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Since my family has been making some new food choices in hopes of living a longer/healthier life we have adopted a few “food rules.” Make no mistake, we ENJOY eating, we eat meat, AND we live on a budget – but we are not deprived. This may or may not be similar to your life style… and that is okay. But, here I will share a rule that we have adopted. You can adopt this rule too, or not. Either way, it will be okay with me. =)

Please Pass the Butter, I’ll Pass on the Margarine.

When it comes to deciding which to use, butter or margarine, it can be a very heated (and very personal) debate.  I will always and have always chosen to stand on the side of butter – organic butter.  Butter is a REAL food, margarine is a chemically created food product.   That is all the information I need to make my decision.  I’ll choose organic butter in moderation every time.  But, if you’re not as easily convinced I’ll share a little more research on why butter rules and margarine drools.

First, a little history.
The Food and Drug Administration was started in 1938 with the Food and Drug Act.  Part of this Act said that there are certain foods that people recognize as food like bread, pasta, sour cream, butter and that if you are going to change their make up by substituting one nutrient for another you had to call them imitation and label them as such.  If you look at the ingredients of something like no-fat sour cream, you will find all sorts of things that have nothing to do with sour cream. You will find carrageenan and guar gum. These are parts of seaweed and beans. These are all substitutes for the fat in sour cream.

In 1973 the FDA repealed the imitation rule without going to Congress.  They repealed the rule as requested by organizations like the American Heart Association, who thought that this would be a good thing. That the imitation rule was standing in the way of reengineering the food supply to make it contain less fat.  Because no one would buy products called “imitation sour cream.”  But, you would buy a product called “low fat or fat free sour cream.”  Would you buy imitation butter?  Probably not; but you would buy margarine touted with claims of “heart healthy.”

In the late 1900s, several states passed laws saying you had to dye margarine pink so people wouldn’t be confused and would know that that’s an imitation food and not butter.  But, the industry got the Supreme Court to throw this out.  So margarine was elevated as the more modern, more healthy food.  And it turned out that we replaced this possibly mildly unhealthy fat called saturated fat with now a demonstrably lethal one called hydrogenated oil.  This trans fat that margarine contains has since been shown to cause heart attacks and cancer.  This is why so many products proudly display the “no trans fat” claim.  Now, I know that many margarines have been “reformulated” so as not to contain trans fat, but who knows what science will prove next about the ingredients and preservatives in margarine.  I’m sticking to natural butter.  God gave it to us and I’m positive that He knew what He was doing.  I can’t say the same for every food scientist.

But isn’t butter bad for me too?
Butter has earned a lot of negative press due to being high in saturated fat. The same happened to coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil has anti-viral and many other healing properties. And butter? Well, it seems we have gone full circle and began to realize some positive facts about butter.  Here are just some of them:

  • Butter is completely natural
  • Butter is rich in natural vitamin A, also good source of vitamins D, E, K
  • Also contains mineral selenium, an anti-oxidant, iodine and lecithin
  • Linoleic, lauric and butyric acids play important roles in our body and butter contains them all
  • And yes, it contains cholesterol – a very important ingredient for brain development, cell elasticity and healthy intestines. Children especially need it in their diet!

If you are a new reader you might want to read some of my older “My Whole Food Journey” posts HERE.

Have you got questions? Are you on your own quest to eat wholesome and/or organic? If you’ve been shopping a little differently as well and the labels have got your brain in a fog… email me or drop me a comment here and I’ll be happy to help you find the answers your looking for! Sometimes shopping in a whole foods store can be overwhelming and leave you with more questions than when you came in!
*Thanks to Michael Pollan and Sustainable Echo for some of the research here.