Margarine Versus Butter:
The great margarine versus butter OR butter versus margarine debate should have ended long ago.
Since the early 1990s, scientific evidence has been pouring in about the many dangers of trans fats found in margarine, as well in other artificially created fats like vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Trans fats are now known to cause heart disese, obesity, diabetes, cancer and other degenerative diseases. In addition, trans fats have been linked with lower birth weight of babies as well as declined fertility.
Margarine was probably invented as far back as 1813 in France by Michel Eugène Chevreul. However, due to changes in the product over the years we will look at the more modern invention in 1869.
Hippolyte Mege-Mouries, invented Margarine in 1869 in France. Because Butter was expensive and in short supply, Emperor Napoleon III, of France, sought a cheap, tasty substitute for it. Also, on the eve of the Franco Prussian War, he needed a butter substitute that would store well on ships. The Emperor sponsored a contest, and offered a prize for the best butter substitute submitted. Mege-Mouries mixed suet fat in water heated at low temperature, and then added milk. He called the resultant product oleomargarine because he thought beef fat possessed fatty margaric acid, which it doesn't. But his nutritious, inexpensive butter substitute won the prize. It became popular in France, spread through Europe, and during a butter shortage in the U.S. during W.W. I, it caught on in the New World as well.
Margarine is a generic term used to indicate any of a wide range of butter substitutes. In many parts of the world, margarine is now the best selling table spread, although butter and olive oil also command large market shares. It is used as an ingredient in the preparation of many other foods. Margarine is commonly called butter in informal speech, but (at least in the United States) food packaging is not permitted to refer to margarine as "butter". Recipes sometimes refer to margarine as oleo or shortening.
In the meantime, margarine manufacturers had made many changes. Modern margarine can be made from any of a wide variety of animal or vegetable fats, and is often mixed with skim milk, salt, and emulsifiers.
- Hard, generally uncoloured margarine for cooking or baking, which contains a high proportion of animal fat.
- Traditional margarines for such uses as spreading on toast, which contain a relatively high percentage of saturated fats and are made from either animal or vegetable oils.
- Margarines high in mono or poly-unsaturated fats, which are made from safflower, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed, or olive oil, and which are said to be more healthful than other types of margarine.
Many popular table spreads today are blends of margarine and butter, something that was long illegal in the United States and Australia and no doubt other parts of the world too and are designed to combine the lower cost and easy-spreading of artificial butter with the taste of the real thing.
Margarine, particularly polyunsaturated margarine, has become a major part of the Western diet. In the United States, for example, in 1930 the average person ate over 18 lb of butter a year and just over 2 lb of margarine. By the end of the 20th century, an average American ate just under 4 lb of butter and nearly 8 lb of margarine.
Conventional margarine contains a much higher proportion of so-called trans fats than does butter. Because research shows a correlation between diets high in trans fats and coronary heart disease, margarine has come to be perceived by many as unhealthy. Others argue that margarine remains healthier than butter, because butter's higher saturated fat content poses a greater hazard than margarine's trans fats. In response to trans fat concerns and government demands for labelling, margarine manufacturers are making and selling new varieties that contain less or no trans fat. In particular, tub margarine is sometimes lower in trans fat than stick margarine, but tub margarine is usually too soft to be suitable for baking.
From monitoring raw milk quality, to the cleanliness of the processing plant, care is taken to preserve nature's goodness and produce a safe, flavorful ingredient. The butter industry has rigorous quality assurance systems based on a Total Quality System (TQS) which includes Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP). Employing TQS and HACCP systems emphasizes the prevention of defects, rather than their detection. HACCP addresses three key steps: 1) identification of all potential hazards; 2) assessment of the severity of each hazard to health, safety or spoilage; 3) estimation of the risk that a hazard will occur. HACCP analysis occurs at every step in the butter production system, including raw milk quality, processing, distribution, marketing, preparation and use of butter as a food product.
USDA standards for Butter is classified primarily on flavor characteristics and is then rated according to body, color and salt. A final grade is assigned based on the combination of all four attributes. Grades include AA, A and B. All butter sold in the United States must contain at least 80 percent milkfat.
Heart disease was rare in America at the turn of the century. Between 1920 and 1960, the incidence of heart disease rose precipitously to become America's number one killer. During the same period butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four. It doesn't take a Ph.D. in statistics to conclude that butter is not a cause. Actually butter contains many nutrients that protect us from heart disease. First among these is vitamin A which is needed for the health of the thyroid and adrenal glands, both of which play a role in maintaining the proper functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system. Abnormalities of the heart and larger blood vessels occur in babies born to vitamin A deficient mothers. Butter is America's best and most easily absorbed source of vitamin A.
Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
Butter also contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries. Vitamin A and vitamin E found in butter both play a strong anti-oxidant role. Butter is a very rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant, containing more per gram than herring or wheat germ.
