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February 7, 1948


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Illinois College of Medicine.

JAMA. 1948;136(6):388-391. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890230028006

This study was undertaken to determine whether there is any nutritional difference, as shown by increases in height and weight in significantly large groups of children, when the source of supplementary table fat in their diets is vegetable (margarine) rather than animal (butter).

For a number of years there has been some controversy among nutritionists and other workers in the field of fat nutrition regarding the relative merits of animal and vegetable fats in the human diet. A great deal of experimentation has been carried out, the laboratory rat being used, in the main, as the experimental animal.

Little experimental work has been done in fat nutrition, however, among human subjects. For that reason, the present study was decided on. To insure valid results, examinations of the 267 children (white) included in this study were made for a period of two years.

As early as 1925 Holmes,1 in studies

Holmes, A. D.:  Digestibility of Oleomargarine ,  Boston M. & S. J. 192:1210 ( (June 18) ) 1925.
Bunker, J. W. M.:  Evidence Concerning the Reputed Health Values of Fats: A Review of the Literature ,  Am. J. Pub. Health 17: 997 ( (Oct.) ) 1927.
Carlson, A. J.:  Facts and Fancies About Food Fats ,  Am. J. Pub. Health. 31:1181 ( (Nov.) ) 1941.
Boutwell, R. K.; Geyer, R. P.; Elvehjem, C. A., and Hart, E. B.:  Further Studies on Comparative Value of Butter Fat, Vegetable Oils and Oleomargarines ,  J. Nutrition 26:601 ( (Dec.) ) 1943.
Deuel, H. J., Jr.; Movitt, E.; Hallman, L. F., and Mattson, F.:  Studies of the Comparative Nutritive Value of Fats: I. Growth Rate and Efficiency of Conversion of Various Diets to Tissue ,  J. Nutrition 27: 107 ( (Jan.) ) 1944.
 The Comparative Nutritional Value of Butter and Oleomargarine, report of Council on Foods and Nutrition ,  J. A. M. A. 119: 1425 ( (Aug. 22) ) 1942.
Graves, L.:  Fats in Our Daily Fare ,  Mod. Hosp. 60:90 ( (March) ) 1943.
Bloor, W. R.:  Role of Fat in the Diet ,  J. A. M. A. 119: 1018 ( (July 25) ) 1942.
Deuel, H. J., Jr.:  The Butter-Margarine Controversy ,  Science 103: 183 ( (Feb. 15) ) 1946.
Cowgill, G. R.:  Relative Nutritive Values of Animal and Vegetable Fats ,  Physiol. Rev. 25:664 ( (Oct.) ) 1945.
Boer, J.; Jansen, B. C. P., and Kentie, A.:  On the Growth-Pro moting Factor for Rats Present in Summer Butter ,  J. Nutrition 33:339 ( (March) ) 1947.
Boer, J.; Jansen, B. C. P.; Kentie, A., and Knol, H. W.:  The Growth-Promoting Action of Vaccenic Acid ,  J. Nutrition 33:359 ( (March) ) 1947.
von Euler, B.; von Euler, H., and Saberg, I.:  Zur Kenntnis des Nahrwertes verschiedener Fette ,  Die Ernährung 7:65, 1942
 Versuche über die Nahrungsfaktoren der Butter , Saberg Die Ernährung 8:257, 1943.
von Euler, B., and von Euler, H.:  Biological Facts on Vaccenic Acid ,  Ark. f. kemi, minero. o. geol. , June 1947, vol. 25B, no. (2) .
Deuel, H. J., Jr.; Hendrick, C., and Crockett, M. E.:  Studies on the Comparative Nutritive Values of Fats: VII. Growth Rate with Restricted Calories and on Injection of the Growth Hormone ,  J. Nutrition 31:737 ( (June) ) 1946.
Osgood, E. E., and Baker, R. L.:  Erythrocyte, Hemoglobin, Cell Volume and Color, Volume and Saturation Index Standards for Normal Children of School Age ,  Am. J. Dis. Child. 50: 343 ( (Aug.) ) 1935.
Griffith, J. P. C., and Mitchell, A. G.:  The Diseases of Infants and Children , ed. 2, Philadelphia, W. B. Saunders Company, 1937, p. 38.