Saturday, March 17, 2007

Does each food that you eat need to be 'balanced?"

Updated. Originally Posted - 12/2/06

Just a little rant...

Smart Balance Buttery Spread was on sale at the store, today. This stuff ticks me off. Our diets are simply filled with Omega-6 oils. Tons of it.

They mean well. I agree with the company, that we need to balance out our Omega-3 and Omega-6s. So, why would soybean oil be the number one ingredient?

Soybean oil is a huge source of Omega-6 fats. It's pretty low in the Omega-3s. Sure, some of the other ingredients are oils designed to bring things into balance, but considering that the average American's day was spent eating soybean and corn oils already, it's ridiculous to start with yet another base of Omega-6 fats.

All eating Smart Balance Spread does is dilute things by adding more bad and stirring some good in for "good measure." To me, this seems like trying to put out a fire with gasoline, but stirring some water in. Obviously, we need water to put out the fire, right?

Our overall diet needs to be close in it's Omega-3 to Omega-6 balance. Each food does not have to be balanced.

Instead of Smart Balance, go with butter. Saturated fat is not that bad for you unless you're a sugar, processed starch, and junk food junkie.

If you prefer a margarine (as I once did) give Canola Harvest or Canola Harvest with Flaxseed Oil a shot. It tastes like the margarine I grew up with. *

There are several varieties of Canola oil spreads at the supermarket. Some were just as sketchy as normal margarine. None of the Canola Harvest versions at my stores have hydrogenated oils, but buyer beware, since their web site says that they do make some with it...


I'd like to add products like Best Foods Light Mayonnaise to this list. I just saw this today. Big sticker on top that says "Excellent Source of Omega 3 (ALA) 20% of the Daily Value of ALA (1300mg)"

Based on my whole Omega-3 to 6 balance concept, this is absolutely ridiculous. The #2 ingredient on the list is soybean oil (water is #1). You can eat more and more of this stuff to "get your Omega-3s," but for every 300mg of 3s, you get 2300mg of 6s, sending you farther away from balance.

Yes, we have a problem with not getting enough Omega-3 in our diets, but I think the bigger issue is how do we reduce the intake of Omega-6s. This mayo isn't the way. Not by a long shot.

* Note. Canola Harvest products are getting harder and harder to find. I've switched back to butter and I'm loving it. My favorite is Country Crock spreadable butter with a touch of canola oil to keep it soft. I won't touch regular Country Crock hydrogenated soybean oil spreads with a ten foot pole, but this stuff is good.


  1. Thank you, for this review. I never thought of it in Omega-3 to 6 ratio. I switched to Smart Balance last year thinking it is better for us. Growing up, I rarely used butter as I was always told it is not good for us. I do prefer cheese spreads over butter though. But, SB was a good substitute. Hmm...I wouldn't mind bringing butter spread back into our home.

    We don't eat a whole lot of Mayo but we do have a small bottle of Hellmann's light Mayo. What brand would you recommend?

    Thanks :)
    Anjuli (aka pintobean)

  2. Anjuli,

    I buy Canola based mayo at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. There's even a "light" version. :)

    I'm not saying canola is perfect, but it's a better option than soy, corn, and "vegetable" oil. I wish I could find an olive oil based mayo, but I don't eat much, anyway.


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