So, there I was in the pub…

…when in walks a fireman, a farmer and a mechanic.

They could have been English, Irish and Scottish but judging by the accents actually I think they were Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire and Oxfordshire.

Nominally minding my own business I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation at the bar. Namely around the conflicting cobblers given out about nutrition, and knowing where to stand when the message in the media seemingly changes each fortnight. Their main narks were:

  1. Are we supposed to be eating butter or margarine? It used to be margarine, now it’s butter.
  2. Is Diet Coke or Fully Leaded better for you?
  3. Are we allowed to eat eggs these days? Do they still give you heart attacks?
  4. Does being of a miserable predisposition give you Alzhiemer’s Disease?

Ordinarily I’d have been happy to enlighten them but as it happens I was nursing a swollen nose and two huge black eyes and wasn’t in a mood to engage any strangers in conversation (long story – don’t ask..).

So using this blog as an avenue I’ll now put them straight:

Butter or margarine?

Butter. Definitely. Margarine is the work of the devil. Food technology has somehow found a way to make a liquid oil solid at room temperature. This used to be done via hydrogenation i.e. using hydrogen to change the molecular make-up of the fatty acid so that it was no longer liquid.

These are known as trans-fatty-acids and are known to be carcinogenic. Margarine (or spreads, as they’re sold), no longer do this. They no longer contain trans-fatty-acids. However they’ve still managed to make a naturally liquid product solid. I have no idea how they do this, I’m not a food technician. Still, it just doesn’t seem right.

Butter, on the other hand, is made from milk, and sometimes salt, using a simple mechanical action. Butter is a product our bodies recognise and knows how to digest. It contains a fatty acid (butyric acid) used, and produced, internally for our own digestive health. It’s great for cooking with and tastes marvellous.

In moderation folks though. We do need fats in our diet, just not that much. Resist the temptation to make the butter on the sandwich as thick as the bread on which it’s spread.

Diet coke or fully leaded?

Neither. They’re both bad for you but in different ways.

Diet coke contains no sugar but two artificial sweeteners Aspartame and Acesulfame K. The jury is out on artificial sweeteners with different studies finding different results. However even if there is no direct health risk associatd with them there are other risks in that the body still gets confused with the brain trigger for sweetness but none being absorbed, their negative affect on our gut flora and the ability to still engender / encourage a sweet tooth.

Avoiding the artificial sweeteners by choosing normal coke means sugar. Coke contains sugar at 35g a can when an average woman’s recommended daily intake is 25g. Consume coke regularly and we head towards Diabetes Type II and Metabolic Syndrome. Of course, now we also have the middle ground of Coca Cola Life which is sweetened with Stevia. However it still contains 22g of sugar per can.

All the products contain phosphoric acid which is associated with poor bone health.

Eggs or not?

No...Not the chocolate ones...

Yes, eat eggs. Eggs are brilliant: great sources of protein, fat soluble vitamins and minerals. Yes they contain cholesterol but it’s not the cholesterol we’re going to find in a pork pie, if only because it comes packaged with lecithin, a natural emulsifier making it easier to digest. If you’ve a conscience go for free-range. If not, well it’s nothing to do with me.

Does being miserable give you Alzeimhers?

Don’t know, come back to me in 10-20 years and I’ll let you all know.

Old Nutritional Therapist having a quick one on the sly…

By Saffron Rogerson

17 November 2015