We’ve compared coconut oil to butter and olive oil – now it’s time to battle it out with margarine. Confession time, I used to eat the stuff. Don’t judge, please, as I’ve never purchased any. To really give you the most information, I had to do a little research on the yellow stuff found in the tub.
Margarine was actually created by a chemist back in the 1800 as a cheaper alternative to butter. Originally, margarine was white but then was dyed yellow to make it more appealing and closer in appearance to butter. The main ingredient is often a vegetable oil – like soybean or safflower oil – which is naturally liquid and can’t be spread. In order to make margarine in a more solid state, the oils are hydrogenated. Authority Nutrition explains this process:
“To remedy this problem, the vegetable oils are subjected to a hydrogenation process. This involves exposing the oils to high heat, high pressure, hydrogen gas and a metal catalyst. Disgusting, yes.
This process prolongs the shelf life of the products and makes them harder at room temperature. Hydrogenation makes unsaturated fats resemble saturated fats.
Hydrogenated fats are also known as trans fats, which are highly toxic and strongly associated with heart disease.”
While some companies have created lower fat and trans-fat free versions, they are still riddled with artificial ingredients. Not sure about you, but I like to be able to pronounce the ingredients in my foods (exceptions are for international cuisine, of course!). Want to know the ingredients in coconut oil? There’s one, coconut oil. Now to the other parts.
Extra virgin coconut oil has not be subjected to a hydrogenation process. Because coconut oil is a saturated fat, it will naturally switch from a solid to a liquid allowing you to use both consistencies when cooking and baking.
Unlike the fats provided from vegetable oil, coconut oil is a functional fat. The medium-chain fatty acids are broken down in your body immediately and used as energy. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which may boost your immunity, ease your digestion woes, and rev up your metabolism.
Best of all, coconut oil is natural. Nothing made in a lab, but in nature. We’re on board with the 100 Days of Real Food thought, fuel your body with real, wholesome foods not the low-fat imitations.
Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!