What snopes.com has to say about:
The Butter Truth
Claim: Ingestion of some types of margarine increases the risk of
Back in 2003 we compiled the following comparison chart for various brands of margarine as they were then formulated. Numbers given in grams refer to how many grams of each particular type of fat there are per tablespoon of that brand. (A tablespoon of butter or margarine contains 14 grams.) Numbers given as percentages represent the impact of one tablespoon of that spread on the recommended daily allowance of that substance. Margarines sampled were of the “tub” variety. (The same margarines in “stick” form had consistently higher numbers.)
Total FatSaturated (Polyunsaturated) (Monounsaturated)
Butter11g (17%)7g (36%)00
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter10g (15%)2g (10%)4.5g4.5g
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light5g (8%)1g (5%)2.5g1.5g
Parkay8g (13%)1.5g (8%)4g2g
Fleischmann’s9g (14%)1.5g (10%)4g3g
Blue Bonnet7g (14%)1.5g (10%)3g2g
Imperial7g (10%)1.5g (7%)3g1.5g
Country Crock (Shedd’s Spread)7g (10%)1.5g (7%)3g1.5g
Because butter is an animal product, it contains cholesterol, amounting to
30 mg per tablespoon or 10% of the USDA recommended daily allowance.
Margarines, because they are non-animal products, do not. The preceding
chart says nothing about which margarines contained trans fats (or, if
they did, how much) because this information was not always included on
product labels back then.
Since the issuance of warnings and regulations about trans fats in the
last few years, many margarine producers have reformulated their products. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, for example, now (in 2006) bears a notice on its label proclaiming “NO TRANS FAT,” and the amount of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat per serving has dropped from 4.5g each to 4g (polyunsaturated) and 2g (monounsaturated) per serving.
Although a great deal of the information given in the e-mail is valid, one
bit of intelligence is nothing more than hyperbole tossed in by the author
in an effort to make his point more strongly. The claim that some
comestible is but a “single molecule away” from being a decidedly inedible
(or even toxic) substance has been applied to a variety of processed
foods. Some of the “Butter vs. margarine” mailings circulated in 2005 had this preface tacked onto them: Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys.
Contrary to the claim, margarine was not invented as a turkey fattener. It
was formulated in 1869 by Hippolyte Mège Mouriès of France in response to
Napoleon III’s offering of a prize to whoever could succeed at producing a
viable low-cost substitute for butter. Mège Mouriès’ concoction, which he
dubbed oleomargarine, was achieved by adding salty water, milk, and
margaric acid to softened beef fat. By the turn of the century, the beef
fat in the original recipe had been replaced by vegetable oils.
In 1886, New York and New Jersey prohibited the manufacture and sale of
yellow-colored margarine, and by 1902, 32 U.S. states had enacted such
prohibitions against the coloration of the spread. (Folks got around this
by mixing yellow food coloring into the white margarine.) In 1950
President Truman repealed the requirement that margarine be offered for
sale only in uncolored state, which led to the widespread production of
the yellow margarine that has come to be the norm.
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