Turns out that you should have been eating butter all along. Yep, margarine is bad for you, and no matter how much they juggle the formula, all those fake butters aren’t helping reduce your cholesterol at all. And while our mouths are open in astonishment, eat some healthy fat, because it turns out that some trans fats are fine, too.
In other words, mom was right all along. And the corporations were not. All those trans-fats, the hydrogenated ones, were created for cost reasons. Solid corn oil (margarine) was cheaper to make and store than naturally solid fats, like butter.
All this comes from a well-researched article in the February, 2008 edition of Bon Appetit magazine. The article, written by Nina Planck, author of Real Food: What to Eat and Why explains that the problem “was not science, it was politics.” Quoting Dr. Walter Willet, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, the article says, “Trans fats are the biggest food-processing disaster in U.S. history. In Europe [food companies] hired chemists and took trans fats out. . . .In the United State, they hired lawyers and public relations people.”
It’s not over. While you are busy buying “trans-fat free” food, the label just means that one serving has less than half a gram of trans fat. And serving sizes vary. So if you eat three servings of a trans-fat-free labeled food, you may have just eaten 1.5 grams of trans fats, Planck explains.
The best advice in the article is, “Don’t buy fake foods (margarine) or industrial versions of real food (hydrogenated lard.)
Bring back the butter. Use the fat of previous generations: butter, lard, beef tallow. You know, all the things people ate when there was less heart disease.
Butter image: http://www.justhungry.com
—Quinn McDonald is a writer who loves to cook. She’s married to a personal chef. Now if only she could get over that thing she has for creme brulee.