Fun food facts & tips

Read the nutrition label

If the saturated fat content is less than 2 grams (gms) per serving, the total fat is also most likely low. And remember, the sat fat reduction is just as important for heart and artery health, as is the total fat for weight reduction.

Purchase only fat free or skim milk and low fat dairy such as cheese and ice cream

I know, fat free tastes terrible, but the high fat dairy products aren't in your best interest health-wise. Try and stay away from cream soups and fatty gravies too. If you're making turkey and you want turkey gravy, use a defatting cup, you know, the one with the spout at the bottom. The fat free gravy (made by adding a cup of hot water to the hot drippings, pouring off the tasty stuff, adding either a few tablespoons flour (opaque) or corn starch (to 1/4 cup cool water), whisk in while heating and you have fabulous gravy without the saturated fat (or any fat).

Select restaurant foods that are in your best health and dietary interest.

Restaurant foods are easier to control if you already know the restaurant you're going to and have made a healthy selection before you even see the menu (Caesar salad and pasta marinara for example, instead of a creamy dressing and pasta with sausage or meatballs). Enjoy your meal and your friends but try not to substitute a few seconds of taste pleasure for a month of fat dis-pleasure. Remember, if you buy it you'll eat it. If you eat it you'll wear it. And forget moderation. Moderation is a relative and inexact word therefore meaningless. Your moderation may not be your doctor's and it can change depending upon how hungry you are.

Forget the ribs, bacon, hamburger and lunchmeat

These are four of the highest fat meats, and eat poultry without the skin. Meat is a high calorie item so eat lean pork, lamb, and poultry, and eat smaller portions.

Keep low fat snacks and desserts around the house.

There are lots of really lowfat snack available such as popcorn, raisins, dates or canned or fresh fruits for dessert are better than ice cream and cakes, and even 40 reduced fat chips or reduced fat peanut butter are better than the full fat and taste the same.

Butter vs Margarine

Below is an email sent to thousands but it isn't true. Nearly all of it is baloney, most likely put out by someone who works with the dairy industry. Google has ten similar sites but the facts can't be substantiated. The dairy industry is very powerful and may indeed back this nonsense or it's just people who like and believe in butter for whatever reason. Even nutritionist and registered dietitians often tout butter. However, the dairy industry helps pay for many nutrition and registered dietitian students to go to school. It also helps underwrite the schools where they get their education, the dairly industry helps underwrite registered dietitians conventions with large and expensive booths and collateral materials and hires or helps place (or their schools do) some 200,000 plus registered dietitians and nutritionists worldwide. Since most dietitians and nutritionists are helped in some way by the dairy industry, this may color their statements, beliefs, cooking methods, and what they teach, practice and say. Bellow are my comments: (Please click on the red links)

Pass The Butter.. Please.

This is interesting... 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. Lynn: This is misleading although a fatty product might have been used at some time to fatten turkeys and they might have called it "oleomargarine". I can't find any research on that. It wasn't invented because of turkeys. However, it isn't why margarine was "invented" which was because of a plague in Europe that killed cows, hence no butter. In the late 1800's margarine or oleomargarine was assembled and was used in place of pig fat or lard (used to make the best bread and pie crusts). The more expensive butter was what only the wealthy could afford. Margarine originally often contained lots of kinds of fats (like it does today whether corn oil, canola, safflower oil etc) but some brands also included some animal fats, which was common. Around WWII when there wasn't enough butter for the troops and those at home so we at home used margarine which was all that was available in stores. The dairy lobby had already legislatively forbidden the addition of color at the factory so a little orange color capsule was added in each pouch containing a fat like Crisco but only through a time-consuming mixing process that each person had to do would make the margarine yellow. Then, legislation said margarine could be sold with color added.

It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow colouring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavourings..

Lynn:Margarine actually tasted pretty good. I remember the fun of squeezing this little 1/4th inch round orange capsule into it to mix, and at age five or six, I was very good at it.

DO YOU KNOW.. The difference between margarine and butter? Read on to the end...gets very interesting!

