We all know that trans fat and saturated fat are major things to avoid, but what's the difference between the two?
And what about unsaturated fats, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Are they bad too? What foods contain them?
Are you confused about all these fats too? Let's get these fats straight once and for all.
Trans Fatty Acids: Commonly called trans fat, these are "The chemically-altered guys." Most trans fat is a side effect of partial hydrogenation of plant oils (companies use them to increase the shelf life of their products). Trans fat are neither required nor beneficial to our bodies. Eating trans fat can increase your risk of heart disease.
Some trans fats can occur naturally (in small quantities) in meat and dairy products that come from ruminants (hooved animals that digest their food in 2 steps such as cows, goats, and buffalo). These aren't considered as bad for you as the chemically-altered kind.
Saturated fat: "The bad guys." These are often solid at room temperature, like butter. Saturated fats are not essential to your health. Most come from animals and are found in meat, eggs, and cheese. Some are found in vegetable oils such as palm, palm kernel and coconut oils. Saturated fats are harder to digest and full of cholesterol, which clogs your arteries.
Unsaturated fat: "The good guys." These are often liquid at room temperature, like olive and sunflower oil, and are essential to our overall health. They are thought to reduce our risk of heart disease, enhance memory, and other mental functions. They are derived from vegetables and plants.
Monounsaturated fats are one type of unsaturated fat. These are liquid at room temperature, but solidify at cold temps. Some studies have shown that these kinds of fats can actually lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and maintain HDL (good) cholesterol.