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Is margarine really that bad for your health?

  1. If there are many conflicting stories about a product, it is about margarine. It would not be just chemical and would be only one molecule different from plastic; but also packed with unhealthy trans fatty acids. Yet many nutritionists and dietitians recommend eating margarine instead of butter and many vegetarians and vegans use this spread. Can margarine be that unhealthy? We zoom in together with Becel on five properties of margarine to provide clarity in the chaos.

  2. If there are many contradictory stories circulating about a product, it is about margarine. It would not be just chemical and would be only one molecule different from plastic; but also packed with unhealthy trans fatty acids. Yet many nutritionists and dietitians recommend eating margarine instead of butter and many vegetarians and vegans use this spread. Can margarine be that unhealthy? We zoom in together with Becel on five properties of margarine to provide clarity in the chaos.

What is butter?

  1. Let us assume that not one product that is sold in the Netherlands to spread bread is unsafe for health when used in moderation. We have strict legislation in our country that ensures that you can be sure that you can use butter, margarine and low-fat margarine safely. And although popularly we call everything we use to spread our bread or where we bake or fry food â € butterâ € ™, according to the same legislation, something can only be called that if it contains at least 80 percent milk fat. Although butter is used collectively, butter is officially only the dairy product cream butter. (Cream) butter is a protected name and is always made of cream.

  2. Let us assume that not one product sold in the Netherlands to spread bread is unsafe for health if used in moderation. We have strict legislation in our country that ensures that you can be sure that you can use butter, margarine and low-fat margarine safely. And although popularly we refer to everything that we use to spread our bread or where we bake or fry food â € butterâ € ™, according to the same legislation, something can only be called that when it contains at least 80 percent milk fat. Although butter is used collectively, butter is officially only the dairy product cream butter. This is because (Cream) butter is a protected name and is always made from cream.

The benefits of 'vegetable butter'

  1. The fact that margarine is vegetable is the reason that many vegetarians and vegans prefer margarine. Margarine is made with vegetable oils and fats and is therefore better for the environment in terms of production process. Moreover, it is in line with the advice from the Health Council and the Nutrition Center to eat less animal and more vegetable food. First of all, we look at what vegetable products are: this mainly includes vegetables and fruit, legumes, nuts, wholemeal products and vegetable fats and oils. This has benefits for your health, but certainly also for the environment. After all, of everything we eat, the consumption of meat and dairy contributes the most to the food-related environmental impact. This is partly due to the emission of greenhouse gases such as COâ‚ ‚and methane. For example, two pieces of entrecôte equals a car trip from Amsterdam to Barneveld if you consider COâ‚ ‚emissions. Plants emit only a small amount of CO at night, while during the day they absorb a much larger amount of CO. This means they have a lower impact on the environment than animal products such as meat and - not to forget - dairy.

  2. The fact that margarine is vegetable is the reason that many vegetarians and vegans prefer margarine. Margarine is made with vegetable oils and fats and is therefore better for the environment in terms of production process. Moreover, it is in line with the advice from the Health Council and the Nutrition Center to eat less animal and more vegetable food. First of all, we look at what vegetable products are: this mainly includes vegetables and fruit, legumes, nuts, wholemeal products and vegetable fats and oils. This has benefits for your health, but certainly also for the environment. After all, of everything we eat, the consumption of meat and dairy contributes the most to the food-related environmental impact. This is partly due to the emission of greenhouse gases such as COâ‚ ‚and methane. For example, two pieces of entrecôte equals a car trip from Amsterdam to Barneveld if you consider COâ‚ ‚emissions. Plants emit only a small amount of CO at night, while they absorb a much larger amount of CO during the day. This means that they have a lower impact on the environment than animal products such as meat and - not to mention - dairy.

Trans fatty acids in margarine?

  1. But what about those unhealthy trans fatty acids in margarine? Trans fat is an unsaturated fat that is even worse for your health than saturated fat. It is bad for the heart and blood vessels, among other things. Years ago, when it was not known that trans fats were harmful, a different technique was used to harden the oils in margarine, producing trans fat. When scientists realized a quarter of a century ago that this fat is unhealthy, it was decided to use a different recipe for margarine, in which no hardened fats are used anymore. Most margarine products contain a negligible amount of trans fat from the vegetable oils in the product, which is 0.2 to 1 percent. What many people do not know is that trans fats are also naturally present in animal products, such as milk, sheep and cow meat, butter and cheese. For example, cream butter now contains a higher trans fat content than margarine, about 1.5 percent.