Both have the same amount of calories. Lynn:This is true only of stick margarine and stick butter. Tub margarine has less than 10% of calories as does butter or stick margarine, and tub, lite or diet tub margarine has even fewer calories. Butter naturally contains its own trans fats and now contains more than margarine but in trace amounts. Most tub, liquid or squeeze margarines contain no trans fats and most brands are no longer even hydrogenated. Hydrogenation is a word the dairy industry capitalized on 10 years ago but all hydrogenation means is that it makes the fats in the margarine hard or saturated, which is what the fat in butter already is - hard. Hydrogenation doesn't mean anything else. Dietary saturated fats are the major reason not to use butter consistently. Saturated fats and cholesterol are implicated in heart and artery disease the number one killer in America. And since there are more calories in stick butter, stick butter (and stick margarine) may also contribute to obesity. If one likes the taste of butter there are now some healthier versions — whipped butter (contains air), lite butter and butter with canola or olive oil etc.

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

Lynn: The word "slightly" is completely misleading. For instance, a TBL of butter contains 8 grams of sat fat says the above but other researchers say it contains more but they could be from the margarine industry. A tablespoon of tub margarine however has only 1 to 2 grams. Stick butter has more than double the sat fats as stick margarine, tub margarine very little. Liquid or lite tub contains 1 — 2 grams of sat fat. Depending upon the type and brand, some have none. This company below that put this table together says even stick margarine (they don't make margarine and aren't in the business as far as I can tell) contains only 2 grams of sat fat compared with butter's 7 (most say 8). Here is their comparison table. The numbers aren't directly under the headers.
(1 Tbsp)
Stick Margarine
(1 Tbsp)
Soft/Tub Margarine
(1 Tbsp)
Canola Oil
(1 Tbsp)
Calories 100 100 60 120
Total fat 11 g 11 g 7 g 14 g
Saturated fat 7 g 2 g 1 g 1 g
Trans fat 0 g (trace amts) 3 g 0.5 g 0 g
Cholesterol 30 mg 0 mg 0 mg 0 mg
Different tables show slightly different figures but this is pretty close.

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

This is definitely not true unless you parse the above statement. If women eat lots of margarine and they then became fat, they would most likely increase their probability of heart disease (as they also would if they ate lots of butter). Harvard's Health Letter and Harvard's Heart Letter have both said (in 2006 I believe) that margarine is probably preferred over butter and tub margarine is better than both, but all spreads could and should be reduced. I use this recommendation in my lectures (and I went to Harvard).

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

Lynn: I've never heard of this before, never read it and can't find any info about that statement. I would doubt it but I don't know. That would be like saying "cow fat" increases the absorption of many of nutrients. Why would cow fat do that more than water, almonds or cranberries? Maybe it is so but I can't find it (and I know how and where to research it). Remember, my whole life has been studying the efficacy of and recommendation of safer more healthful foods, and the butter/margarine question is the one asked of me most often.

Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and only because they are added!

Lynn: This is partially true. Butter does contain some natural nutritional benefits such as fats which we need, and so does margarine. Both butter and margarine have added salt, both have added beta-carotine for color, both may contain trace amts. of pesticides, but butter also contains hormones (a lactating cow has major amounts of increased female hormones and butter is made from lactating cows [milk]). Butter may also contain trace amounts of antibiotics or other medicines, plus butter, as an animal product also contains cholesterol which margarine as a vegetable never does. Mostly, butter contains a high amount of saturated fats where tub and liquid margarine contain little and sometimes none at all and sat fats and cholesterol is what we want to reduce.

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

Lynn: I like butter and it does enhance many foods, but it is a learned taste. I also know it isn't as good for me as is margarine as a spread in terms of its excessive saturated fat and cholesterol content. European cooks for several hundred years have perfected the use of butter in baking, sauteing (frying), and flavoring and it is a taste we are used to and associate with fine dining. The taste of cow fat isn't natural to us anymore than the taste of chocolate is, and for centuries other cultures used yak, lamb or goat butter, but I like butter. I just choose for health reasons (and also for humanitarian reasons and financial reasons and practical reasons not to use it). It is expensive to make and buy and may contain additives I don't want. If margarine is better for us humans, and it is, I would use margarine. And I do. When eating out I don't make a fuss about getting butter but I don't buy it because it isn't good for my heart and arteries or anyone else's heart and artery health particularly if they have a proclivity to heart and artery disease (the number one killer in America) or even a high cholesterol.

