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The margarine effect

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Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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This is an interesting discussion. Sorry, I did not yet read all of it. But there are some things I like to say. Going in different directions of the topic ...

- Is margarine bad and butter good? No, you can't say it like that. A good quality butter made from organic grass fed cows' milk cream, yes that's the best there is. But not all butters are like that. And there are so many different margarines ... The biggest problem with the margarine is the way it is produced. Even if the best oil and other substances are used to make it, there's still that industrial production. It can't be made any other way.

- Are people 'bad' because they belief things that are told / taught? Are people who 'question everything' much better? Are people stupid if they don't want to change their opinion, even though many others do? Some questions to think about ...

- How can we know the difference between a lie (or 'untruth') and truth? When can we be sure something is really true? In my opinion that's very, very difficult (or even impossible).
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Location: Carnation, WA (Western Washington State / Cascadia / Pacific NW)
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The artist "the oatmeal" describes "the margarine effect" exceedingly well:  https://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe.

Go to his website. He is amazing.

With very sweet little illustrations, he walks you through triggering examples, and then describes how when we are presented with emotionally triggering ideas, especially ones that challenge our core beliefs, it's as if we are being physically threatened, so our amygdala kicks in.


And, in terms of margarine versus butter, specifically, I have stirred up some opposition in my personal life from posting this first post in a thread on how to help seniors eat healthy. That first post shows a huge dunce cap as a response to a brand of margarine called "Smart Balance."  

You see, I found "Smart Balance" in my parents fridge but I didn't know it was put there by a well-meaning and knowledgeable person who meant to help. This person has been advocating a well studied/trialed/tested diet called the DASH diet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DASH_diet) that has been shown to reduce heart disease and diabetes. In general, it is a lower fat diet, with less butter, less red meat, less sugar, yada yada. Before I knew they had put the "Smart Balance" in the fridge, I sent this person the thread I created with the dunce cap. Oooops.

In my mind, my bias, of course, I think the DASH trials were likely **not** conducted with grass-fed organic dairy and beef - which, as I understand it, makes a huge difference in inflammatory response in the body. It's also likely that most subjects in any DASH diet study were following the typical SAD (Standard American/Western Diet) full of carbs, sugars, inflammatory fats and very low veggies before switching to the DASH diet; so OF COURSE they fared better!

So that's how I stay in my confirmation bias bubble. That, and my own anecdotal evidence that despite being overweight and in my mid-fifties, when I eat what I've learned to be an anti-inflammatory diet, including healthy, grass-fed saturated fats, I no longer have arthritis symptoms, I have low blood pressure, and no signs of diabetes or heart disease.

Have to tack onto this that a friend tried to tell me that canola oil (which is a significant ingredient in "Smart Balance" along with palm and soy oils) wasn't so bad - even sending me both a Snopes article and another link to prove it. His scientific (non-Snopes) link, however, actually said canola oil contains a toxic compound...just not very much of said toxic compound. My response was, why eat something with a toxin when there are SO many oils that are available **without** toxins? Sheesh.


So yeah, we all have our own confirmation biases and we can find data online to support our biases. And yet science is complex and not perfect and not absolute and learning new things all the time.

Cue this article from 2013 which is also amazing, by the way:  http://nwedible.com/grassfed-vs-organic-butter-and-which-one-will-kill-you-faster/.

So now I try my best *not* to post dunce cap posts, and I do my best to avoid pushing my core food beliefs on the person who advocates the DASH diet. Plus, I am mild and supportive of family members who have gone vegan. Because you know what, it IS **really** hard to get clean food, period. Unless you know how it was grown very well. And meat, especially larger big ag produced meat, just by nature of the beast (yup, I went there), is going to have more toxins in it, even if it's organic.


And I still wish I had a way to calm the amygdala to convince someone to be even a little bit more open-minded (a baby step to a more major paradigm shift).


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