Saturated fat

From ArticleWorld


Saturated fat is a type of fat with triglycerides that contain only saturated fatty acids.

Contents

Saturated fatty acids

Saturated fatty acids are known by the fact that there are no double bounds between carbon atoms in the fatty acid chain. This means, then, that they are fully saturated with hydrogen atoms.

There are a number of different kinds of saturated fatty acids that are naturally occurring; the key difference in these saturated fatty acids is that they have a different number of carbon atoms, varying from one to 24. For example, butyric acid (in butter) has four carbon atoms, lauric acid (which is found in breast milk as well as coconut and palm oils and cocoa butter) has 12 carbon atoms, myristic acid, in cow’s milk and many dairy products, contains 14 carbon atoms, palmitic acid, which is in most meats, contains 16 and stearic acid, also found in meat, has 18 carbon atoms.

Saturated and unsaturated fat

Fat that is in most living matter, and fat used for food for humans, features a different amount of both saturated and unsaturated fats. Some food that has high amounts of saturated fat include butter, ghee, tallow, suet, dairy and meat products lard and coconut, cottonseed and palm oils.

The process of dehydrogenation is used to change saturated fats to unsaturated ones. The process of hydrogenation turns unsaturated fats to saturated ones.

Saturated fats and dieting

Many experts believe that diets that contain a high amount of saturated fat can be linked to an increased chance of suffering from atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. It is believed that the replacement of saturated fats with unsaturated ones will most likely increase one’s ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol, thereby further improving health.

Criticism

There is little differentiation in studies between saturated fat and trans fat. Many people believe that without trans fat, saturated fat is in fact healthful (for example, peanuts and unprocessed peanut butter). They believe that these foods may in fact be beneficial, or offer no known health hazard.

It is also unknown whether meat and dairy products that contain naturally occurring trans fatty acid can be linked to heart disease.