Heart Foundation: Butter has 20 times the trans fats of marg

  • September 28, 2010
  • Nicole Eckersley

margarine-butterA Heart Foundation investigation into margarine and butter has shown that butter has, on average, 20 times the trans fat levels of margarine.

“This news will come as a big surprise to many people who choose butter believing that it’s ‘natural’ and therefore healthier – but it simply isn’t the case,” said Susan Anderson, the Heart Foundation’s National Director Healthy Weight

“Butter is mostly made of the fat that raises your bad cholesterol levels – saturated fat at around 50% and trans fat at more than 4%. Compare those figures to margarine spreads at an average of 14% and 0.2 % respectively, and margarine is clearly the healthier choice,“ said Anderson.

Most margarine spreads have drastically reduced their trans fat content after the substance became a popular health issue.

The Heart Foundation says it has cause for alarm, saying that with popular television programs, chefs and food magazines all using butter in their recipes, there have been big increases in butter sales – up 9.3% in 2009.

“The Heart Foundation is calling on cooks and chefs to switch from butter to margarine and healthy oils for the sake of Australians’ health. They both perform similar functions, so butter can be easily substituted for margarine when baking, and oils such as canola can be used in sautéing and in mashed potatoes,“ said Anderson.

The report was published yesterday by the Heart Foundation in the journal Food Australia.

With other recent research revealing that Australian women have higher LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels than men, the Heart Foundation is also urging all women to take another look at their lifestyle to ward off heart disease, and suggests and making the switch to margarine is a good place to start.


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9 Responses to “Heart Foundation: Butter has 20 times the trans fats of marg”

  1. Rob on September 29th, 2010 2:58 pm

    Natural Trans Fats as found in butter and meat is thought to be used by the body entirely differently than Artificial TFs.
    This is not just something I’m pulling out of thin air. Look it up.

    here’s something i saved from my searches:

    …”A review of clinical research over the past 16 years, published recently in the journal Lipid Technology, stated that natural CLA trans fat “has no effect or may actually lower LDL cholesterol and has little effect on HDL cholesterol or triglycerides.” …

    But there are tons of information to balance what’s said in this here article, just do some ‘journalism’ of your own.

  2. Matthew on September 29th, 2010 3:50 pm

    This is great!! Cooking shows on the TV have influenced people to eat more butter!! Margarine sales are going through the proverbial floor!!

    OK so now all those products which have paid so much money for the Heart Foundation “Red Tick” are losing money to our dairy industry. Because butter gives better flavour in cooking, and cooks on the TV have been telling us what our pre-advertising age ancestors have known all along.

    Things to consider, the Heart Foundation has to support their existance, they do this by charging food producers to use the “Red Tick”. This creates a conflict of financial interest. The Heart Foundation also supports many Cardiologists, another conflict of financial interest. The Cardies want to keep working, anything which decreases heart disease in the community, also hits them in the pocket. Don’t use the idea that Heart Foundation is a charity, if you truly hold that point of view, grab an annual report and look at the Foundations annual wage bill. Follow the money trail, it is wider than the river Nile.

    Marg is is manufactured food. The chemical process to make margarine congeal, significantly changes the structure of the oils used. There is no animal on this planet, which has physiologically developed, to handle the fats in margarine. Mammals on the other hand,(if you are reading this you probably are one), have evolved (or been created if you are of a religious nature) to take the teat, and drink mothers milk. Granted butter comes from mother cow, but is is way closer to what our bodies are designed to digest when compared to the test tube product which is margarine.

    I say let us wait a year, see what happens to heart disease in the country as a result of people eating butter. Remember they will likely be slowing down their food consumption, because now they are cooking at home, rather than heading down to Macca’s for a “Red Tick Mchappy meal”. Then we can make a judgement based on real world events, rather than the profit driven, lab rat reasoning, biased, judgments of the Heart Foundation (gods bless ’em)

  3. Matthew on September 30th, 2010 12:07 pm

    OK so AFN cannot get around to moderating my first comment here, either they are ignoring it, or they do not like it, so I will rephrase.

    About Butter:

    If you are reading this, you are likely a mammal, mammals carry the unique adaptation that we feed our young on milk. Milk contains all the nutrients required to make the transition from life in the womb, to life eating external food sources. The nutrition is there, in a form that our bodies have been using since we grew fur and tits. Butter is the fat portion of milk, it naturally comes with all the nutrition our bodies absorb via fats. This includes but is not limited to Vitamin A, Vitamin D (which is how your body obtains calcium, it only transports in fats), Vitamin E, there is even some protein there. (USDA Nutrient Database) It tastes good(your body knows what it wants), and even though it comes from a cow, it is basically the same as the fat found in human breast milk.