  2. But what about those unhealthy trans fatty acids in margarine? Trans fat is an unsaturated fat that is even worse for your health than saturated fat. It is bad for the heart and blood vessels, among other things. Years ago, when it was not known that trans fats were harmful, a different technique was used to harden the oils in margarine, producing trans fat. When scientists realized a quarter of a century ago that this fat is unhealthy, it was decided to use a different recipe for margarine, in which no hardened fats are used anymore. Most margarine products contain a negligible amount of trans fat from the vegetable oils in the product, which is 0.2 to 1 percent. What many people do not know is that trans fats are also naturally present in animal products, such as milk, sheep and cow meat, butter and cheese. For example, cream butter now has a higher trans fat content than margarine, about 1.5 percent.

The difference between nutrients in butter and margarine

  1. But what is the difference between butter and margarine when we look at the nutrients? Butter and margarine contain about the same amount of fat, only butter is saturated fat and margarine unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fatty acids are functional fats that help to keep your cholesterol levels in balance and thus contribute to the health of the heart and blood vessels. These fats are divided into omega-3 (alpha linolenic acid, also called ALA), omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-9 fatty acids. Omega 3 and 6 are also called essential fatty acids, because the body cannot make them itself and you have to get them through your diet. This can be done through fatty fish, but also by smearing margarine. For example, Becel states that their vegetable products are made from oils from sunflower, rapeseed and linseed. These oils naturally contain the polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as vitamin E. Vitamins A and D Cream butter naturally contains a little bit of vitamins A and D. These vitamins are added to margarine products and their amounts are much higher than in cream butter. Vitamin A contributes to the healthy functioning of the immune system and the maintenance of good vision. In addition, it is good for the skin. Vitamin D deficiency Vitamin D is a special vitamin, because it is produced by our body under the influence of sunlight. It aids in the absorption of calcium, which is necessary for stronger bones. Because we are not happy with the number of sun hours in the Netherlands, it is important to get part of the vitamin D through food. Especially when we spend a lot of time indoors and are a year older. Not only will you then consume less, but you will also produce less vitamin D. What few people know is that there are two types of vitamin D in food: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. UV radiation from sunlight can cause both forms. D3 is formed in our skin and in the skin of animals, so it also occurs naturally in animal food products. Vitamin D2 is made in fungi and mushrooms. The Nutrition Center recommends that you consume 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day, for the elderly this advice is 20 micrograms per day. In addition, it is recommended to sit with your face in the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Even if you eat according to the Wheel of Five, you get enough vitamin D. For example, you can get vitamin D by consuming some margarine products - such as the 100 percent vegetable variants of Becel - where the vitamin D3 of animal origin has been replaced by the vegetable variant D2. These also fit perfectly into that Wheel of Five.

Margarine or low-fat margarine?

  1. Most margarine products in the supermarket are low-fat margarines. Low-fat margarine is a variant of margarine that contains less fat. Margarine contains about 80 percent fat, while low-fat margarine contains only 45 percent fat. The fat percentage in low-fat margarine is lower, because more water has been added. In addition to low-fat margarine, there is also a light variant of margarine. This contains even less fat, and therefore fewer calories. 100 grams Halvarine Margarine Butter, unsalted A A A A Energy 361 kcal. 711 kcal. 735 kcal. Water 57.0 grams 18 grams 14.1 grams Protein 1.5 grams 0 gram 0.7 grams Carbohydrates 0.5 gram 1 gram 0.7 grams Sugars 0.0 grams 0 gram 0.7 grams Saturated fat 12 grams 33 grams 54 grams Monounsaturated fat 12.8 grams 25 grams 23.5 grams Polyunsaturated Fat 14 grams 17 grams 3.5 grams Vitamin A. 8 milligrams 6.5 milligrams 1 milligram Vitamin D 5 micrograms 7 micrograms 1.2 micrograms Source: Voedingswaardetabel.nl

And that margarine vs. plastic story? Is margarine really just one molecule away from plastic? We can be brief about this: there are many substances that are made up of the same chemical elements. See, for example, water (H2O) and oxygen (O2); these two molecules both contain the element oxygen (O). But it is the final kit that determines the end product. We humans also consist of 93 percent of the atoms hydrogen (H), carbon (C) and oxygen (O). Polyethylene, or plastic, usually consists of the elements carbon (C) and hydrogen (H). Only one element is missing to theoretically build a human being, and yet no one claims that humans are made of plastic. If you look at the oils and fats in margarine, but also in olive oil or butter, you see that they are made up of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). In fact, in terms of composition, margarine resembles humans more than plasticâ € ¦ This article was created in collaboration with Becel. Don't miss anything anymore?

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