Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Ignorance does not make a food unhealthy


I was reading this article on margarine vs butter the other day and one line jumped out at me: “Cons: Margarine is a processed food with a long list of ingredients, some of which are unrecognizable.” While I tend to agree that foods should, as often as possible, be consumed close to their natural state and the fewer ingredients usually the better, I’m sick of the assumption that just because you don’t recognise an ingredient it must follow that it’s bad for you.

For example, alpha-tocopherol acetate is just vitamin E. Potassium sorbate is the potassium salt of sorbic acid and is a widely used food preservative. Riboflavin is vitamin B2 and is often added to breads and cereals. I could go on and on.

My point is not that margarine is superior to butter. Personally, my preference is for butter. I find that smaller quantities are needed to provide superior flavour and I don’t use it particularly often. My point is that ignorance is not a valid reason for condemning a food. If you’re not sure what all of the ingredients are, look them up.

*The above tongue-in-cheek flowchart from Summer Tomato is a permanent fixture on my fridge. Despite the fact that I am essentially arguing against it in this post I find it amusing.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

2 thoughts on “Ignorance does not make a food unhealthy

  1. It’s not the added vitamins that make margarine so suspect; it’s the trans-fats, the hydrogenated oils that make it less than desirable as a part of our daily diets. I have found it a good “rule of thumb” to look for fresh, whole, unprocessed foods. These are the best basic ingredients for hearty, home-cooked meals.

    Keep up the good work! I look forward to reading more of your posts.


    • I agree about the trans-fat found in some margarines (most soft-tub margarines no longer contain trans-fat though) and focusing on purchasing whole foods. I really didn’t want to make this post about margarine though. It was just the impetus for my frustration with people always fearing unknown ingredients.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s