Often, margarine products are advertised as a healthy option, while butter is left unmarketed in the dairy aisles of the supermarkets and shoppers find it difficult to tell the difference between the two. However, the ‘healthy’ tick of approval can be far from the truth!
Margarine is a by-product of refined vegetable oil and water full of trans fats detrimental to our health. In some places in the US, it is colloquially referred to as oleomargarine or short – oleo. Margarine was first produced in 1903 as a cheaper alternative to butter. It was discovered that by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, you can create a solid spreadable product – margarine.
The video below shows an experiment conducted on ants. It sees ants going for the butter and avoiding margarine, which some argue is the ants’ natural instinct for choosing the right foods for the colony.
Early manufacturers were not aware of the damaging effects trans fats had on our health, but recently, scientists have noticed that trans fats act differently in the body to saturated and unsaturated fats, which are essential for the body to function correctly.
Fats, like omega 3 and 6, are essential for the function of the brain. Vitamins A, D and E and all fat-soluble vitamins are also necessary, as they carry fat throughout our body.
Trans fats, however, function in a different way, and their molecular structure is different. According to a 2008 study conducted by Dalainas & Ioannou the increase of the energy taken from trans fats by 2% raises the risk of coronary artery disorder by 23%.
During the 50s, butter had a bad reputation, when high cholesterol levels from animal products and butter got linked to numerous heart disease. Later though, the findings of these examinations were found to be not accurate, and people were served incorrect facts about high-fat diet and its link to heart diseases.
Today, we know that the main culprit for the development of cardiovascular diseases is the kind of fat found in simple carbohydrates such as bread and sugar. Also, it has also been discovered that slightly higher good cholesterol levels lead to a longer life.
Next time you head out to the supermarket, skip the margarine and go for the healthier option if you have to, at least you’ll know its the right natural choice.
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