Thursday, June 24, 2010

Margarine and Children's IQ Scores

Okay, so last week I told you all about some silly study alleging that margarine increases the risk of children having asthma. Wrong! Margarine actually reduces the risk of asthma in children.

Today, Ill give you the straight facts in an even more ridiculous study – this study alleges margarine causes children to have lower IQ scores.

The study referenced, which looks at the association between intelligence and diet among a small group of children in New Zealand, should be interpreted with caution – an admission that the researchers note several times in the paper themselves. There are glaring omissions in this study, including the lack of correcting for socioeconomic status among study subjects, no acknowledgment of what foods margarine products were consumed with, and no further specification regarding whether the margarine consumed was in stick form or a spread. The authors’ conclusion that “margarines often contain trans fatty acids” is not consistent with the majority of margarine products sold today. In fact, soft spread margarines, which make up the vast majority of margarine products consumed, are routinely identified as the best nutritional choice. The American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health National Cholesterol Education Program, and the FDA all recommend soft/tub margarine with zero grams of trans fat over butter. Consumer watch groups like the Centers for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source echo the recommendation to choose soft spread margarines as a healthier alternative to butter. Not only do today’s soft spread margarines list “zero grams” of trans fat on the Nutrition Facts Panel, they are lower than ever before in calories, total fat and saturated fact. In fact, butter contains up to 40 more calories per serving than most soft spreads; switching to a margarine spread can result in significant calorie savings for daily butter users. Margarine is cholesterol free and provides a dietary source of vitamin E, polyunsaturated fats and essential fatty acids. Margarine spreads are made from natural vegetable oils, unlike butter, which is made from animal fat.

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