What do margarine and butter have in common? You can spread both of them on bread (you can also spread shoe polish on bread.) To make margarine, the oil must be hardened. This is done by bubbling hydrogen through the vegetable oil at high temperature. The hydrogen saturates some of the carbon-carbon bonds of the oil. The product then becomes hard or solid at room temperature. When the carbon bonds are saturated, the product is called a saturated fat. The final product also usually contains some trans-fatty acids, no matter what the label says. These are man-made fatty acids. Research shows that trans-fatty acids increase inflammation in the body. This can worsen illnesses such as colitis and arthritis. Very recent research indicates that trans-fatty acids in margarine raise LDL levels. LDL is the "bad" cholesterol. Yikes! Pass the butter, please.
What is butter? Butter is made from the cream that rises to the top if milk is allowed to sit for a time. Butter is made by churning cream. This causes a chemical reaction that causes the cream to harden slightly, giving it the buttery consistency. Butter is a fabulous fat that contains a number of natural fatty acids that are excellent for the body. Butter is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K. These are not found to any degree in margarine. The vitamin content of butter varies seasonally, depending on the diet of the animals from which it is derived.