Butter is also a good dietary source cholesterol. What? Cholesterol an anti-oxidant? Yes indeed, cholesterol is a potent anti-oxidant that is flooded into the blood when we take in too many harmful free-radicals--usually from damaged and rancid fats in margarine and highly processed vegetable oils. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.
In the 1940's research indicated that increased fat intake caused cancer. The abandonment of butter accelerated; margarine--formerly a poor man's food-- was accepted by the well-to-do. But there was a small problem with the way this research was presented to the public. The popular press neglected to stress that fact that the "saturated" fats used in these experiments were not naturally saturated fats but partially hydrogenated or hardened fats--the kind found mostly in margarine but not in butter. Researchers stated--they may have even believed it--that there was no difference between naturally saturated fats in butter and artificially hardened fats in margarine and shortening. So butter was tarred with the black brush of the fabricated fats, and in such a way that the villains got passed off as heroes.
Actually many of the saturated fats in butter have strong anti-cancer properties. Butter is rich in short and medium chain fatty acid chains that have strong anti-tumor effects.6 Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid which gives excellent protection against cancer.
Vitamin A and the anti-oxidants in butter--vitamin E, selenium and cholesterol--protect against cancer as well as heart disease.
Vitamin A found in butter is essential to a healthy immune system; short and medium chain fatty acids also have immune system strengthening properties. But hydrogenated fats and an excess of long chain fatty acids found in polyunsaturated oils and many butter substitutes both have a deleterious effect on the immune system.
The Wulzen or "anti-stiffness" factor is a nutrient unique to butter. Dutch researcher Wulzen found that it protects against calcification of the joints--degenerative arthritis--as well as hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland. Unfortunately this vital substance is destroyed during pasteurization. Calves fed pasteurized milk or skim milk develop joint stiffness and do not thrive. Their symptoms are reversed when raw butterfat is added to the diet.
Vitamins A and D in butter are essential to the proper absorption of calcium and hence necessary for strong bones and teeth. The plague of osteoporosis in milk-drinking western nations may be due to the fact that most people choose skim milk over whole, thinking it is good for them. Butter also has anti-cariogenic effects, that is, it protects against tooth decay.
Butter is a good source of iodine, in highly absorbable form. Butter consumption prevents goiter in mountainous areas where seafood is not available. In addition, vitamin A in butter is essential for proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
Butterfat contains glycospingolipids, a special category of fatty acids that protect against gastro-intestinal infection, especially in the very young and the elderly. For this reason, children who drink skim milk have diarrhea at rates three to five times greater than children who drink whole milk. Cholesterol in butterfat promotes health of the intestinal wall and protects against cancer of the colon. Short and medium chain fatty acids protect against pathogens and have strong anti-fungal effects. Butter thus has an important role to play in the treatment of candida overgrowth.
The notion that butter causes weight gain is a sad misconception. The short and medium chain fatty acids in butter are not stored in the adipose tissue, but are used for quick energy. Fat tissue in humans is composed mainly of longer chain fatty acids. These come from olive oil and polyunsaturated oils as well as from refined carbohydrates. Because butter is rich in nutrients, it confers a feeling of satisfaction when consumed. Can it be that consumption of margarine and other butter substitutes results in cravings and bingeing because these highly fabricated products don't give the body what it needs?.
Many factors in butter ensure optimal growth of children. Chief among them is vitamin A. Individuals who have been deprived of sufficient vitamin A during gestation tend to have narrow faces and skeletal structure, small palates and crowded teeth. Extreme vitamin A deprivation results in blindness, skeletal problems and other birth defects. Individuals receiving optimal vitamin A from the time of conception have broad handsome faces, strong straight teeth, and excellent bone structure. Vitamin A also plays an important role in the development of the sex characteristics. Calves fed butter substitutes sicken and die before reaching maturity.
The X factor, discovered by Dr. Weston Price, is also essential for optimum growth. It is only present in butterfat from cows on green pasture. Cholesterol found in butterfat plays an important role in the development of the brain and nervous system. Mother's milk is high in cholesterol and contains over 50 percent of its calories as butterfat. Low fat diets have been linked to failure to thrive in children--yet low-fat diets are often recommended for youngsters! Children need the many factors in butter and other animal fats for optimal development.
Margarine Vs Butter Information: Natural News 2/9/2009 - Butter Up: Why Butter Is A Healthy Choice
Margarine Vs Butter Information: Natural News 2/12/2010 - Margarine Consumption Linked To Lower IQ Of Children
Margarine Vs Butter Information: Natural News 2/25/2011 - Why Organic, Raw Butter Will Benefit Your Health
Margarine Vs Butter Information: Second Opinions - Polyunsaturated Oils Increase Cancer Risk
Margarine Vs Butter Information: Dr. Mercola 12/7/2010 - Butter Slashes Heart Attack Risk In Half