What Is Healthier Butter Or Margarine?

By: Ron Lagerquist

“The makers of margarine may advertise that it is free from cholesterol, but there is something even more dangerous that lurks in that benign-looking tub in your refrigerator.”

The answer to this question would be easy ten years ago, but today there are many non-hydrogenated margarines showing up on the shelves, advertising heart-friendly fat, even the addition of omega 3 fatty acid. So for clarity, let’s deal with the traditional margarines and then I will provide an answer to the new and improved margarine products and compare them to butter.

Standard Margarine

The makers of margarine may advertise that it is free from cholesterol, but there is something even more dangerous that lurks in that benign-looking tub in your refrigerator. Due to the processing and super heating of oils, the natural essential fatty acids found in vegetable oil are transformed into a damaging, sticky substance that contributes to heart disease, hardening of the arteries and cancer.

We have learned that trans-fatty acids increase cholesterol, in particular, increasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which contributes to cardiovascular disease. In other words, margarine may be free from cholesterol but encourages the production of bad cholesterol in the body. Avoid any types of hydrogenated oils, especially margarine. It would be safer to eat the plastic tub it came in.

Heart-friendly Margarine?

No Trans Fat, Low in Saturated Fat, Non-Hydrogenated, A source of omega 3, all are written in bright letters, and faded into the background is the word, Margarine, on a familiar brand. Sounds great, they have all the bases covered right?

The science of biology has been effective in isolating and understanding many chemical mechanisms within the human body. What is harder to comprehend is when we step back and try to grasp how all of these tiny machines work together in synergy. There is still much to discover. When it comes to processed foods, what we do not know concerns me more then what we do know, and this is especially true when applied to fats and oils. It is my practice to default to what is the most unprocessed and natural. Even though there are margarines that are sold claiming to be safe, even beneficial, they are highly processed and complex; I simply do not trust them. We just do not know enough.

A small pat of freshly churned butter will be melting over steaming broccoli tonight in the Lagerquist’s household, with cracked peppercorns from India and a sprinkle of salt. Often cows graze in fields that have been sprayed with pesticides, and these contaminants can find their way into butter, so I spend the extra dollar and buy organic butter. Because we I butter in moderation, a half a pound will last me a month. Even if you cannot afford organic, I still recommend standard butter over the new and improved margarines.

 Because butter is low in essential fatty acids, it does not transform at high temperatures. This makes it stable for frying because the heating will result in very little trans-fatty acids. Butter does have cholesterol, and when eaten in large quantities can contribute to cardiovascular disease. But let's remember, moderate amounts of cholesterol are far more natural to the body than transformed fatty acids.

If you really want to go all the way with healthy fat, then try this amazing tasting butter replacer.

Butter Replacer
1/2 cup cold pressed flax oil
1 tablespoon powdered lecithin
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
salt to taste
Blend and chill.

Related Article: Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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