Trans Fat? Should You Eat Margarine Or Butter?

So What’s The Skinny On Fats And Trans Fat?

Which fats are good and which are bad?

And get the full scoop on different fats!

I’ve read so much about "fats" over the years, but the medical advice only seems to be more and more confusing!

We were all told to eat margarine and not butter, and I followed that dumb advice for around twenty years.

Then we were told it that it was all a mistake and that we should now keep eating butter!

The very latest news however is that the latest margarines are more healthy than butter because they contain almost no trans fats.

Whereas butter is made from animal fat, so it contains cholesterol and high levels of saturated fat!

Why Do Companies Use Trans Fat?

Trans fats are easy to implement, inexpensive to produce and last a long time.

And they are thought to give a desirable taste and texture.

And many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry their foods because oils that contain trans fats can be used for a much longer time in commercial fryers.

How Much Trans Fat Is It OK To Eat?


How Much Trans Fat Is It OK To Eat?

The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of trans fats you eat to less than 1% of your total daily calories.

That means if you need 2,000 calories a day, no more than twenty of those calories should come from trans fats.

That’s less than 2 grams of trans fats a day!

Low Fat Diets?

Low fat diets and foods have been popping up everywhere in recent years, but I’ve read that the brain, which is a pretty important organ, needs them!

So maybe some of you can give us the skinny on fats and trans fats?

Your comments are very welcome and you don’t need to sign in to comment.

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13 Responses to Trans Fat? Should You Eat Margarine Or Butter?

  1. brightone69 says:

    I can’t claim to be any kind of expert on fats because I’m skinny as a rake but a common misconception is that it’s fat that makes you fat!

    And of course fat can contribute to weight gain, but over-weight and obesity is far more complicated than just eating too much of one single nutrient.

    Fat has nine calories per gram, which is admittedly almost double the four calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates, but eating excess calories from any source can cause weight gain and how much you eat of anything is of course what’s most important.

    * a rake = An immoral or dissolute person; a libertine ;-)

  2. Michael Redbourn says:

    Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids and although they are necessary for human health the body can’ t make them!

    In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems and symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.

    So you have to get them through food and Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut (which is a bottom feeder and therefore not recommended), and other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils are excellent.

    Fatty acids are also called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and they play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development.

    Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

    These acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be very important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function.

    What’s not commonly known however, is that it’s important to have a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet because Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, whereras most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation.

    * The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.

    The so called Mediterranean diet doesn’t include much meat (which is high in omega-6 fatty acids) and emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.

    Many studies (incl. the Mayo clinic) have shown that people who follow the Mediterranean diet are far less likely to develop heart disease.

  3. Gina Robinson says:

    There’s a neat image over at the Mayo Clinic which makes it really easy to understand the Mediterrean Diet and this is it …

    med-diet-pyramid.jpg
  4. big-believer says:

    I just put together something about "Go(o)d fats and will work on "bad fats" and will then publish it here if nobody else has already published it.

    ‘Good’ Fats’

    No, "good fats" is not an oxymoron, because the good news is that a great many fats are actually beneficial to our health!

    Unsaturated fats aka (also known as) the "good" fats are broken down into two categories – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

    But before we can jump into what these two fats do, and where to find them, a quick recap on cholesterol is perhaps needed.

    nuts.jpg

    LDL cholesterol is what typically comes to mind when we think of cholesterol,because it’s the "bad" stuff that causes blockages in our artery walls and restricts the blood flow thereby leading to cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.

    HDL or "good" cholesterol however is known to help remove the LDL cholesterol from your body, thereby reducing health risks.

    So, the goal then is to raise our HDL, while lowering our LDL, with an optimal ratio of LDL to HDL of 2 or 3 (it should definitely be less than 4).

    Now back to fats.

    Generally believed to be the healthiest of the fats, monounsaturated fats (Olive oil is about 75% monounsaturated fat) reduce our LDL cholesterol while boosting our HDL cholesterol.

