Fact or fiction: Margarine is one molecule away from plastic

This does the rounds via email quite regularly. What’s the real deal?

The email is full of scary statements, including that if you put a tub of margarine outside, it won’t decompose because it’s ‘nearly plastic’. Dietitian Caryn Zinn explains:

“When we examine the chemical structures of both materials, it is easy to see why someone would suggest this; margarine has a similar chemical backbone structure to plastic. However, the same could be said about butter, or any fatty acid present in the human body. Many varied substances share similar chemical properties, but even the slightest variation in molecular structure can make a world of difference.”

The bottom line: Myth

Human beings are only a couple of DNA links away from chimpanzees, but it doesn’t make us the same!

First published: Apr 2007

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