When I was growing up, it was very common to see margarine on the dinner table instead of butter. It was after all considered to be the healthy butter substitute. When people were told to cut back on butter because of their cholesterol levels, they switched to margarine. It was cheaper and believed to be healthier. It’s amazing how influential media can be. Our family switched back to using butter 20 years ago when our eyes were opened to the history behind margarine.
In the mid 1800’s Emperor Napoleon III, offered a prize to anyone who could make an alternative for butter. It was for his army and the lower classes. A French chemist invented a substance called oleomargarine made with beef tallow (fat). It would later be called margarine which was patented in 1869. A patent in 1871, was created combining vegetable oil with animal fats. By 1950, they were using almost all vegetable oils to create margarine.
Early on margarine was a white color, but manufactures discovered that due to the lack of yellow coloring people didn’t want to quit using their butter. They began adding a yellow dye to the margarine and the Dairy farms succeeded in getting legislation to prevent the adding of the yellow coloring to margarine. Unfortunately in the year 1955 those laws were repealed.
How It’s Created
The process of making margarine starts with vegetable oils. Depending on the brand it could be corn, cottonseed, soybean, safflower seed and canola (rapeseed). These are some of the most genetically modified crops. That alone is reason enough to quit using margarine. The raw oils are then steamed and then hydrogen gas is bubbled through liquid oil in the presence of a catalyst, usually nickel (highly toxic.) This process results in a lumpy grey grease in the formation of trans-fats. At this point, it doesn’t sound very appetizing. The manufactures obviously didn’t think so either.
They take this grey lump grease; add emulsifiers to remove the lumps and bleach t0 remove the grey color. With all of these chemicals that are being added to the grease they need to re-steam it to remove the chemical odor. Now it is time for the finishing touches; synthetic vitamins, artificial colors and a natural yellow color are added. That is how your “healthy substitute to butter” is made.
A catchy jingle in a commercial with a perfect family sitting around a table, is meant to encourage you to buy their product. Your health is not their first priority. You can’t even trust your taste buds. Many unhealthy foods taste yummy, but it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. So what is best way for you to decide if the latest “healthy choice” is truly healthy for you and your family? Do some of your own research and do not just “take their word for it”.