    Liquid at room temperature, but solid if refrigerated, this heart-healthy fat is an excellent source of vitamin E, and a powerful antioxidant that is typically lacking in most people’s diets, and it has also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation as well as to help stabilize blood sugar levels.

    Major sources include olives, avocados and nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and pecans as well as plant oils, such as peanut, canola and olive oil. 

    The other "good fat" is polyunsaturated fatty acids, which also helps to lower our cholesterol and triglyceride levels, especially when they replace their not so healthy sibling, which aresaturated fats.

    One polyunsaturated fat that has received a lot of hype lately is none other than Omega-3. which is considered to be an essential fatty acid.

    Our bodies need Omega-3 for many vital functions, including controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain.

    But because the body, somewhat suprisingly doesn’t produce this essential nutrient, we need to get it from food!

    Cold water-fish, such as salmon, trout, catfish, mackerel, contain the most effective form of the fat.

    However, for those of us that are not fish lovers (count me as one), other forms of the fat can also be found in certain nuts, dark leafy vegetables, soybeans, oils (flaxseed and some vegetable ones) and chia seeds, the vegetable source with the highest amount omega-3.

  5. gillian says:

    Thanks Big Believer!

    Well this is what I know about bad fats…

    Saturated Fat – Is the traditional villain

    This artery-clogging fat is primarily found in animal products such as meats, poultry fat, dairy products made from whole or 2% milk as well as butter and cream. 

    And this “evil” nutrient can also be found in certain plant products such as coconut and palm oils as well as cocoa butter and chocolate :-(

    Unlike unsaturated fat however, saturated fat raises our LDL, “bad,” cholesterol levels and clog our arteries, thus increasing our risk for heart diseases. 

    What’s more, we do not even need to consume it as our bodies can naturally produce all the saturated fats that we require!

    And while 20-35% of our daily calories should come from fat, it is recommended that less than 7% come from saturated fats.

    Trans Fats – When good fats go bad

    Unlike the other two groups, Trans fats are found only in tiny quantities in foods, such as in animal products, the majority of them are actually man made.

    But food manufacturers, in an effort to give their products a longer shelf life, heat innocent unsaturated fats in the presence of hydrogen gas, which is a process known as “hydrogenation”.

    Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils are more stable, therefore less likely to spoil, can be transported more easily, and can withstand repeated heating and while this may be great for the food manufacture, it is unfortunately really really bad for consumers.

    So why exactly are these fats so terrible?

    To begin with, like saturated fats, trans fats raise our LDL cholesterol and at the same time, they also lower HDL cholesterol, the kind that helps unclog arteries.

    The sad result is that they increase the risk of coronary diseases. 

    They are in fact so bad, that a few years ago New York City banned
    the usage of all but minute quantities of trans fats in its restaurants and this move was followed quickly by the entire state of California,
    Philadelphia and Boston banning the use of the fat in their restaurants. 

    And if it didn’t’t already sound awful enough, it gets worse, especially for those with a sweet tooth.

    Trans fatty acids are used extensively in the most tasty and tempting of foods.

    Major sources include vegetable shortenings and certain margarines as well as baked goods (i.e. cakes , cookies, muffins,  crackers, pie crusts and pizza dough), snack foods (i.e. popcorn, chips and candies) and of course fried foods (i.e. doughnuts and French fries).

    Please note however, that it’s tricky to know which foods contain this deadly ingredient, because if a product contains less than 0.5 grams, it will be labeled as trans fat free. 

    So take a look at the ingredients,and if a product contains “hydrogenated oils”, “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” and “shortening”, just put it down and walk away

  6. jive-a** says:

    Just in case you didn’t know or would like to know, the following supposedly healthy breakfast cereals all contain trans fat!

