Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Negative Effects of Margarine

Margarine’s roots can be traced to the 1800s, back when France’s Emperor Napoleon III offered an incentive to anyone who could create an approximate substitute for butter that is good enough for use by the masses and the country’s armed forces.  Originally made from pure beef fat, margarine’s ingredients underwent several modifications. Today, this condiment that is used as a spread, and in cooking and baking, is now made exclusively from or a combination of safflower, soybean, cottonseed, rapeseed, or sunflower oils.

Read further and discover more about the negative effects of margarine and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends you avoid this source of dietary fats.

Margarine’s Risks:

Margarine, as was mentioned, is now made from plant oils that are naturally healthy on their own. However, these oils are turned into unhealthy trans-fats during the process of hydrogenation after being subjected to extremely high temperatures and then injected with a catalyst like nickel, platinum, or aluminum to achieve the semi-solid or solid state. Said process changes the molecular makeup of the oils, and in fact, after hydrogenation, the resultant chemical structure is closer to plastic than to edible oils.

Needless to say, these thick hydrogenated oils, once ingested may cause the blood to become thicker as well.  The heart then has to work extra harder to pump blood through the body, thus resulting in elevated blood pressure levels. Margarine consumption results in increased levels of  undesirable fats like trans-fats and saturated fats in the blood, too.

When this happens, a simultaneous decrease in low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and increase in high-density lipoproteins (HDL) occur. As you probably already know, LDL is considered the bad cholesterol, while HDL is considered the good cholesterol. Increased blood pressure, and elevated levels of undesirable fats and bad cholesterol all increase the odds of developing coronary heart disease, as established in studies conducted on women as well as on men.

Margarine intake is linked to allergies in children as well, according to a Germany-based study. As it turns out, ingestion of certain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are present in most margarine brands triggers allergic reactions like rhinitis, specifically in male children.

Margarine has an unhealthy Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids ratio as well, due to the ingredients used. Most margarine brands use edible oils like cottonseed and sunflower oils which have very low omega-3 and very high omega-6 fatty acids content. Omega-3’s main function in the body is that of an anti-inflammatory, while omega-6 has the opposite function. It then goes without saying that maintaining a healthy omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids intake by steering clear of margarine is crucial, or else inflammation-induced conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer may develop.

Margarine contains chemical additives as well. Synthetic food dyes, for instance, are used to render that appealing butter-like color to this unhealthy spread. Emulsifiers like lecithin are commonly utilized in the production of margarine as well. Lecithin is not harmful on its own in reasonable amounts. However,  lecithin is now typically manufactured from genetically modified crops like soy beans, and this is perhaps the reason allergic reactions to lecithin ingestion like nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain have become quite common of late.

In the next post, I’ll tell you the negative effects of any ‘spreadable’ condiments and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends you avoid this source of dietary fats.

In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the dietary sources of fats on the Superhuman Food Pyramid:

Eat:

Moderate:

Avoid:

If you have questions, comments or feedback about the negative effects of margarine, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the negative effects of margarine.

3 thoughts on “Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Negative Effects of Margarine

  1. Super article as always, thanks Ben. Why the negative view on roasted nuts & seeds and almond nut butter? I make all of these myself, using only nuts, seeds and heat!