BUSTED: Margarine Myths!

Posted by Tyler J. Arsenault B.Sc (Nutrition) on 2017 Nov 9th

I’ve heard several rumours that margarine ought to be chastised as “unfit for human consumption” because it’s black in colour before being bleached and dyed, and because flies won’t eat it. My dogs don’t seem to like cucumbers, and I’m not too fond of black-eyed peas so what does that say? Besides, last I checked it was white before being dyed yellow (using natural colour). I’ve also heard the rumour that margarine is one molecule short of being PLASTIC! I’ll bet my basic chemistry life on that being totally untrue. Worst part is, many of these myths are perpetuated in nutrition schools to my shock and horror.

Ever seen a cat eat a blackberry? They don’t. Shall we ban blackberries from this list too? After all, cats know more about food than flies no? Or do flies know more? I can’t tell. I had some breadcrumbs and a teabag lying on the counter for the past week too and neither flies, nor maggots, nor glow-worms have batted an eye at it.

For the record, the colour of food and the likelihood that one species or another will eat it / not eat it is NOT the gold standard for identifying which everyday objects are foods. While I’m not an advocate of hydrogenated margarine (the process whereby unsaturated fats are hydrogenated into partial trans fats to make them solid at room temperature), inter-esterfied margarine uses technology to re-order unsaturated fatty acids on a glycerol backbone, thereby keeping the trans fat content at 0mg while providing unsaturated fats in a solid state. Chemistry basics to the rescue once again!