Candace's Favorite Things

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

THIS WEEK'S DISH'IN NUTRITION: "What's better For My Heart - Butter or Margarine"?

When it comes to the question of butter vs. margarine, there has been MUCH debate. The reality is however, when looking at it from the matter of what's best for one's heart health, it ends up being just like every other so called 'controversy' out there. At first, it may grab our attention but after a while, when the dust of all the hype settles down - the truth quickly rises to the top!

When it comes to the use of butter, the concerns are obvious, but in case you’ve missed them, let me help you out.

Margarine has had so much dung slung at it that I wouldn’t eat it either if I didn’t know the facts. But before we get to the TRUTH of the matter, here are a few of the CRAZY ideas that are circulating around out there. In fact, I’m sure some of you’ve heard them. How do I know?  I KNOW because you’ve asked me some of these same questions and some of you’ve been terrified to touch the stuff BECAUSE of a couple of these myths that you’ve believed as truth and honestly folks….that’s why I write most, if not all of my blog posts. They are written FOR YOU! My blog, “Memoires of a Fitness Diva” has become (for lack of any better title), the TRUTH JOURNAL! If you want to know the truth about 'Fit Flops' being able to give you a firmer, nicely trained butt – or Whether or not Artificial Sweeteners will really make you gain weight – or if Eating Wheat really is the worst thing you could do to your body…here’s the place to seek and find the truth.

 I am highly educated and certified. I’m a continuing education provider for the ‘American Council on Exercise’ and ‘The Aerobic and Fitness Association of America’. That means on their behalf…. I teach workshops to educate other fitness and nutrition professionals. I have been at this for 21 years. I’ve traveled the world doing what I do. I research and study constantly and when I don’t know the answers, I have amazing contacts – Great Medical Minds, etc. that do and I ask!!!

 I also don’t care if I rock the boat. I have no deals with any of the companies I write about and if I happen to write about one that I do ….well I’ll tell you. More importantly, while I love you all….I don’t care if you like what I have to say. I consider shooting down shysters and dispensing the truth, to be a part of my responsibility and I go at it full steam ahead. What I say may shock you….but I promise, everything I bring to your attention is the TRUTH TODAY AS FAR AS MODERN SCIENCE AND MEDICINE KNOW IT TO BE! SO today, I present a case against “Margarine Vilified Unjustly” and a case for choosing “Not to eat BUTTER”, except once in a blue moon or unless it’s in a cheese cake or something…LOL….Here we go….
It’s been said that margarine should NOT BE CONSUMED because;
1)      It’s artificial. (Actually most are made from predominantly plant seed oils, water, milk and salt.)
2)      It’s processed… (YEP, to ensure the natural canola and sunflower oils are combined with other ingredients such as milk, water and salt to develop smooth consistency for spreading)….and BUTTER ISN’T? Read what I have to say about that below…trust me, it’s processed too. It has to be! Keep reading…
3)      It starts out black. OY… (Well yeah, when you consider the main ingredient of most is natural canola and sunflower seeds. Dark in color you bet and when crushed to release their natural oils…yep, that’s pretty black; and then the broken shells are removed) – OH NO. Actually more like OH P –A- L- E- A- S- E!!!!!
4)      It’s one molecule away from plastic. Seriously, I’d rather not spend my time justifying this with an answer, but it’s so ridiculous I must!! This is actually an urban myth that was started because of the technical use of the word “plasticity” when describing how both BUTTER and MARGARINE (or any substance really) can be molded or shaped when pressure is applied. TRUST ME, BUTTER shows greater “plasticity” in most cases than spread margarine - but that only means you could better use butter instead of play dough….though I don’t think it’s really a very good option. It’ll eventually start to melt or go rancid! 
5)      Margarine is high in Trans fats.  (Not now, unless you eat it in stick form.) When it comes to margarine, definitely go with a tub or spread version…which most all of them are. Now that we’ve gotten up to speed on the truth about Trans fats in this country, most all margarines that are not solid at room temperature, like butter is…are about as low as you can get when it comes to Trans fats. Most in fact can claim “Trans Fat Free” because they contain such a microscopic amount.
The real truth about Margarine is…YES, the more solid it is at room temperature, the more Trans fat it contains. For example, stick margarine contains the most Trans fat, 3 grams in one tablespoon. As I said above, make sure you don’t use that version. Instead, simply switch to tub or liquid margarine and you've cut that by almost 2/3, from 1–2 grams Trans fat. The good news is margarine manufacturers are now cutting Trans fat levels even more, to less than 0.5 grams per serving! At this low a level, they are allowed to carry the claim "trans fat free or zero-trans fat". How do they do it? They switched their first ingredient from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil to water or liquid vegetable oil. It's best to keep the total Trans fat as close to zero as possible and saturated fat under 2 grams per serving.
“Well ok, but I’ve still heard, you’re better off to stick with real butter, after all its natural!” Must I say it again ya’ll. Just because something is ALL NATURAL, or you ‘think’ it is…doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily good for you! Besides, who said butter’s all natural?

