Friday, May 17, 2013

Margarine and Vanaspati Ghee, quite similar? - Fromrum Friday

Hey all my dear readers! How are you? Hope you are enjoying your Friday evening? :)

My final practicals for the sixth semester started today and the first one went on nicely. Let's hope the best for the rest too :) Anyways, talking about the topic of this post, I guess you all know what margarine is, right? If not, we will discuss it in a minute. Meanwhile, I want to draw your attention towards "Vanaspati Ghee" which is hydrogenated vegetable fat, which is quite widely used in India for frying purposes in cooking. But the doctors don't recommend it to the heart patients, instead they recommend them to replace it with Refined Oil, and Butter with Margarine. SO what? I shall discuss this too in a minute. Gimme a second!! :D

Why am I writing this post?

A local grocery and daily needs store in my locality had an offer for the customers a couple of months ago which was sponsored by a famous Margarine company in India(I won't use the name, since I don't wish to pin-point anything), "Buy goods worth 300 INR and get a 100gm Margarine free after filling a small form". It wasn't a lucrative offer, but wasn't an idiotic one either. Since we buy certain house supplies on monthly basis, we thought to buy from that store then not because of the offer, but more because of the prices that were quite nice. I filled the form and submitted it. The owner said, "It would take a little time before you get your margarine since we are running low on supplies and the company is not responding well in this regard these days." Though I wasn't startled by this statement, still I said, "You should remove the offer banner if it meaningless, moreover I bought the supplies because I needed them, not because of your offer. But since you have put that banner on your store, as a shopkeeper it is your responsibility to give people the free goods then. Anyways, I don't care about your margarine, but since I live a couple of blocks away and I am around here in this market every few days, I'll keep checking on you if you could give me my free product." I left and kept checking in for a few weeks until I assumed it to be a hoax offer and thought never to return to that store again. But I was in the same market a couple of days ago and just fleetingly checked on that store. The store owner, though recognised me refused to give me the free margarine saying I had taken it earlier, though I never got it! Huh! but anyways, I got it from him later, LOL! :D Using that margarine on my toast I found that it had no taste. It had the softness and color of butter, but nothing else. Then I recalled what margarine is and to confirm did a little research on the Internet. To my amazement, I was quite correct. I didn't find a good reason of margarine being suggested by the doctors to heart patients, so I thought to write this post.

What is Margarine?

Quoting this from Wikipedia:
"It is a foodstuff used for spreading, baking, and cooking. It was originally created as a substitute for butter in the 1800s. Margarine is made mainly of hydrogenated or refined plant oils and water. While butter is made from fat from milk, margarine is made from plant oils and may also contain milk. In some locales it is colloquially referred to as oleo, short for oleomargarine. Margarine, like butter, consists of a water-in-fat emulsion, with tiny droplets of water dispersed uniformly throughout a fat phase which is in a stable crystalline form. Margarine has a minimum fat content of 80%, the same as butter, but unlike butter reduced-fat varieties of margarine can also be labelled as margarine. Margarine can be used both for spreading or for baking and cooking. It is also commonly used as an ingredient in other food products, such as pastries and cookies, for its wide range of functionalities."
In plain English, I'd say from an Indian's point of view Margarine is Vanaspati Ghee or Dalda!! O_O

An eMail that was circulated a few years back

During my research about the topic on Internet, I found a copy of an eMail message that was rapidly spreading on Internet a few years back. On further reading and searching thoroughly, I found not everything is correct, but most of it is CORRECT! The email message: (Found HERE)
"Pass The Butter ... please

This is interesting. .

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When they killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back. ! It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings.

DO YOU KNOW.. the difference between margarine and butter?

Read on to the end...gets very interesting!

Both have the same amount of calories.

Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams.

Eating margarinecan increaseheart diseasein women by 53%. Over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study, just add calories and more grams of fat. (no further harm done)

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.

Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarinehas few.

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .

And now, for Margarine..

Very high in trans fatty acids .

Triple risk of coronary heart disease .
Increases total cholesterol and LDL(this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)

Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.

Lowers quality of breast milk.

Decreases immune response.

Decreases insulin response.

And here's the most disturbing fact.... HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC..

This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

You can try this yourself:

Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:

* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)

* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value ; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?"

This eMail message has a lot of things that are true, but many that are completely false. I found some nice articles on Internet and thus I would present the following summary about the facts which are true. Rest of the facts can be considered as unproven, since they may or may not be false.

Difference between margarine and butter: Both Margarine and butter contain the same amount of calories present in them. On the contrary butter contains natural fats, which are essential for the strengthening the bones and has many nutritional benefits.

Ill-effects of margarine: Excess intake of margarine can worsen illnesses such as colitis and arthritis. The hardening agents used in the production of margarine include nickel and cadmium. Nickel is a toxic metal that when consumed in excess, causes lung and kidney problems. Cadmium is among the most toxic of the heavy metals. It may contribute to serious diseases such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure and malignancy. The study conducted at Harvard University, found that a diet high in trans-fat, which doubles the chance for heart attack and decreases life expectancy.

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study A Harvard study of women between 1980 and 1994 found a significant reduction of heart disease risk by reducing smoking, hormone treatment, and dietary improvements including reducing or eliminating saturated fat (such as in butter). Further research has shown, however, that some margarines contained trans fat, which was even worse for the heart than saturated fat.

Margarine is high in trans fatty acids

Margarine lowers quality of breast milk

Margarine decreases immune response

The above "true facts" were found on THey call that email message more of an eRumor since not everything is true.

What is the stupid logic prevailing in India about Margarine?

The heart patients are recommended to use Margarine instead of Butter and Vegetable Oil instead of Vanaspati Ghee. Now the idiotic part is Vanaspati Ghee and margarine are the same thing but since they are popular in two different kind of packaging and uses, depending on when buying whether you ask from Vanaspati Ghee or Margarine, people perceive them to be two different things. On one hand people are asked to avoid a thing and the same person is asked to eat it. To me this seems more of a marketing strategy to sell Margarine which is otherwise a neglected and less sold commodity in the Indian Market. Being a huge potential for profits for any company, everyone tends to make a fool out of people and sell them products. The Margarine and Dalda story is no different, at least don't seem to be different.

I hope whatever I have found out is true and helps people. Staying healthy would ask nothing more than a balanced diet and regular exercise, starting them as soon as possible; rather than asking you to cut on calories using these stupid synthetic alternatives which only seem appealing, but are not so good as they seem to be.


  1. Interesting post. In short margarine and vanspati ghee is same . right?

  2. Logical write up. keep it up brother.

  3. Very informative, but one fact I would like to share is that margarine is made by washing vanaspati ghee...


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