A healthy and a balanced diet is all the rage! The awareness of packing up the right nutrients in meals is a hot topic these days as we all search for the latest buzz on sustaining a healthy metabolism and immunity. One such nutritional resource is, margarine and fat spreads. However, over the years it has been subjected to many misconceptions and hearsay.
These claims may have come to you from well-meaning friends or relatives, but here’s the opportunity to know the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So, push the pause button on redistributing bits of false information and let’s debunk them.
Misconception 1 - “Margarine/ Fat spreads is one molecule away from plastic.”
This is preposterously false! The major ingredients in margarine and spreads are plant based fats and water. Chemically, plastic has a completely different molecular structure than the unsaturated and saturated fats present in margarine. Margarine and spreads are nutritious and safe and have been a part of a healthy diet for years.
Misconception 2 – “Fats are bad for you.”
Wrong again! It’s important to understand the difference between good and the bad. All dietary fats, in the recommended daily amount, are necessary to body functioning and health. It is important to reduce ‘’bad’’ saturated fats intake and at the same time improve favorable ‘’good’’ unsaturated fats intake. The reality is that dietary fats are needed in a healthy diet for a number of reasons. These fats provide energy, dissolve fat soluble vitamins and often provide vitamins such as A, D and E with their fortifications.
Health authorities (World Health Organization) recommend that the fat intake should represent 20-35% of total daily energy in adults. This means eating up to 45-78 g of fat a day, considering a 2000 kcal diet.
Kids and young adults between the age of 2-18 years requires to produce 25-35% of daily energy off of quality fats. The quality of the fat intake is indispensable for health.
The the human body is growing the fastest during the first few years. Therefore, children need sufficient energy and nutrients for their growth and development. According to health experts at the World Health Organization (WHO), energy balance is critical to maintaining a healthy body weight, regardless of type of nutrients (e.g. fat or carbohydrates).
•WHO/FAO. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition Report of an expert consultation. FAO, Rome, 2010.
•European Food Safety Authority. Scientific Opinion: Labelling reference intake values for n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The EFSA Journal. 2009; 1176, 1–11
•WHO. Report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation. Diet Nutrition and Prevention of chronic diseases. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2003. Report No.: 916.
Misconception 3 – “Margarine is cancerous.”
This is by far one of the more popular myths. Simply put: This is not true. Good nutrition is what really matters for preventing chronic disease. A healthy balanced diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables is the best way to decrease the risk of cancer and heart disease. Unsaturated fats namely omega-3 and monounsaturated fat such as those found in Flora fat spread are actually associated with a reduced risk of developing certain cancers
All the ingredients that are being used to make a margarine or fat spread are considered safe by the scientific experts worldwide. The manufacturing of margarine is basically a process of mixing and cooling. These processes do not introduce changes to the ingredients as such. Hence, it is high time to put this myth aside and start spreading the truth to your friends and neighbors
•FAO report of a Joint WHO/FAO expert consultation on fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Geneve 2008.
•WHO/FAO. Joint WHO/FAO expert consultation “Diet, Nutrition, and the prevention of chronic diseases”. WHO Technical report series 916. Geneve, 2002. http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/trs916/en/
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, choose unsaturated fats more often, fat spreads that are non-hydrogenated and trans fat free. Simply check the packaging of the products, Astra and Flora are some brands that have clearly mentioned that they do not contain any trans fats. Fat is essential in our diets and there is no question about it. Be wise when you select food and incorporate all the goodness of fats with plant based fat spreads to your daily diet
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