The product is dairy free, but something is fishy about this product and that’s because fish is listed within the ingredient list. This fish/margarine is made with 70% oil, the label also states “it’s dairy free butter” and it contains omega-3. The label also states it “supports healthy cholesterol levels” and in small print it says “already in the normal range”. The company is also happy to share their ingredients with you. The packaging states here’s “what’s inside”. Is it truly healthier than butter and just what is the serving size and just how much fat is really in this?
How many grams of fat are in 1tbsp. of this fish/margarine?
Keep in mind the serving size is 1 tbsp.
9g fat per serving X 9 calories per gram = 81 calories from fat (they round down to 80 calories from fat).
What is the percentage of calories from fat in this fish/margarine?
Now in order to determine the % of fat in 1tbsp of this fish/margarine we need to divide the number of calories from fat (80) by the total number of calories per serving (80). 80/80 = 1. 1 x 100 = 100%.
100% of this product is fat. The serving size is only 1 tbsp.
The goal of a whole foods plant-based diet is to consume predominantly whole plant-based foods as well as consuming approximately 15% of calories or less from fat, while also avoiding animal based foods. In august 2010, after years of peer reviewed published scientific literature, two programs proven to have beneficial effects on stopping the progression and even reversing the progression of heart disease, both the Pritikin program and Ornish diets, consisting of 10 – 15% of calories from fat or less, are now covered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Horrigan, 2010, p. 346).
How many grams of saturated fat are in this fish/margarine?
2.5g of fat in 1tbsp. of this fish/margarine are saturated fat. 2.5g saturated fat X 9 calories = 22.5 calories saturated fat/80 total calories from fat = .2812 X 100 = 28%.
28% of the fat in this fish/margarine is saturated fat.
The American Heart Association ([AHA], 2016a) recommends that individuals consume no more than 5 to 6% of their daily calories from saturated fat and that individual consume no more than 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat a day (para. 14). According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2015) increased consumption of saturated fat is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (p. 27). According to the American Heart Association (2016, b) “your liver produces more cholesterol when you eat a diet high in saturated and trans fat”. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) (2002), recognizes that “among the fatty acids that make up the total fat in the diet, only saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids raise LDL cholesterol levels” (p.3263).
Evidence suggests that as the level of saturated fat intake increases so does the level of low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration in the blood, thus increasing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) (Institute of Medicine [IOM], 2002, p. 542). According to the IOM (2002) an upper limit is not set “for saturated fatty acids because any incremental increase in saturated fatty acid intake increases CHD risk” (p. 422). However, according to the IOM (2002) it is nearly impossible to consume a diet devoid of saturated fat due to a mixture of fatty acids however “it is possible to have a diet low in saturated fatty acids” (pp. 422-423).
How many grams of trans fat is in this fish/margarine?
Trans Fats— are not listed because the fish/margarine does not contains more than .5g of trans fat and therefore does not need to be labeled as containing trans fat. Because this margarine is made with oil it may contain a small amount of trans fat.
Trans Fats— while this labels lists it at 0g there is a loophole in the Code of Federal Regulations and Food and Drug Administrations (2017) labeling guidelines which state that if the product contains less than .5g trans fat per serving it does not need to be included on the label (para. 34). According to the FDA (2015) and the Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Susan Mayne, Ph.D., trans fats are found naturally in all animal foods but can also be found in fully and partially hydrogenated oils as well as other edible oils (para. 6).
Evidence suggests that as the level of trans fat intake increases so does the level of low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration in the blood, thus increasing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) (IOM, 2002, p. 423). According to the IOM (2002) an upper limit “is not set for trans fatty acids because any incremental increase in trans fatty acid intake increases CHD risk” (p. 423). However, according to the IOM (2002) “trans fatty acids are unavoidable in ordinary, nonvegan diets, consuming 0 percent of energy would require significant changes in patterns of dietary intake (p. 423).
How many milligrams of cholesterol are in 1tbsp. of this fish/margarine?
0mg of cholesterol in this fish/margarine however, upon close inspection of the label there is fish oil in this product. According to the HHS and USDA (2015) only animal products contain dietary cholesterol (p.90).
Evidence suggests that as the level of cholesterol intake increases so does the level of low density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration in the blood, thus increasing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) (IOM, 2002, p. 542). According to the IOM (2002) “a tolerable upper intake level is not set for cholesterol because any incremental increase in cholesterol intake increases CHD risk (p. 542).
How many grams of carbohydrate are in 1tbsp. of this fish/margarine?
0g of carbohydrate.
How many grams of sugar are in 1tbsp. of this fish/margarine?
0g of sugar.
According to the HHS and USDA (2015) Americans should consume less than 10% of calories from added sugar (p. xiii). In a 2,000 or 2,400 calorie diet that means only 200 or 240 calories in the diet should come from added sugar.
How many grams of fiber are in 1tbsp. of this fish/margarine?
0g of fiber.
According to the IOM (2002) “an adequate intake (AI) for Total Fiber in Foods is set at 38 and 25 g/d for young men and women, respectively, based on the intake level observed to protect against coronary heart disease” (p. 339).
How many milligrams of sodium are in 1tbsp. of this fish/margarine?
80mg of sodium.
According to the American Heart Association ([AHA], 2016) Americans should consume “no more than 2,300 miligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults” (para. 1). Therefore if our diet should contain approximately 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day, that means for every 100 calories consumed, 100mg of sodium can be consumed. Which equals the approximate 1 to 1 ratio of sodium to calories. The lower recommendation of 1,500 is an ideal goal. According to the AHA “1 teaspoon salt = 2,300mg” (para. 6). Also, the AHA (2016) recognizes that the human body needs no more than 500mg of salt per day to function properly (para. 15).
Overview of the fish/dairy free spread
In just 1tbsp. of this fish/margarine the label states there is 0mg of cholesterol, 2.5g saturated fat, and is labeled as having 0g trans fat which means it may contain less than .5g per serving. This particular product uses fish oil as well as a variety of other oils. It is listed as containing no cholesterol and is trans fat free, with the knowledge we have gained we should be wary of such claims, it may contain cholesterol and trans fat though the label states it contains neither. There are 0g of sugar, 0g of fiber and 80mg of sodium. Keep in mind that any incremental increase above zero in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the IOM (2002), “the report doesn’t set maximum levels for saturated fat, cholesterol, or trans fatty acids, as increased risk exists at levels above zero, however the recommendation is to eat as little as possible while consuming a diet adequate in important other essential nutrients” (para. 8).
Skip the fish/margarine on your bagel or toast and opt for a jelly or jam with no, or little, added sugar or find another healthier alternative.
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