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is butter or margarine better

Butter or Margarine?

I received the following information at a recent nutrition seminar and hope you find it helpful. -Dr. Pence

Patients frequently ask me, “Which is better: butter or margarine ?”  I think that’s a fair question. And I believe that you not only need to know the answer, but to understand it as well. This information is critical, not only for you and your family, but for anybody else you care about. Over the years the processed food industry has managed to hoodwink the American public completely regarding the “healthy” aspects of margarine. Margarine is marketed as a pure, golden vegetable oil that is low in cholesterol and good for your heart. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Here is what margarine really is.

Margarine was first vegetable oil – a liquid at room temperature. Unfortunately this oil is usually already rancid. But that doesn’t matter because the oil will be subjected to extreme heat or boiled. This new semi-congealed mass resulting from the first treatment smells so rotten that it is unmarketable. So it heads for a deodorizing process.  After being deodorized, the sticky, gray, lumpy material heads for a new vat where hydrogenation takes place. This vat intentionally contains metal shavings, predominately nickel oxide. Nickel oxide is highly toxic and is impossible to remove completely from the final margarine product.

Hydrogenation is the spraying of hydrogen gas under immense pressure and temperature (over 400 degrees Fahrenheit) into the oil in the presence of the metal catalyst for up to 8 hours. The liquid oil is changed into a semi-solid in this manner. Following hydrogenation, the original oil containing unsaturated and polyunsaturated molecules becomes saturated. The oil molecules are bombarded by hydrogen in an erratic fashion. As this takes place strange foreign food type substances not found in nature are created. These new “trans” fatty acids are very harmful since they interfere with the normal metabolic processes that take place when real food is digested. These abnormal metabolic reactions can actually cause an increase in cholesterol. In fact, the “low-cholesterol” margarine fouls up your body’s ability to clear your blood of cholesterol. And in an ironic twist, the margarine “type food” marketed as anti-cholesterol and better for your heart is in actuality just the exact opposite.

The partially hydrogenated oil is still far from ready for consumption. It must be mechanically forced together (or homogenized). Soap-like emulsifiers are squeezed into the oil, keeping the water from separating out. Starch is then added to increase consistency. Although the oil has been steam cleaned and chemically altered, which removes any food value whatsoever, it is finally bleached to remove any color. Then, strong sulfur-refined coal tar dyes are used to add color. And since there is no taste left, strong flavorings are used to make the substance taste like something other than what it actually is! Finally, preservatives are thrown in, the substance is compressed, cooled, scraped and cut, and is now ready for your kitchen. It makes a perfect companion for today’s supermarket breads, which are prepared in much the same manner.

What can you do? Skip the margarine and other “trans” fats completely. The worst offenders are margarine, Crisco, deep fryers and the majority of peanut butters, which are fully hydrogenated. These phoney foods cause liver, heart and blood vessel trouble. When a little butter is called for, use real butter, preferably from raw milk. This healthy natural fat is loaded with fat-soluble vitamins, enzymes and essential fatty acids. Just remember: