IS MARGARINE A BENEFICIAL FOOD?
Margarine is often classed as polyunsaturated, however, most of the lipid content (45%) is in the form of monounsaturated.
Margarine is processed via ‘hydrogenation’, which converts vegetable oils into a semi-saturated state. In addition, margarine usually contains additives such as colouring (160 A), food acid (330), antioxidant (306, 320), preservative (202), emulsifier (471), added vitamins and salt.
The oils used for margarine originate from a heat and chemical process. These oils are then hydrogenised, a process where hydrogen is mixed into the oils, causing saturation of the fatty acids. This converts them into ‘trans fatty acids’ which increase blood cholesterol levels, deplete skin cell life and tax the immune system. So the question is: ‘What do I spread on my bread, sandwich or salad roll?’
NOTE: d.v. refers to the daily value for women 25-50 years, refer to RDI chart for adult male and child values.
Ideally, cold-pressed olive, flax or canola oil should be sprinkled and spread on bread, or use avocado or tahini, all of which promote health. Trans fatty acids need to be avoided. They promote heart disease, hardened arteries and may upset the delicate balance in the glandular system and also hormone functions.
Another problem with margarine is that an excess intake of omega-6, in margarine and in processed foods, upsets and depletes the important functions of omega-3. Keep a lid on things and balance your omegas. Choose margarine with canola oil, mix in a tablespoon of flax oil and remember that margarine was invented for convenience, not for health.