Why Butter Is Best

April 6, 2010


I have bored people frequently by going on about why they should eat butter, the natural product, and not margarine which is a fascinating compound of colours and chemicals. Now the Kiwis are backing me up with a new piece of research from the University of Auckland.

Margarine can affect your intelligence, and it starts early as children who ate margarine every day had significantly lower IQ scores by the age of three-and-a-half than those who did not. Even more interestingly, those children who were underweight at birth had scores that were even lower by the time they were seven. The problem here is that the vegetable oils used in most margarine are hydrogenated to make them solid which is what turns them into the dangerously unhealthy trans-fatty acids.

If they can affect children in this way you can be sure that adults are affected just as badly, particularly when it comes to heart disease. This is because of the way that trans fats can raise LDL – the bad cholesterol – and lower HDL -the good cholesterol (HDL) and have been linked to inflammation, which is one of the major causes of heart disease.

If heart disease is a concern, then another piece of research to encourage you off margarine – particularly for men – comes from the respected Framingham Heart Study carried out in the US. Over a 20 year period they tracked and recorded the number of heart attacks and found that as margarine consumption increased, heart attacks went up. As butter consumption increased, heart attacks declined.

In the latter part of the study, over the final ten years they found that the group eating the most margarine had 77% more heart attacks than the group eating none.

Why is butter better? It contains short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which are easily converted to energy so that the fat in butter is less likely to be stored as fat in your body. It contains heart healthy vitamins A and E (in fact it has more vitamin A than carrots) and the essential mineral selenium, all of which protect your heart from free radical damage. Oh, and it tastes much better too.


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