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

Lynn: Not true actually. Margarine has been around since the mid 1800's or for 150 years because of a cattle plague in Europe making butter scarce. People need to get these simple facts straight before lambasting something which is easy to look up even with all the dairy fluff and pro-butter crap you have to dig through to get it. Butter may indeed have a place as it is a taste we are used to, and it is part of our European heritage. I like butter, but for heart and artery health, eating butter isn't in a person's best health interest. The Japanese who live the longest don't eat butter. Unless they live in America.

And now, for Margarine.. Very High in Trans fatty acids.

Lynn: Actually, butter is higher naturally in trans fatty acids than are most tub margarines which now contain no trans fatty acids while butter still does.
  1. Triples risk of coronary heart disease.
  2. Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)
  3. Increases the risk of cancers up to five times..
  4. Lowers quality of breast milk.
  5. Decreases immune response.
  6. Decreases insulin response.
Lynn: None of the above statements are true. Triple the risk of coronary heart disease? I can't find anything to substantiate that statement. Butter which contains sat fats and cholesterol might raise the incidences of coronary heart disease, but I don't even know if that's triple? I don't know where this stuff comes from. There are no facts to back up any of these statements. In some of the statements the opposite is true. Breast milk may be less healthy if the butter contains stuff you don't want in the cows. First, why should vegetable fat such as canola or olive oil lower the quality of breast milk let alone decrease the immune response or insulin response? Doesn't make sense and I can find nothing to back those statements. Actually, butter and margarine both may increase cancer if used to excess especially if it contributes to making someone grossly overweight or obese as some cancers are then indeed implicated. But you'd have to eat an awful lot of lite tub or liquid margarine to come close to the calories in butter or stick margarine. And here's the most disturbing fact.... HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC... and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT

Lynn: Below is what butter contains. I don't think it's very important. The only problem with butter is the sat fat content, cholesterol content and calorie content. Margarine has nothing to do with or close to paint for heaven's sake. Butter contains:
oleic acid CH3(CH2)7CH=CH(CH2)7COOH 31.9
myristic acid CH3(CH2)12COOH 19.8
palmitic acid CH3(CH2)14COOH 15.2
stearic acid CH3(CH2)16COOH 14.9
lauric acid CH3(CH2)10COOH 5.8
butyric acid CH3CH2CH2COOH 2.9
caproic acid CH3(CH2)4COOH 1.9
This whole bunch of nonsense comes directly from the site below which is ridiculous, not substantiated by facts and has no scientific research behind it. Forum - Pass The Butter .. Please.

These facts alone were 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).

Lynn: Hydrogenation is never added. Hydrogenation is a process that hardens fat making the fat in margarine saturated (which butter is naturally).

You can try this yourself:
Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:

  1. no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something) Lynn: This is silly. Flies love margarine or anything that contains fat. Fruit flies like fruit, not fat.
  2. 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? Lynn: And this is silly too. Margarine has no similar chemicals as those in plastic or Tupperware or it wouldn't be approved by the FDA. Granted some margarines don't melt as well as others but try a spray such as "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" or Parkay Liquid. They melt well, have few calories or no, no cholesterol, sometimes tubs have small amounts of saturated fat or 2 grams (unlike butter which has too much) and margarine tastes fabulous.

Share This With Your Friends.....(If you want to butter them up')!

Lynn: Or kill them.

Chinese Proverb: When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.

Lynn: Don't pass it to me, thank you. I can't even find the Chinese Proverb quoted above. I wonder who paid the above person to write this silly stuff? No one pays me or influences me because I read the science and was a student in medical school studying only lipids, heart and artery disease. I look at the science not the hyperbole, rumors, old wives tales and nonsense. Butter cookies are delicious primarily because we are used to butter and love it. But butter used daily with other high saturated fat, high cholesterol foods like fatty meats and cheese aren't in most people's best interest health-wise. You shouldn't have more than 10-15 grams of sat fat a day and if butter contains most of the sat fat you are eating, you don't have room for much else. If you buy it you'll eat it. If you eat it you'll wear it (inside and out as sat fat is cumulative and the high fat milk you drank at age 3 affects your arteries today especially if you are male). Lynn Fischer, author of seven book, 1,000,000 sold, all on lowfat healthy cooking including "Lowfat Cooking for Dummies." (