Ketogenic Diet: Soap Box – Butter vs Margarine.

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Disclaimer right at the top here – I am a Keto enthusiast clearly. Living on a Ketogenic Diet means, you eat low carb high fat. So I have to believe that butter is good for you, because I eat a tonne of it. So this post is brazenly pro butter, because I love butter and I think margarine is legalised poison. Just because I am clearly biased, definitely not a doctor, chemist or scientist, doesn’t mean I am wrong though haha.

I try to only eat grass fed butter, and that is the reason for the post really. I can go into most supermarkets and only have a choice of 1 or 2 grass fed butters. I mainly opt for Kerrygold. Now in the same section I have the choice of probably 15-20 types of margarines or spreads!!!

So lets compare –

How Butter is made –

  • Take the cream off the milk.
  • Churn it.
  • Drain off the buttermilk.
  • You have butter.

How Margarine is made –

  • Cheap vegetable oil is used, e.g. Soy and Canola.
  • They are steam cleaned, which turns the oil rancid and removes all vitamins and nutrition. However doesn’t remove all residues of pesticides and solvents.
  • Oil put through a hydrogenation process, which is a chemical process involving toxic substances like Nikal.
  • Oil is now semi solid; however it is grey and lumpy and smells really bad. So they add emulsifiers.
  • They steam clean it again to remove the smell, and bleach it.
  • They finally add vitamins and artificial flavours… and the kicker… they add yellow colouring to make it look more like butter.

So straight away, why would you choose margarine over butter.

Oh wait Butter is bad for you right? and all them margarines make loads of health claims on their tubs and websites right?. Well its all BS really. Butter is good for you –

  1. Butter contains high levels of Fat-Soluble Vitamins. Guess what; you need fat to absorb some vitamins. Without dietary fat it doesn’t matter how many multi-vitamin tablets you take, you will not be absorbing and storing Vitamin power houses like A, D, E, and K2.
  2. Fat does not make you fat. Guess what does, processed carbs/sugars. Yes butter is high in calories, but it satiates you. So you are less likely to snack or eat large portions.
  3. Butter contains fatty acids, like Butyrate and CLA. Fatty acids have numerous benefits relating to reducing triglycerides, improving insulin sensitivity, improving metabolism and improving mitochondrial health.
  4. Butter is obviously very high in saturated fat, but so what. Saturated fat causes heart disease doesn’t it? Nope! Not the dietary kind anyway. Dietary Saturated fat doesn’t get to your blood stream because your body likes it, knows what it is and uses it. The saturated fat in your blood, is actually mainly caused by all the stress the Liver has to go through processing too many carbs.
  5. Butter raises your cholesterol shock!!! High cholesterol is bad for you right! Nope, not necessarily. There is good (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL), in fact there are 3 types really. The good (HDL), the good/bad (large LDL), and the bad/bad (small LDL or triglycerides). It is the triglycerides that contribute to heart disease. Butter increases you HDL, and increases the ratio of large LDL to small LDL. So butter actually lowers your risk of heart disease. This is all good because your body actually requires cholesterol. Your brain is made up from a large percentage of it. Also for us men, you can’t make testosterone without it.

Below is a list of benefits a well know margarine company has put on their website promoting their products as a way to live a healthy life.

  1. 80% less saturated fat than Butter. So what!!… dietary saturated fat does not lead to health complications. It was just originally presumed that the link they found between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease was related to how much fat you consumed, it isn’t. It is how many carbs you intake especially the processed kind.
  2. Oils from healthy plant oils. Nope. The Vegetable oils they use are horrendous for your health, due to the heat pressing required to get the oil. It destroys the oil at cellular level, basically becoming poison to the human body. Increasing inflammation and free radicals. You should always get cold pressed oils like, Olive, Hemp, Avocado and Coconut.
  3. Healthier than butter. Erm! So they promote themselves as the healthy option to butter, yet add butter milk. Which is the leftover from butter, which doesn’t have the nutritional benefits of butter just the waste.
  4. Emulsifiers – they say they use emulsifiers like lecithin, which your body requires and is found in healthy foods like sunflower seeds and egg yolk. They don’t say they only use lecithin, they say they use emulsifiers LIKE Lecithin. I would imagine they use a lot of manufactured emulsifiers too. Another funny thing is they say their product lowers cholesterol because cholesterol is bad. However then say lecithin is good because it is in egg yolk, but eggs yolks are known to increase cholesterol. However don’t panic they increase the HDL and lower the small LDL. So a bit of a mixed message on cholesterol here I think.
  5. Added Omega 3 & 6. This is probably the worst. They promote their margarine as being healthy because it contains Omega 3 and 6 (probably added synthetically mind), and that they help maintain normal levels of Cholesterol!!! Really!!! However when you look at the ratio of omega 3 to 6 it is frighteningly bad. Per 100g there is 4.6g of omega 3 and 19g of omega 6. Do we need omega 6… yes we do, but it is vital you have it as part of a sensible ratio with omega 3. Omega 3 is generally found in healthy foods like fish. Omega 6 is awash in the modern diet, especially in the so called healthy vegetable oils. It has been suggested we should eat a 1:1 ratio, but the western diet is around the 1:16 ratio. With omega 6 been the 16. The average human today in the western world, is not eating enough 3 and eating way too much 6. What can an excess in omega 6 contribute to? – heart disease, increased triglycerides, inflammation, free radicals, gut biome issues, diabetes, IBS, depression, obesity ….. The list goes on.

Since the 80’ when all these food pyramids came in, and they tried to get you to replace dietary fat with manufactured low fat crap and told you to eat more grains. Guess what happened, we all got sicker and fatter!!! Thanks for that.

I believe in real food, in real forms for the most part. I eat butter and loads of other types of fat….. but I eat low carb. If you start eating loads of butter but still eat loads of carbs you will get into plenty of health troubles still. Think of it as a Park Swing. The protein is the pivot in the middle that stays the same. Then on one side there is fat and carbs on the other. If you increase/raise the fats, then naturally you have to lower the carbs…. or vice versa but I obviously would not recommend the high carb low fat option that has failed every dieter since the 80’s.

So I apologise for anyone that has got this far down…. I just want more grass fed butter in supermarkets really. If people want to eat margarine, that is there prerogative.

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