    * Fruity Pebbles (Post)
    * Cocoa Pebbles (Post)
    * Basic 4 (General Mills)
    * Rice Krispies Treats Cereal (Kellogg’s)
    * Froot Loops (Kellogg’s)
    * Oreo O’s (Post)
    * Corn Pops (Kellogg’s)
    * Honey Smacks (Kellogg’s)
    * Smorz (Kellogg’s)
    * Eggo Cereal Maple Syrup (Kellogg’s)
    * Mini-Swirlz Cinnamon Bun (Kellogg’s)
    * Waffle Crisp (Post)
    fruitloops.jpg

  7. divka says:

    Sounds horrible :-(

    Could you please give me a link to the information.

    Thanks!

  8. divka says:

    Well I just discovered the best (healthiest) cereals ..

    * Cheerios (General Mills)
    * Shredded Wheat (Post)
    * Fiber One (General Mills)
    * Grape Nuts (Post)
    * Wheaties (General Mills)
    * Total (General Mills)
    * GOLEAN Cereal (Kashi)
    * All-Bran (Kellogg’s)
    * Wheat Chex (General Mills)

  9. jive-a** says:

    Well the original link went dead :-(

    But this one might be better because it lists healthy and unhealthy cereals.

  10. live-one says:

    We’re all familiar with Special K right!

    They make that typical, useless, empty calorie Special K cereal which they market as a weight loss product?

    Well, here’s a little fun fact for you.

    Special K’s entire line of these foods all contain some amount of trans fat per serving.

    Specifically, this includes all types and flavors of their:

    * Protein Snack Bars
    * Protein Meal Bars
    * Bliss Bars
    * Cereal Bars
    * Snack Bites

    specialkprotein.gif

    For those interested, while their newer Chocolatey Delight cereal does indeed contain trans fat as well, their original plain old cereal does NOT

  11. gillian says:

    Well since we’re on a roll with this …

    Most people most likely see the brand "Quaker" and/or the term "granola bar" and they’d think "healthy" right?

    But whatever they think, they’d be unlikely to think "trans fat".

    Well, they’d be wrong because that wholesome Quaker brand isn’t quite so wholesome after all.

    Their ads pretty much beg parents to give these things to their kids as a good quality, healthy snack.

    But unfortunately, these granola bars contain some amount of trans fat per serving :-(

    And what about Saltine Crackers?

    Also called soda crackers, saltine crackers don’t exactly scream trans fat based on the fact that they are, well you know, plain, boring, tasteless, white crackers.

    saltine-quaker.jpg

    I obviously haven’t investigated every saltine cracker that was ever created, but the most popular brands, such as Nabisco’s Premium Crackers and Keebler’s Zesta Saltine Crackers, do indeed contain some amount of trans fat, which would lead me lead me to assume that there’s a good chance many other brands of these crackers probably do as well!

  12. Jack says:

    I checked out the labeling on some of the foods listed above and most of them said, "Trans Fat: 0 gram" and I wondered where the people posting got their info.

    Well I did a little research and it’s actually really easy to tell if a food contains trans fat even if the label says it doesn’t.

    All you need to do is read through the ingredients and if the ingredient list includes the words "shortening", "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" or "hydrogenated vegetable oil", the food contains trans fat".

    So, even if the label clearly states "Trans Fat: 0 grams," and even if the product goes an extra step to print "0g of Trans Fat" somewhere on the front of it, if you see any of the above words in the ingredients, then it contains at least some trans fat per serving.

    Which types of food contain the most trans fat?

    I’d say fast food is the most abundant source of trans fat, with desserts, doughnuts, and pastries coming in second place.

    Some other well known brands that might surprise you.

    Girl Scout Cookies, Popcorn, Animal Crackers, Fig Newtons, Ritz Crackers, and Fortune Cookies!

    When can a manufacturer legally say "Trans Fat: 0 grams".

    As long as the product contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, it is legal to label the product as “containing 0 trans fat”, and manufacturers also creatively use the term, "trans fat per serving"

  13. Gladys says:

    There’s an interesting video about fats, cholesterol, omegas and more, entitled,

    The Truth About Fats And Oils by Dr. Damien Downing

    damien-downing.jpg