It’s food, but not as we know it: Elmlea tricked me

Yesterday I happened to pay attention to Elmlea (as Morrisons was entirely sold out of double cream). ‘Double what?’ I thought as I saw the lable. Buttermilk with added oil.

The Unilver description sums up everything wrong with our understanding of food.

Elmlea is the real alternative to cream, and is a blend of buttermilk and vegetable oils and is classified as a dairy cream alternative (DCA). 100 ml of fresh single cream has 200kcal while the same serving of Elmlea Single Light has only 124kcal – so feel free to spoon some on your puddings!

The number of calories in a food is not what determines how fat we get. Wild animals manage to not get fat without counting calories. We do not need to carefully measure what we eat, carefully decide how much to exercise and make sure the number balance. That’s not how our fat cells work. We need avoid foods that mess up our natural fat regulation and appetite mechanisms (refined carbs).
Fat is not fattening.
In any case this is not very relevant as the healthy animal fat is replaced with a very similar amount of oil (around 30+% vs just under 50%).
They don’t specify which oil so it safe to assume it is the cheapest oil. Look at this description of soy bean oil.

It’s not easy getting mass quantities of edible oil from soybeans, which are small, brittle beans containing less than 20 percent oil. First you have to drench them with hexane, a toxic chemical solvent that is known to cause nerve damage in humans. The hexane percolates through the soybeans several times and is then removed from the oil (any residues that remain are small).

After that you have to treat the oil with sodium hydroxide and phosphoric acid, then bleach it with a filter, and deodorize it under heat and an intense vacuum. Then often the oil is hydrogenated or interesterified, allowing it to be more stable for frying or other high-heat conditions. Calling any of this “natural” is a farce.

(from Huffington Post , from an interveiw with Melanie Warner about her new book, Pandora’s Lunchbox.

Does this really seem like a better alternative to cream? Cheaper, with bigger profit margins for Unilever, yes. Healthier?
(However, I have to admit, it doesn’t go off as quickly, I did find a some leftover elmlea at the back of the fridge and I was surpised it hadn’t gone off).

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