Margarine is bullshit

ImageMargarine is bullshit.

Men might like it because it doesn’t make you work to spread it – completely understandable. Perhaps women like its supposed health benefits. But it is bullshit. It tastes like shit and it is damn unhealthy. 

Margarine is usually made from unsaturated vegetables oils like canola or olive oil, which are generally healthier than saturated oils. However, the health benefits of these oils are lost in processing, as the structure of the oil is completely changed when it is turned from liquid to solid. It started out alright, got interfered with, and got clapped out. Like this poor bloody dog.

It started out a cute, natural dog.

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Then people fucked with it.

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Now it’s different. It’s changed. Shit got weird, and it’s not ok.

That’s what margarine is like. It started out just fine – a healthy oil. Then people fucked with it. It’s different. It’s changed. It got weird, and it’s not ok.

Margarine used to be produced through hydrogenation, resulting in the formation of trans fats. They are loved by commercial industries because they are very stable and increase foods’ shelf life. They’re probably as tasty as all hell, too. Then after decades of community use, it was discovered and revealed that these fats are friggin’ nasty. Real jerks. They mess up your cholesterol levels and have been linked to inflammatory disorders and even cancer. Pump the brakes, trans fats, you’re out of control.

Australia has started to crack down on trans fats, reducing the use of hydrogenation and commencing another process: interesterification. Interesterification produces artificial fat molecules not found in nature, but its use results in a product with significantly less trans fats. But they’re no knights in lubricated, shining, greased armour. Studies have found that interesterified fats adversely alter cholesterol (LDL/HDL) levels too, as well as disturbing blood sugar balance (if you’re interested to read a study about this, click here). So as well as cocking up your cholesterol, it may increase your risk of developing diabetes. Dia-bloody-betes?! Well that’s no damn good. Like with those pricks, trans fats, other adverse health effects may expose themselves over time.

Why would you risk damaging your precious rig for something as disappointing and flaccid as margarine? Butter may have high saturated fat, but it is natural and it tastes amazing. If I encountered a hungry cannibal, and they set their sights on my meaty thighs, I would halt them pre-slaughter and insist that they baste me in butter. Because I’m worth it,

Shannon x

P.S. Check that your butter is pure. Its ingredients should be ‘cream, water, salt’ only, no additives or preservatives. Do it right.

READING FOR NERDBURGERS:

Gebauer, S., Psota, T. & Kris-Etherton, P. 2007, ‘The diversity of health effects of individual trans fatty acid isomers’, Lipids, Vol 42 Iss 9. Available at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11745-007-3095-8

Harder, B. 2007, ‘A trans fat substitute might have health risks too’, Science News. Available at https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/food-thought/trans-fat-substitute-might-have-health-risks-too

Karupaiah, T & Sundram K. 2007, ‘ Effects of stereospecific positioning of fatty acids in triacylglycerol structures in native and randomized fats: a review of their nutritional implications’, Nutrition & Metabolism, Vol 4 Iss 16. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1947992/

Micha, R. et al. 2010, ‘Food sources of individual plasma phospholipid trans fatty acid isomers: the Cardiovascular Health Study’, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol 91 No 4. Available at http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/4/883.full.pdf+html

Sundram, K, Karupaiah, T. & Hayes, K. 2007, ‘ Stearic acid-rich interesterified fat and trans-rich fat raise the LDL/HDL ratio and plasma glucose relative to palm olein in humans’, Nutrition & Metabolism, Vol 4 Iss 3. Available at http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/4/1/3

12 thoughts on “Margarine is bullshit

  1. fleur

    have you got any advice for PCOS? doc wants to pop me on metformin something about higher risk of developing CVD and diabloodybetes. so i am obviously horrified about the flipping marg!

    • Yes! Absolutely. Wow, PCOS is a shit of a thing. Metformin has shown to be quite useful in containing the insulin resistance that is common in the syndrome. Insulin resistance is where the body’s cells become less stimulated by insulin, so the body has to produce higher levels of insulin to manage blood sugar levels. This excess of insulin can wreak havoc on many tissues. Have you had a glucose tolerance test through your GP (also lipid profile and a blood pressure reading wouldn’t hurt)? It could be worth doing to see how your body is coping at the moment. Metformin works partly by increasing your cells’ sensitivity to insulin. It also reduces production of some androgens which are part of the PCOS. The relationship between PCOS and CVD is less clear but higher levels of blood cholesterol are common in PCOS patients. From a food and lifestyle point of view, the following has been shown to successful in studies and anecdotally:
      – a diet low in carbohydrates. This provides a more stable blood sugar. So lots of vegies, lean meats, good fats, small amounts of whole grains.
      – no refined grains (and definitely no sugar).
      – exercise (cardio and weight resistance).
      – aim to have a healthy weight.
      – avoid stress.
      I am aware that these recommendations are not easy (and some may consider them ridiculous) – especially when you have bloody kids!! But many PCOS patients no longer experience symptoms when they change their diet to low glycaemic index whole foods.
      This link is quite good, from a gynae site http://www.obgyn.net/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/pcos-and-diet.
      Please let me know if you have any questions! xxx

  2. Love your work! Can you make any food recommendations around reflux? I’ve been on nexium for a coupla years now, apparently I’ve got barret’s, but my specialist reckons it’s not to do with diet ( really?) and advice on line is conflicting to say the least.

    • G’day Christine, sorry to hear about your reflux troubles! Given your history, and the appearance of Barrett’s oesophagus, I think you should visit a nutritionist or dietician. It would be careless of me to provide advice over the internet machine! Feel free to email me for any clarifications or anything, ok?
      shan.kelly@me.com

  3. Daniel

    Hi Shan, love your work mostly and please don’t take this as a knock but I think something needs clarification here. I believe A lot of the data on margarine having higher levels of trans fats comes from the US and comes from a few years ago. Australian margarines have negligible/ extremely low levels of trans fats generally.
    Now I’m not a tightarse fanatic, I use a variety of spreads in moderation (boring word alert) including avocado but feel this needs clarification.
    Happy to discuss if you like. 🙂 happy Monday.dt Barefootdietitian@gmail.com

    • Hi Daniel! Thanks for the input 🙂
      In this article, I talked about interestification used in Australia which means very low or no trans fats. But it still produces a product with negative health consequences.
      BUTTER ALL THE WAY!

  4. johnfawkesblogger

    Butter is awesome. I love it so much, I started putting butter and coconut oil in my tea every morning and never looked back. Lose the fear of saturated fat, people. It’s what your brain is made of!

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