4 TYPES OF FAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
Fats are one of the main classes of food, alongside proteins and carbohydrates. They are made up of molecules called triglycerides. Fats all have a similar chemical structure consisting of three zigzagged fatty acid chains stuck on glycerol molecule to become a triglyceride. These fatty acid chains are long strands of carbon atoms, carbon atoms which have the ability to make four chemical bonds – by attaching to the carbon atoms behind and in front of them, and the others two slots to be filled with hydrogen atoms.
Now, carbon bonds can be long or short, and the bonds can be single or double. Fatty acids with single bonds (linking to the hydrogen atoms to become hydrogenised), are called ‘Saturated Fats’ while those with double bonds are called ‘Unsaturated Fats’.
Unsaturated fats are of two types – monounsaturated, in which there one double bond, and poly-unsaturated, in which there are more than one double bond.
Generally, unsaturated fats are better than saturated fats because they may increase the overall LDL cholesterol, and the LDL particle size. There is also, a fourth type of fat which is actually a type of unsaturated fat, except they are partially hydrogenised which make them even more
- They have single bonds.
- They stack easily on each other because of their regular zigzag pattern and so solidify at room temperature
- They have high melting points
- This kind is the bad type of fat, especially when consumed in excess.
- Have a single carbon-to-carbon double bond
- Could be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated
- Examples are olive oil, peanut oil, almonds, hazel nuts, canola oil, avocados, and most nuts, as well as high-oleic safflower and sunflower oils, pumpkin seeds
POLY UNSATURATED FATS
- They have two or more double bonds in its carbon chain
- They are essential fats. Good for the body but the body can’t make them
- Examples are flax seeds, corn, soya seeds, fish,
- These are the worst kind of fats
- They are a conversion of good fats to ‘hydrogenated fats’ to prevent them from becoming rancid
- Eating foods rich in trans fats increases the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and reduces the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol
- Examples are some packaged pastries and snacks, and foods with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils written on their labels.
So…unsaturated fats are the best, saturated fats should be taken moderately and transfats should be avoided. Above all, moderation is key.