Margarine or butter?

If you answered “margarine,” I’ve got some information that might make you reconsider.

An HSI member sent me an e-mail that had been forwarded multiple times, but appears to have originated from L. Eugene Arnold, M.Ed., M.D.; a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Ohio State University. Here’s what Dr. Arnold writes:

“Do you know the difference between margarine and butter?

  • Both have the same amount of calories.
  • Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.
  • Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.
  • Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
  • Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added!
  • For most people, butter tastes better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods. (The best flavor claim margarine can make in ads is that it tastes the same as butter.)
  • Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.

“And now, for Margarine

  • Very high in trans fatty acids.
  • Triples the risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol)
  • Lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol).
  • Increases the risk of cancers by up to five fold.
  • Lowers quality of breast milk.
  • Decreases immune response.
  • Decreases insulin response.

“And here is the part that is very interesting! Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC. This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

“You can try this yourself: purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things: no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something) It does not rot or smell differently. Nothing will grow on it – not even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

“Share This With Your Friends – (Butter them up.)

“Additional info Children who eat butter or drink whole milk with butterfat have better resistance to infection.

“P.S. This was not sponsored by the dairy industry.”

I’ve heard some of these facts before, but others were new to me, so I asked HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., for his take on the list, and he didn’t hesitate: “Absolutely true. The guy’s read my book. In it, I call margarine ‘plastic butter.’ It’s very, very bad stuff. I cheat and have to drink city water sometimes. But I try never to do that with margarine.”

The book that Dr. Spreen refers to is “Nutritionally Incorrect: Why the American Diet is Dangerous and How to Defend Yourself” (Woodland Publishing).