Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Is margarine healthier? (Part 2 of 2)

ButterContinued from Part 1

Since margarine is so bad, why was it being developed in the first place? Well, scientists didn’t think so at the very beginning. Over 100 years ago, the Americans had started to realize that eating animal fats such as cream, lard and butter could clog the arteries, thus should switch to consuming vegetable oils instead. But Americans liked to have toast with butter or potato with cream spread on top, and vegetable oils that were in liquid form made it difficult for them. To cater for this need, food manufacturers brought corn oils, soybean oil, sunflower seed oils and other vegetable oils to the laboratory for processing. By using the hydrogenating process, food manufacturers were able to convert liquid vegetable oils to solid form under room temperature. And by adding in artificial colouring and flavouring, the taste of this butter substitute has become as good as the original butter.

The food manufacturers initially thought that this butter substitute would have gotten rid of all the bad stuff found in animal fats. However, recent researches discovered that this man-made butter substitute, or margarine, has problems far worse than animal fats themselves. No doubt those animal fats do have their problems, but so long as we consume more vegetable and fruits, coupled that with regular exercises, these problems can be overcome. On the other hand, as margarine is developed through process of hydrogenation, the fat has turned to become trans fat that our body is unable to metabolize (as like the nature cannot decompose plastic materials). It is like planting a time bomb inside our body, thus it is worse than animal fat like butter. Due to the awareness and unpopularity of trans fats, the Americans have started to reduce trans fats in their diet as much as they can. For example, McDonald’s in the USA has claimed to stop using hydrogenated shortening (trans fats) in their products. But is McDonald’s in Malaysia also doing the same? And what about other products that contain trans fats, such like crackers, potato chips, cookies, popcorns, cakes and breads that some of us eat daily?

Oh, I think we still need to eat this plastic stuff for sometimes…

(Words Count: Approximately 366)

No comments: