Fats are essential components of the food that we intake. One gram of fat supplies our body with 9 calories, more than twice the amount that we get from carbohydrates or protein. Fat is also essential for storing essential fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A and D and transporting them to different parts of the body. Fats are mainly stored as adipose tissue in the body, but can also be found in plasma and other cells. However, just because fat is necessary for the body to stay healthy, it does not entitle anyone to over indulge in high fatty foods. Consumption of a diet rich in fat is extremely harmful for the health of a person and can cause unnecessary health problems later in life. Did you know that there are different types of fat that can cause harm to the body? In the following lines, we have provided information on the various types of fat.
Different Kinds Of Fats
A fat most related to non-vegan food, saturated fats are mostly solid fats that are basically found in foods of animal origin. In the chemical structure, the molecules of saturated fat possess only single bonds between the carbon atoms of fatty acids. A diet rich in saturated fats increases the level of cholesterol in the blood, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. The primary source of saturated fats include fatty cuts of meat, poultry with the skin on and whole milk dairy products such as cream, cheese and butter.
A fat derived from plant and some animal sources, especially fish, unsaturated fats generally have lower melting points than saturated fats and are often in liquid form (oils) at room temperature. Intake of foods containing more unsaturated fats may contribute to reduced blood cholesterol levels. In chemical composition, the molecules of an unsaturated fat contain a kind of fat in which one or more pairs of electrons in the atoms making up the fat molecule, form a bond with a pair of electrons from another atom (a double bond).
Unsaturated fats are generally regarded to be healthier in the diet than saturated fats, because they help lower the level of cholesterol in the blood. There are two kinds of unsaturated fats; monounsaturated fats which contain only one double bond. They are found in peanuts, peanut butter, olives, and avocados. Polyunsaturatedfats contain two or more double bonds and are usually found in oils such as corn, sunflower and soybean.
Unlike saturated and unsaturated fats, trans fat is are man-made in nature. Through the process of hydrogenation, hydrogen atoms are added to (typically) polyunsaturated vegetable oils, with the help of a nickel catalyst. This process converts the mixture into a saturated fat, which obliterates its polyunsaturate benefits. Trans fat, produced by the partial hydrogenation of vegetable oils, is present in hardened vegetable oils, commercial baked and fried foods.
Contrary to popular belief, high temperature frying and reusing oil does not produce trans fats. These fats can only be produced when nickel is added and hydrogen is forced through an oil at high pressure. An excess of these fats in the diet is thought to raise the cholesterol level in the bloodstream. Any food prepared from hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oil contains trans fatty acids. Margarine, French fries, doughnuts, crackers and cookies are said to contain trans fat.