With the low carbohydrate craze, many people have turned their attention to fats. They eat more of it and think its fine. Depending on what kind of fat you are consuming and how much of it you take in, fats can be beneficial or detrimental to your health.
There are three main types of fat. They are saturated, unsaturated and trans fats:
- Saturated fats come mainly from animal sources such as meat and dairy. At room temperature, saturated fats are solid.
- Unsaturated fats come mainly from plant sources such as olives and nuts and contain no cholesterol. They are liquid (oil) at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are broken down further in monounsaturated (one double bond) and polyunsaturated (more than one double bond). The monounsaturated fats are short of just 2 hydrogen atoms and have 1 double bond. Monounsaturated fatty acids are made by the body from saturated fatty acids as they are needed by the body. They are liquid at normal temperature and are stable so they do not oxidise or turn rancid easily. Therefore they can be used in cooking but not at high temperatures or for frying. Olive oil is best eaten as a cold salad oil.
- Trans fats are a type of fat. There are two distinct types which appear in the human diet, one of which has a negative effect on our health.
You might be asking yourself what a fat is saturated or unsaturated with. A fat molecule (without getting into too much chemistry) is made up of carbon atoms that have hydrogen atoms attached to them.
In saturated fats, all carbon atoms have a single bond to another carbon atom and are also bonded to hydrogen atoms. In unsaturated fats, not all carbons are saturated with hydrogens so double bonds form between carbons. Depending on what carbon the double bond is formed determines the fat’s properties.
While it’s definitely not as bad as trans fat (nothing is), it still appears as though saturated fat is probably pretty bad for most people in high amounts.
Trans fat is man made fat. It is made by taking an unsaturated fat and putting hydrogen through it in a process called hydrogenation. Trans fat is very bad for your health. Whole saturated fat increases LDL (bad) cholesterol and very slightly increases HDL (good) cholesterol, trans fat increases LDL cholesterol and decreases HDL cholesterol.
Harmful Effects Of Trans Fat:
- They increase LDL or the bad cholesterol. and lower HDL or the good cholesterol.
- They clog the arteries, cause diabetes and increase risk of heart disease.
- They affect the immune system negatively.
- They give rise to reproductive problems.
- They cause obesity