Saturday, September 1, 2012

Margarine VS Butter : A Slippery Debate


I do not use Margarine, as a matter of fact I think it has been about 20 years since I have had it at all.  There is definitely a HUGE DIFFERENCE between Butter and Margarine.  This debate can go on for eons depending on your research, however for me after learning the process for creating, yes creating not making, Margarine I will use butter instead.  There are several U.S. Patents for the process of creating Margarine.

Margarine is made starting with cheap, poor quality vegetable oils, such as corn, cottonseed, soybeans, safflower seeds and canola.  These oils have already turned rancid from being extracted from oil seeds using high temperature and high pressure. Rancid oils are loaded with free radicals that react easily with other molecules, causing cell damage, premature aging and a host of other problems. 

The last bit of oil is removed with hexane, a solvent known to cause cancer. Although this hexane subsequent removed, traces of it are inevitably left behind.  Cottonseed oil, one of the most popular margarine ingredients, has natural toxins and unrefined cottonseed oil is used as a pesticide. The toxin, gossypol, is removed during refining. 

How Margarine Is Made:
Margarine is made by steam cleaning the raw oils (corn, cottonseed, soybeans, safflower seeds and canola) used in making Margarine.  This destroys all the vitamins and antioxidants.  However, the residues of pesticides and solvents – that is, hexane – remain.  The oils are then mixed with finely ground nickel, a highly toxic substance that serves as a catalyst for the chemical reaction during the hydrogenation process.  ** Note: Other catalysts may be used, but these, too, are highly toxic. **

The oils are then put under high temperature and pressure in a reactor. Hydrogen gas is introduced!  The high temperature and pressure, together with the presence of nickel catalyst, causes hydrogen atoms to be forced into the oil molecules; if the oil is partially hydrogenated, it turns from liquid into a semi-solid.  This is known as ‘partial hydrogenation’.  What comes out of the partial hydrogenation process is smelly, lumpy, grey grease.  Emulsifiers – which are like soaps – are mixed in to remove the lumps.

Lastly, the again the oil is steam cleaned to remove the odor of the chemicals, through a process called dehydration.  The oil is bleached to get rid of the grey color, after bleaching synthetic vitamins and flavorings are added. 

Butter really does get a bad rep.  I mean would you rather have the natural animal fat or partially hydrogenated, steamed oils cleaned with soap that have the same chemical makeup of say a child’s toy?  As for me Margarine is not allowed in our home, diet’s or lifestyle.   When it comes to butter vs. margarine, the bottom line is that regular butter is better for you than regular margarine!  However some food scientists feel Trans fat-free margarine, is better for you than regular butter.

The WORST Margarine Offenders:  
If you are sticking with your Margarine at least you should know what experts think are the worst Margarine's.  According to Health.com to stay solid at room temperature, vegetable oils are hydrogenated, which creates trans fatty acids that can raise LDL, or bad cholesterol. Most solid sticks of margarine contain trans fats and/or saturated fat.  These include:
  •     Country Crock Spreadable Sticks (80 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 2 grams trans fats)
  •     Blue Bonnet Sticks (70 calories, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 1.5 grams trans fat)
  •     Land O'Lakes Margarine Sticks (100 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 2.5 grams trans fats)
  •     Fleischmann's Original Stick Margarine (80 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 1.5 grams trans fat).
Bottom line, look at the big picture for greater impact on heart health: Eat fewer saturated and trans fats, consume more plant-based foods, and get enough exercise.



Xoxo,
BG

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