As a child in England, we used to have a game where you would hold a buttercup under your chin and if there was a golden reflection on your skin, it meant that you loved butter. I never needed a buttercup to tell me that I was, am and always will be a butter lover.
That Facebook photo that everyone shared
When I saw a photo on the internet the other day showing a plate with 2 types of margarine and 1 knob of butter and how a whole colony of ants had gathered around the butter but were avoiding the margarine, I thought the ants showed a high level of good taste.
When the margarine fashion started several decades ago, I would use it in baking and even give it to others if they wanted margarine but I never stopped eating butter myself. And of course, now the wise ones in the world are constantly pointing out the benefits of butter – particularly when it comes from grass fed cows.
They are having a tough time, though, convincing the general public who have been fed for so long the information that “butter is bad for you”. The warnings about saturated fat might have been well meaning but were totally misinformed. For all the good that margarine does for you and your body, you might as well be eating plastic. It can actually harm you. Butter is better...by far!
The bad side of margarine
All types of margarine are made from assorted vegetable oils that have been heated to extremely high temperatures. This ensures that the oils will become rancid. After that, a nickel catalyst is added, along with hydrogen atoms, to solidify it. Nickel is a toxic heavy metal and there is always the risk of some residue remaining in the finished margarine product and, during the solidification process, harmful trans-fatty acids are created which can be both carcinogenic and mutagenic. And just to really put you off, deodorants and colourings are added to remove margarine’s odor that comes from the rancid oils as well as to change the grey colour to a more palatable yellow. It is also possible (with the high level of GMOs used in foodstuffs today) that some of the vegetable oils are from GMOs. As yet, there is no labelling to tell you when GMOs are included in any processed food.
The good side of butter
I am able to buy butter made from raw cream at my local farmers market and you may be able to too. Grass-fed butter from humanely raised cows who eat only natural wholesome grass will taste better plus you are assured that the cows were never fed GM grains, antibiotics, hormones nor other chemical additives to their feed. However, if this is hard to find then organic butter is the next best thing. Most health food stores carry organic butter. Unfortunately, ordinary grocery store butter could well have antibiotics, hormones and other chemical by-products. Kerrygold butter imported from Ireland and Anchor butter which comes from New Zealand are both reputed to be butters from grass fed cows. Even if you have to pay a little more for the privilege, it is worth while to get high quality butter for you and your family.
- Butter is a rich source of vitamin A and useful for eye health, the thyroid gland and maintaining the endocrine system in top shape. Vitamins E, K and D are also present in butter.
- Butter is rich in trace minerals, especially selenium which is a powerful antioxidant, with more selenium per gram than either whole wheat or garlic.
- Butter supplies iodine which we need for our thyroid gland.
- Butter has a good supply of butyric acid which is used by the colon as an energy source. Another fatty acid, Lauric acid, is a potent antimicrobial and antifungal substance and found in butter.
- Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which gives excellent protection against cancer, particularly when butter from grass fed cows. Included too is a small but equal amount of the essential fatty acids – omega 3 and 6.
- Butter is even suggested as weight loss option. The three biggest changes in the American diet since 1970 were an increase in cereal grain consumption (particularly wheat); an increase in sweetener consumption; and the replacement of meat and milk fat (butter) with industrial vegetable oils (margarine), with total fat intake remaining the same. And yet since then the US population and others have been steadily growing overweight and even obese.
And yet another myth
Like the incorrect information given out by mainstream media about butter versus margarine over the past decades, so we have been warned about cholesterol. In fact, we need cholesterol to maintain intestinal health while our children require it especially for developing their brain and nervous systems. This is why human breast milk is so high in both saturated fat and cholesterol.
When it comes to deciding between butter and margarine, there is no contest. Now is the time to change to healthy oils and fats.