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Butter vs margarine… still confused?

 

It seems many of us are still falling victim to the clever marketing ploys adopted by manufacturers of margarine.  Claims that margarine is ‘good for your heart health’ and will ‘lower your cholesterol’, not to mention the latest Meadow lea advertisement using cute little kids to ‘guilt’ us into using margarine, or we’ll develop heart disease and die, is quite frankly totally misleading  and a load of rubbish!  I say rubbish, because that’s exactly what margarine is and I’m about to explain why.  To make matters worse, the fact margarine is endorsed by the heart foundation, sporting it’s little red tick of approval, is yet another deceptive and misleading form of advertising and quite frankly should NEVER be trusted as a reliable indicator for healthy food.

                                                                                     = BAD   

So what is margarine?

Margarine is made from vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, safflower and soy bean.  The process used to turn these vegetable oils from a liquid to semi solid state, to make spreadable margarine,  is called ‘hydrogenation’. It’s this process that not only causes the oil to turn a blackish, grey, which they then dye yellow so we consumers will be none the wiser, but it also transforms the oils into trans-fat.  Trans fats are the most dangerous fats for us to consume because they increase bad (LDL) cholesterol and decrease good (HDL),  cholesterol, increasing triglycerides, lipoprotein, and inflammation. So it’s the trans fats in margarine and so many processed foods, that clog our arteries and cause heart disease – stroke and heart attack,  NOT the saturated fats in animal sources and extra virgin coconut oil.

But some margarines have had the trans fats removed because of all the bad press, but this still does not make margarine a healthy source of fat because omega 6, polyunsaturated vegetable oils are  some of the most chemically altered foods in our diets, found in the majority of processed food, ranging from salad dressing to mayonnaise, even biscuits and protein powders.   To make matters worse, many vegetables oils are extracted from genetically modified crops such as soy and canola, which have been heavily sprayed with dangerous levels of chemical pesticides.  You can read more about GM soy in a previous post I wrote here.  Add to this scenario the fact we eat meat from animals such as chicken, pork  and beef that are usually fed genetically modified, pesticide laden seeds and grains, like soy,  making our overall intake of  omega-6 rich oils and seeds in our diets way out of proportion, compared to the other essential fatty acid – omega 3.

What is Butter

Butter is totally natural (unless you’re buying the spreadable brands, which I advise against because they contain processed vegetable oils), made from cow’ milk.  Now many of you will know that I don’t advocate drinking cows dairy, ( you can read why here)  but I make an exception with all natural butter, because it has not undergone the same processing methods that cow’s milk has and because we only need to consume such a small amount of it, the same way we have ’ been eating butter for over 100,000 years.

Many people forget that vital organs, such as the heart, are covered in a layer of saturated fat – known as visceral fat – which is essential for our survival.  Its only when our visceral fat levels increase from eating too much sugar, trans fats and processed vegetable oils that we develop lifestyle diseases.

Unlike margarine, butter also contains a portion of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, E K and D, essential trace minerals like selenium –  a powerful antioxidant, protective against cancer, along with other healthy fatty acids like butyric, linoleic and lauric acid – which possesses potent antimicrobial and antifungal properties. (these fatty acids are also found in extra virgin coconut oil)

Another reason we were scared off butter stems from the fact it contains the supposed dreaded cholesterol! But science is finally acknowledging that cholesterol is NOT the perpetrator when it comes to heart disease, but rather inflammation is. In fact our body actually needs a certain amount of healthy cholesterol to manufacture essential Vitamin D, as well as for calcium assimilation and cortisol production – the stress response hormone.

Is Saturated Fat bad for us?

In short, no!  The demonization of saturated fat began in 1953, when a Dr known as Ancel Keys, published a paper comparing saturated fat intake and heart disease mortality. His reporting skills however left a lot to be desired as he neglected to include key pieces of information which would have proven his theory completely wrong.  It is only today, 60 years on, that the truth is finally starting to be revealed. As science has begun to revisit his studies and discover a totally different picture than what he reported.

Obesity only became a health issue along with coronary heart disease when a government health campaign warned us off saturated fats and onto eating supposed ‘healthy’  vegetable oils.  Before then we were still sucking the fat from our chops and eating the chicken skin, whilst enjoying the cream off the full fat, unpasteurised milk, but now days we avoid saturated fats as though they are the plague and have replaced them with dangerous processed vegetable oils and sugar.  The truth in reality, is processed vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower, corn and soy along with sugar,  are the real cause of obesity, cancer and coronary heart disease, NOT unprocessed saturated fats!  In 1900 the amount of vegetable based oils that people consumed was basically non existent. Today, people consume, an average, of 31kgs of vegetable oils throughout the year.

