalate.com/blog/2012/12/10/is-margarine-harmful-6-secrets-they-dont-tell-you/ [...]

  5. [...] I’m considering composing this or one of the shots at a vertical angle looking down with the edges of packaging coming into the side of the frame. Margarine will be used on any sandwiches as there is substantial evidence to suggest it is worse for you than butter due to the processed nature. There is plenty of evidence out there to suggest one is better than the other but from reading many sources one would assume margarine is not as good for you as they make out - http://myculturedpalate.com/blog/2012/12/10/is-margarine-harmful-6-secrets-they-dont-tell-you/ [...]

  6. [...] Margarine will be used  as there is substantial evidence to suggest it is worse for you than butter due to the processed nature. There is plenty of evidence out there to suggest one is better than the other but from reading many sources one would assume margarine is not as good for you as they make out - http://myculturedpalate.com/blog/2012/12/10/is-margarine-harmful-6-secrets-they-dont-tell-you/ [...]

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