Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Because butter is an animal product, it contains cholesterol, amounting to 30 mg per tablespoon or 10% of the USDA recommended daily allowance. Margarines, because they are non-animal products, do not.
The preceeding chart says nothing about which margarines contain trans fats or how much because this information is not always included on product labels.
Although a great deal of the information given in the e-mail is valid, one bit of intelligence is nothing more than hyperbole tossed in by the author in an effort to make his point more strongly. The claim that some comestible is but a "single molecule away" from being a decidedly inedible (or even toxic) substance has been applied to a variety of processed foods.
[Collected via e-mail, 2005]
I was told that the difference between Cool Whip and Styrofoam is one molecule... is this true???
These types of statements (even if they were true) are essentially meaningless. Many disparate substances share similar chemical properties, but even the slightest variation in molecular structure can make a world of difference in the qualities of those substances.
Some of the "Butter vs. margarine" mailings circulated in 2005 had this preface tacked onto them:
[Collected via e-mail, 2005]
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it 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.
Contrary to the claim, margarine was not invented as a turkey fattener — it was formulated in 1869 by Hippolyte Mège Mouriès of France in response to Napoleon III's offering a prize to whomever could succeed at producing a viable low-cost substitute for butter. Mège Mouriès' concoction, which he dubbed oleomargarine, was achieved by adding salty water, milk, and margaric acid to softened beef fat. By the turn of the century, the beef fat in the original recipe had been replaced by vegetable oils.
In 1886, New York and New Jersey prohibited the manufacture and sale of yellow-colored margarine, and by 1902, 32 U.S. states had enacted such prohibitions against the coloration of the spread. (Folks got around this by mixing yellow food coloring into the white margarine.) In 1950 President Truman repealed the requirement that margarine be offered for sale only in uncolored state, which led to the widespread production of the yellow margarine that has come to be the norm.
Barbara "gold standard" Mikkelson
Last updated: 3 December 2005
The URL for this page is http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/butter.asp
Urban Legends Reference Pages © 1995-2005
by Barbara and David P. Mikkelson