So as you can see once again there is a very large commercial vested interest in certain food products,  and like soy, vegetable oils made from various seeds are big bucks and that means big marketing campaigns to educate us on the supposed health benefits of these foods. Hopefully this article clears the confusion once and for all around butter vs margarine and if you’re keeping a nasty tub of margarine in your fridge, do yourself a favour and go and hurl it into the garbage bin right now!

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Soy…NOT… "So Good"

So good so bad

 

Soy has long been portrayed as a ‘health food’ when in fact nothing could be further from the truth!  The soy story sounds more like something out of a Hollywood movie….involving ‘money, power, lies and deception!’ Even big time celebrities and elite athletes have been brought onboard to help sell the soy story, as a health and even beauty food!  Yep…it seems when you have buckets of money behind you, you can make people believe anything!  And that’s just what the soy industry has done, for one simple reason… there is BIG bucks in soy, nothing more nothing less.

The real story behind soy is this.  There are two types of soy – fermented and unfermented.  Fermented soy in the form of tempeh, miso, natto, traditionally fermented soy sauce and milk ( this does NOT include commercially produced soy milk in your supermarket). Unfermented soy  is found in processed foods such as soy milk, soy ice cream, yoghurt, cheese, tofu and vegetable soy protein and oil is used in every thing from snacks and sauces to protein bars and weight loss shakes.   Even worse soy is in many baby formulas!

Fermented soy is the only form to possess any health benefits, because the traditional fermentation process used by the Asian cultures, produces  probiotic cultures – the “good” bacteria that live within our gut or gastrointestinal tract.  In addition, unlike unfermented soy,  fermented soy like miso, inhibit the effect of  a compound known as phytic acid which binds with certain nutrients, to inhibit the absorption of essential minerals like magnesium and potassium.

The manufacturers of the Non-fermented soy products have very cleverly and deceptively, traded off  the health benefits of fermented soy, however none of these cross over to the non-fermented soy products which are in fact extremely damaging to our health, rather than protective.

The reason why soy is bad for our health

Soy contains natural plant oestrogens known as ‘phyto’ oestrogens.  These plant oestrogens mimic our own human oestrogens which in their ‘natural’ unprocessed state can be protective against oestrogen dependant cancers and reproductive conditions.  However the processing method used to manufacture  unfermented soy products, like soy bean oil and protein, alters the molecular structure of the naturally occurring plant oestrogen, into what is referred to as  a ‘xeno’ or foreign oestrogen.  It’s these xeno oestrogens that scientific research is discovering could be feeding the increase in oestrogen dependant cancers and reproductive disorders, amongst other illnesses.  You can read more about xeno oestrogens here

To make matters even worse,  around 90% of soy in the US is now genetically modified, meaning it is heavily contaminated with pesticide residues, compared to non GMO crops.  Genetic modification alters the foods DNA and research has revealed mounting evidence to indicate this is having a catastrophic impact on our own human DNA and health.  But I’ll save the GMO story for another post, as that’s a BIG topic in itself!  But if you think your safe from GMO soy in Australia, think again, because many Australian processed foods contain imported US soy – being the largest soy producer in the world, but food labels will not necessarily indicate if a product contains imported GMO soy!

Many of us are under the misconception that we are not eating any soy because we don’t consume products such as soy milk, yoghurt or cheese for instance, but the worst part about soy is so much of it is hidden in processed foods so we don’t even realise we are eating it. 

Examples of processed foods containing soy

Manufacturers can legally disguise soy on food labels under then name of ‘vegetable protein’ and vegetable oil’ without having to reveal its derived from soy.   I spent three hours  in my local supermarket the other day researching for this article and I would have to say that at least 70% of the processed foods I surveyed contained some sort of soy whether it was in the form of  soy protein,  oil or flour and that’s excluding foods such as soy milk, ice cream yoghurt and soy meat substitutes!

Organic ( non GMO) fermented soy products are okay in small amounts, like the traditional Asian cultures consume, but the majority of the western world is under the misconception that processed products like soy milk and tofu (which are also generally genetically modified) are healthy for us.

Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of  “The Whole Soy Story” discusses thousands of studies linking soy to everything from thyroid & reproductive dysfunction, including infertility, digestive  complaints, immune-system distress, cognitive decline, as well as oestrogen dependant cancers and heart disease.

So I strongly recommend you start paying careful attention to your food labels and analyse these for any form of soy, whether it be in the form of soy bean oil or protein or vegetable oil or protein as this is the most common terminology used to list soy on packaged foods.  I guarantee you’ll be shocked by just how many common foods lurking in your pantry contain soy.

The best way to avoid soy in your diet whether it be hidden or actual soy foods, is to avoid processed foods and prepare your meals from fresh natural ingredients!  As the old saying goes, if your great grandma wouldn’t recognise it, don’t eat it!

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It's not just a healthy diet, but a way of life, so you can feel better than you have ever felt before .
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