Margarine is often used as a substitute for butter and became very popular in the 1980’s. For many years it was marketed as a dietary (nutritional) supplement i.e. the healthier and cheaper low-fat option to butter.
However, many practitioners of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and traditional medicine systems like Ayurveda the sister science of Yoga and Meditation have historically promoted the consumption of butter instead of margarine as part of everyday dietary advice. Today, the scientific evidence unequivocally supports the use of butter over margarine.
The trouble with margarine is that contains ‘trans fats’. Trans fats escalate the risk of heart disease by increasing the bad cholesterol known as LDL and lowers the good (HDL) cholesterol in our blood. Trans-fats are often found in unhealthy foods such as deep-fried foods, biscuits, buns, cakes and pastries.A 2006 Complementary and Alternative Medicine meta-analysis research study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine revealed that a 2% increase in trans-fat intake is associated with a 23% increase in cardiovascular disease risk.Besides heart disease, other research studies have shown that trans fatty acids can adversely affect infant neuro development and growth, and increase childhood allergies.
The Power of Butter
For over 5,000 years Ayurveda (sister science of Yoga and Meditation) used butter prepared from the milk of cow, buffalo and sheep for medicinal use. Today, many Complementary and Alternative Medicine practitioners advocate the use of good-old-fashioned grass-fed butter.This is because butter is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is an anti-inflammatory fatty acid and there is some evidence that CLA decreases body fat and increases lean muscle tissue but further research is required to support the latter findings.
A serving of butter (7g) contains 67µg of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a nutritional supplement that is a powerful antioxidant which promotes healthy teeth, skin, tissues, membranes, bones, eyes and respiratory function. Vitamin K2 is also found in grass-fed butter. Studies consistently show that Vitamin K2 dramatically reduces the risk of both osteoporosis and heart disease. Butter also contains other important nutritional supplements such as the trace minerals, such as manganese, chromium, zinc, copper and selenium (another powerful antioxidant).
Traditional Medicine continues to be proven right
When Ayurveda the sister science of Yoga and Meditation promoted the use of butter as opposed to margarine, this attracted widespread criticism from the mainstream sceptics and many of them were scientists.
Recent Complementary and Alternative Medicine systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies published by Dr.DariushMozaffarian et al indicated amodest inverse association with type 2 diabetes with butter consumption.
As further vindication, McDonald’s the fast food giant switched to butter from margarine on its Egg Mc Muffins in the U.S. and this pushed sales of the breakfast sandwich up by a double-digit percentage. Furthermore, Unilever the main producers of margarine have seen their sales plummet as the power of butter grows.
So the ancients have been correct for thousands of years, butter is an important nutrient for the body and as all practitioners of Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation all know, butter is the main ingredient of ‘liquid gold’ known by many as Indian ghee.