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Can Fat Make You Go Blind?

Should you be eating margarine or butter?

I am asked this question on a regular basis. You may have heard last year about the media reports about the increase incidence of macular degeneration in people who ate vegetable oils and margarines. Macular degeneration is a condition which affects the fine blood vessels in the eye, leading to blindness in part of the eye.

The study indicated that people who ate large amounts of vegetable fat in America had a higher incidence of macular degeneration. One theory is that the vegetable fat and margarines in America are much higher in trans fat. It is important to remember that there are some important differences in the American and Australian food supply, one is that our margarines do not have the same amount of trans fat. What is trans fat I hear you ask? Trans fat is a product of processing.

When industry takes a healthy polyunsaturated fat and processes it to make it solid. We have been saying for a long time that saturated fat found in animal products and some plant foods is bad for our heart, but trans fats are probably worse. This type of fat is found in most fried takeaway foods, processed biscuits, cakes and pies. It is also found in a number of margarines, butter and other oils.

Including trans fat seems to increase the LDL cholesterol in our arteries which increases our risk of heart disease. The trans fat may also be carcinogenic and can increase your risk of certain types of cancer. The trans fat seems to damage the blood vessels making them more susceptible to cholesterol build up. So should you be using margarine or butter? Well butter is high in both trans and saturated fat, so no we haven’t changed our mind, it’s not the best option, even the one that has 50% less fat than margarine.

Make sure you check your margarine nutrition information panel as there are a number available with almost no trans fat. If you really need to use butter on certain foods try to go easy, if you have teeth marks left in the butter than it’s probably too thick.

To help protect your eyes from macular degeneration you should start reducing the amount of animal and processed fats, takeaway foods and commercial cakes and biscuits.

Start using olive oil and including some raw nuts, fish and lots of colourful antioxidant packed fruit and vegetables.

Replace Donuts with a Bagel

Replace Cooking Margarine with Canola Margarine

Replace Meat Pies with Toasted Sandwich

Replace Cake with Bun Loaf

Replace shortbread biscuit with Snack right biscuit

Replace Bought Chips with Oven fried chips

Replace Potato Crips with Rice crackers

Replace Custard tart with Creamy rice

Replace Croissant with Fruit toast

29 Feb 2012

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