Earlier in the list of myths about margarine I stated the “Margarine is processed” argument.  Well guess what, so is butter! Trust me, there’s nothing 'ALL NATURAL' about butter. Butter is made. It’s ‘processed’ if you will. It’s not found naturally occurring in nature. It’s hard work, not nature that makes it that way. Tell me how this is natural:
 Butter is made by beating cream, the thickest, fattiest part of milk. As it is beaten, the fat globules begin to stick together, forcing the cream to form a solid mass of milk fat, also known as butter. Now I’d call that processed wouldn’t you? SERIOUSLY LET’S AT LEAST PLAY FAIR!
In addition, because butter is an animal based product, it contains two cholesterol-raising ingredients: Dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal products. On the other hand, plant-based food or food products (such as margarine) don’t contain dietary cholesterol. It is recommended that healthy people consume no more than 200 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Butter has 33 
 milligrams of cholesterol in one tablespoon alone!

In fact, the biggest concern with butter IS its saturated fat content. You can always spot saturated fats, even from a distance because they are solid at room temperature.
Saturated fat is found largely in red meat and high-fat dairy products …like butter, but it’s also found in coconut and palm oils. Saturated fat intakes are associated with increases in heart-disease risk. A healthy range of saturated fat is 10 – 15 grams each day. Just one tablespoon of butter contains over 7 grams of saturated fat! OUCH!

Folks, every legitimate organization that I’ve ever used for research, read for information, or that I’ve had the pleasure of being associated with (such as the Mayo Clinic, The American Heart Association or the Cleveland Clinic, to name a few) are all in agreement when it comes to the consumption of butter.
IN Fact…to shoot down any who still DON’T BELIEVE the truth that the use of soft spreadable margarine….(in moderation, as with most all things in this life) is better than  butter - let’s go ahead and tie up this article with a neat little medically sound bow shall we.

This quote is directly from the Cleveland Clinic’s 
Journal of Medicine  -  “Consumer Health Information” Edition;
“When it comes to the choice between butter and margarine (the trans-free tub or liquid kinds) is still recommended over butter. For those of you who choose to have a "little" butter once in a while (for example, 1 teaspoon a couple times a month) you shouldn't have to worry, but it's better to be safe than sorry. On a regular basis, aim for the growing number of tub and liquid trans-free margarines available on the market today and rest-assured that you are eating in a more heart-healthy manner. Keep in mind, margarine contains greater amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated oils which helps reduce bad cholesterol when used to replace saturated and trans fats”.

The truth is, all medically sound boards agree on this matter.
Moderation here of course, is the key. Pound per pound is what we’re speaking of here and soft spreadable margarine has gotten a very bad rap. NO, I’d say more like a ridiculously bad rap! The truth is it contains more heart healthy fat than butter spoon for spoon when used equally and why wouldn’t you want that! I would. Check for containers of margarine that have very few ingredients and make sure they’re all ones that you recognize. As with all products we consumers buy - there are quality products and inferior products for us to choose from. When it comes to what you eat - why not choose the very best ingredients your money can buy.

I’m afraid I’m Not sorry if I’ve burst your “Margarine is evil bubble”. Not even if it makes only one, single solitary,  healthy heart. By the way, the next time you're looking at a quality tub of soft spreadable margarine …check for the label that reads “This Product Approved by The American Heart Association”! I’m one of their spokes persons and WE couldn’t be more serious!

Until next time,
Eat Well to Live Well…

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