Monday, April 23, 2007

Misinformation on the Internet About Margarine

Okay, work is really crazy today and I’ve got tons of cleaning to do before my parents arrive from Houston on Friday. However, I did just want to post a few paragraphs from this quickie article. This myth that margarine is one molecule away from plastic is ridiculous but some people continue to believe misinformation on the Internet.

Q: My mother-in-law e-mailed my teens an article that says margarine is one molecule away from plastic. It also said if you leave margarine out in the woods, wild animals will ignore it, and it is far healthier to eat butter. Please help us with the butter vs. margarine wars in our house.

A: Apparently, this Internet rumor has been around since 2003, and shows no signs of dying. Let's look at a couple of the claims you heard.

The statement that margarine is "one molecule away from plastic" is essentially meaningless. According to the Snopes site, many substances share a similar chemical structure, but when the chemical structure is changed, it can mean the difference between an OK food and one that is inedible, or a poison.

To find the heart-healthy margarines, look for those with the least saturated fat and no (or very low) trans fat (these are generally in the tubs or liquid squeeze bottles).

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