    About Marg:

    Margarine was invented to win a prize awarded Emperor Louis Napoleon III of France, to create an alternative to butter to feed to his armed forces and the lower classes (Science Power 9: Atlantic Edition, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited. ISBN 0-07-560905-3.)
    It is a manufactured food, which was mainly restricted for human consumption until the World Wars, when dairy foods were in short supply, and alternatives were required. Margarine has almost no innate nutritional content beyond it being a fat. It has to be fortified with Vitamins to bring it anywhere close to butters natural benefits. Margarine needs to be coloured to make it look palatable, in it’s natural form it is pure white. It does not taste as good as butter, (your body knows what it wants). It comes mostly from plant oils, usually Canola. Canola is a hybrid of Rapeseed, which has been traditionally used to fatten up live stock, and run diesel engines. Do you really need to be fattened up?? Margarine has become significant in our diet in the last 100 years, that hardly seems enough time for the body evolve itself to properly assimilate itself as an organism, to a new source of nutrition.

    Has anyone done some research to find correlation between the rise in heart disease, and the rise of margarine consumption? Because butter has been around for a long time, and we have been told by the Heart Foundation that heart disease is on the rise.

    Hmm, that is interesting don’t you think?

  4. Jill on October 1st, 2010 9:46 am

    Take a look at sites about feeding animals. Farmers can’t put more than 5% vegetable oil in pig feed because they won’t eat it. Pigs fed polyunsaturated fat develop liver problems. A study on rats found that a “high fat” diet caused heart disease. The type of fat used in the research was polyunsaturated fat. I recently overheard a conversation on a bus: My dog won’t eat margarine.
    Do margarine manufacturers make donations to the Heart Foundation?

  5. Gabriela on December 10th, 2010 6:02 pm

    That’s the trouble with “research” undertaken or sponsored by organisations that also promote specific industries or products…. It’s bound to come up with biased results.

    Example: The Australian Heart Foundation recommends:

    Seachange Omega Spread

    (Heart Foundation Tick Shopping Guide – Aug. 2010, p.9, available at: http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/sites/tick/Shopping%20Lists/In%20the%20supermarket.pdf)

    However, this product has been found to contain 4% man-made trans fats !

    Choice online – Food: Butter and Spreads

    As to butter, here are some facts:

    A type of trans fat occurs naturally in the milk and body fat of ruminants (such as cattle and sheep) at a level of 2–5% of total fat.[29] Natural trans fats, which include conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vaccenic acid, originate in the rumen of these animals.

    By far the largest amount of trans fat consumed today is created by the processed food industry as a side effect of partially hydrogenating unsaturated plant fats (generally vegetable oils).

    “Evidence suggests that ruminant trans fatty acids (FAs), such as vaccenic acid, do not increase the risk of ischemic heart disease.

    In a double-blind, randomized, 5-wk, parallel intervention study, 42 healthy young men were given 115 g fat/d from test butter that was high in vaccenic acid (3.6 g vaccenic acid/d) or a control butter with a low content of vaccenic acid.

    The intake of the vaccenic acid–rich diet resulted in 6% and 9% lower total cholesterol and plasma HDL-cholesterol concentrations, respectively, than did the intake of the control diet (P = 0.05 and 0.002, respectively), whereas the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol did not differ significantly between the groups.

    Conclusion: Butter high in ruminant trans and monounsaturated FAs resulted in significantly lower total and HDL cholesterol than did the control butter with higher amounts of saturated FAs.”

    Source – Clinical Study:
    Effects of butter high in ruminant trans and monounsaturated fatty acids on lipoproteins, incorporation of fatty acids into lipid classes, plasma C-reactive protein, oxidative stress, hemostatic variables, and insulin in healthy young men


  6. Gabriela on December 10th, 2010 6:04 pm

    And another thing:

    It’s beyond belief that the Heart Foundation claims butter has 20 times the trans fats of margarine, even if we were to assume that margarine contained only 1% – that would mean butter had 20% of trans fat !

    People out there, I hope you’ve got your thinking caps on.

  7. Miss Kimbers @ Fruit Salad and Mixed Veg on November 4th, 2011 9:24 pm

    Doesn’t the Heart Foundation have ticks on some McDonald meals? I don’t listen to what they say.

  8. Peter on July 4th, 2012 7:16 pm

    I’ve been eating butter like there’s no tomorrow for the past at least 10 years. Sometimes a block of butter in 2 days. I am over 40, still have a six-pack showing and my total cholesterol reading is 4.9. Margarine tastes like plastic. Butter has trans fats but the natural variety, not man-made. Unfortunately, the health and scientific community tend to lump both in the same bucket.

  9. Mal on November 15th, 2013 3:55 pm

    With using margarine made from seed oils namely canola naturally you would get a daily dose of omega 6 which would add to the omega 6 received though fast food, restaurant and processed foods. The oversupply of omega 6 to omega 3 ratios would assist in causing inflammation (heart disease being one among other inflammatory deceases).

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