Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Why I Heart Margarine

I remember running around the playground with him, laughing and screaming at the top of my lungs. I remember making ice cream sundaes with him and always stealing the cherry from his bowl. I remember him teaching me how to play gin rummy and how he always used to let me win.

Growing up, my grandfather lived in Florida and loved having his grandchildren make the trip from Texas to come visit him. We always spent a week of our summers there. The days were filled with fun, laughter and lots of food. My grandmother had a penchant for cooking southern foods and no meal was complete without something fried or battered. She was an amazing cook and my grandfather showed his love for her by always cleaning his plate.

Years of eating poorly combined with a lack of exercise led to my grandfather being diagnosed with heart disease. He had high cholesterol and was moderately overweight. His doctor told him if he didn’t make some major adjustments that he would die.

In an instant everything changed and he took immediate action. Out went the fried chicken, bacon and fatty meats. In came the fruits, vegetables, fish and margarine. My grandparents adopted a complete different way of eating. My grandfather adopted heart healthy lifestyle habits, lost the weight and felt better than ever.

Today, he still loves to eat but does so in moderation. Margarine has become a huge part of his life as well as in my life. It tastes great, is low in saturated fat and can be a part of an overall healthy diet. I’m proud to work in nutrition and to work with the National Margarine Manufacturers because it’s something both my grandfather and I truly believe in.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fun Facts About Margarine

Sorry for the lack of updates last week but I came down with a nasty case of strep throat as well as a virus last week. To kick this week off, I thought I might share some fun facts and figures about margarine, courtesy of These facts are not only fascinating and heart healthy but they just might help you win a game of trivia one day!

1. By eating margarine instead of butter, the average person will save a minimum of 1196 grams of saturated fat per year (and could save even more by selecting a reduced-fat or low-fat margarine product).

2. An average consumer could reduce his/her fat intake by approximately 2,000 grams (18,000 calories) each year by simply switching from regular margarine to low-fat margarine? [Those calories translate to a weight reduction of five pounds by making this one easy switch.]

3. By substituting a margarine product for butter over a week’s time, you can save yourself a whole day’s worth of saturated fat.

4. A whole stick of butter has almost as much fat and cholesterol and double the amount of saturated fat as THREE popular quarter-pound burgers with cheese.

5. Some states used to have laws requiring that margarine had to be colored pink so it would not be confused with butter.

Be sure to tune in on Wednesday! I’ll give you more insight as to why heart healthy eating (including margarine) is such an important part of my life.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Help Yourself During National Cholesterol Education Month

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is doing its part to help inform millions of Americans on how to lower their cholesterol and risk for heart disease.

This year’s theme is “Know Your Cholesterol Numbers – Know Your Risk – Give Yourself Some TLC.” Most of us think of the term TLC as “tender, loving care” but when it comes to lowering your cholesterol, TLC stands for “therapeutic lifestyle changes.” TLC incorporates a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol, and margarine, which contains no cholesterol, little to no trans fat, and increasingly lower levels of saturated fat, can be a part of this healthy diet. Other elements of TLC include increasing physical activity and learning to manage your weight.

NHLBI has created an educational online kit to help the millions of Americans with high cholesterol. Remember, high cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S. The online kit includes strategies to lower your cholesterol, a Question & Answer section on the new food label, heart healthy recipes, worksheets to help track your progress and much more.

In the Q & A section, NHLBI addresses the issue of butter vs. margarine when it comes to trans fat

Q. Is it better to eat butter instead of margarine to avoid trans fat?”

A. No. The combined amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in butter is usually higher than in margarine, even though some margarines contain more trans fat than butter. There are margarines available that contain no trans fat. Soft (tub) or liquid margarine usually contains less trans fat than hard (stick) margarine and less saturated fat and cholesterol than butter.

The Q & A, as well as many other educational materials, is available at I sincerely encourage everyone to check out this information and try to give your own body a little TLC.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Spread of Choice

Why have people made margarine the spread of choice for decades? The reason could be related to taste, versatility, spreadability and/or affordability -- but many choose margarine products because they contain no cholesterol and less saturated fat. Most margarine products also contain no trans fats and have less total fat and fewer calories than butter. Plus, margarine is a great source of vitamin E, which has been shown to protect against coronary disease and reduce the formation of “bad” cholesterol known as LDL. For optimum heart-health, the American Heart Association states, “Use margarine as a substitute for butter, and choose soft margarines (liquid or tub varieties) over harder stick forms.”

The most popular margarine product in today’s marketplace is a 60% soft vegetable oil spread. Compare its label with butter, per tablespoon serving

The reasons are limitless – choose margarine for an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle! But it’s just one simple sub we can make in our diets – this blog will be a forum for all those interested in reducing the risks of heart disease and taking care of our hearts.