Unsaturated and Saturated Fats

Unsaturated and saturated fats

Unsaturated and saturated fats are very similar but have two different meanings. They both refer to substances found in foods, although there are some slight differences. Knowing the difference between these two fats will help you in choosing what kind of fat you should include in your diet. Knowing more about them will also help you in reducing your cholesterol level.


Saturated and unsaturated fat differ because they are both made up of the same fatty acids - phospholipids and capric acid. Saturated fat is made up of more fat than unsaturated fat and it has a higher melting point than unsaturated fat. Saturated fat also contains more cholesterol than unsaturated fat. This is the reason why we need to limit our consumption of saturated fats. Keep in mind, though, that saturated fat is still a very vital nutrient that is present in your diet. It's just that it has gotten so much negative press, mostly due to its negative health effects!


You might be surprised to learn that the amount of saturated fat in a typical American diet is far higher than the amount of fat contained in the traditional foods we eat every day. This is largely due to the fact that the majority of our calories come from fast food, junk food and other processed foods. Also, we eat a lot of meat which is high in fat as well. However, there are many benefits to eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.


Eating foods high in unsaturated fats will reduce your chances of heart disease and diabetes. Unsaturated fats include omegas, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Of these, omegas are the worst for you, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats seem to be fine. So, the key here is to find foods high in unsaturated fats and eat them liberally!


Also known as "good" cholesterol, triglycerides help protect your arteries and keep them clean. Ideally, your intake should be in the range of half to one tablespoon a day. However, if your intake is too high you can put yourself at risk for heart disease, stroke, and heartburn. Here are a few foods that high in triglycerides and should be avoided by any dieter:


Vegetables that are high in fiber, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, and corn, contain very low amounts of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. As a general rule, the less fat and cholesterol you get, the better off you'll be. Eating plenty of fiber means you'll be less likely to accumulate cholesterol in your arteries and your stomach and intestines will process and eliminate it more easily. Trans-fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are terrible, because they combine with the chemical structure of LDL and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), to make cholesterol worse. While they don't technically have cholesterol in them, trans-fats do stick to your artery walls as you ingest them.


Refined grains are loaded with empty calories and, when heated, start to turn into carbohydrate pigments. Eating whole-grain bread and cereals are the best way to avoid this. Whole grains contain what's called "double bonds," which are similar to cholesterol molecules. If you consume too many refined grains, your body will not be able to remove them from your system as easily, resulting in the excess fat being stored in your cells instead of HDL and LDL.


Palm kernel oils, which are often marketed as "vegetable oil" contain a type of saturated fat that your body does not need. This saturated fat is partially hydrogenated and turned into LDL. Palm kernel oils contain an even higher percentage of trans-fats, so stay away from palm kernel oils. Eat healthy fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, olives and canola. Unsaturated and saturated fats do not contribute to heart disease, while processed, manufactured and fast foods do.

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