The benefits of choosing butter over margarine

“Don’t buy any more butter,” I told my wife many years ago.


“Don’t buy any more butter,” I told my wife many years ago. I was a naïve young doctor at that time and I believed my cardiologist who advised the use of margarine instead to prevent heart attack.

Later, I questioned my cardiologist’s reasoning.

The Annals of Internal Medicine reports 27 clinical trials that involved 600,000 participants. Researchers concluded the use of margarine, namely a high intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, did not have any beneficial effect on cardiovascular health.

Butter is made by churning the fatty part of cow’s milk into butter. Margarine is a synthetic product manufactured by exposing vegetable oils to high pressure and hydrogen gas. In the process a number of artificial additives such as colorants are added.

The bad news is that hydrogenation turns some of the vegetable oil into unhealthy trans fats.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, however, long proponents of margarine, still argue that butter, cheese and fatty meat are linked to heart disease. Fortunately some authorities are now challenging the so-called ‘heart healthy margarine’ concept.

What has happened in the last few decades is multinational companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars demonizing butter and praising the virtues of margarine. They’ve proved Madison Avenue advertising works as both the public and doctors have been persuaded margarines containing polyunsaturated fats were the way to cardiac health.

Now it appears lobbies for manufacturers of margarine, along with years of governmental health advice, have been wrong.

But isn’t it interesting neither of these organizations has apologized to the public for subjecting them to unhealthy trans fats for years.

What is equally appalling is that for years there’s been a carte blanche acceptance of butter demonization by so many researchers and the medical profession.

Butter is rich in Vitamins A, E and K2 along with minerals such as zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. The saturated fats in butter increase the good cholesterol HDL and help to guard against bad cholesterol LDL. Butter provides the perfect balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats as too many people are eating an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids.

Government and manufacturers should have listened to Leonardo da Vinci when he wrote 500 years ago that, “Nature never breaks her own laws.”

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