In a recent posts I have discussed how fat from a good source is good for you, contrary to mainstream advice. Naturally occurring fats are a fantastic fuel for the body keeping you satiated and getting you through the day without cravings.
But what is fat?
Fat or Fatty Acid is a more scientific term is a chain of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms with a carboxyl group on one end (More carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms) We classify fatty acids to how many carbon atoms are in the chain and how many double bonds exist within the molecule.
Fat comes in many forms so today i'm going to give you a breakdown of the four major categories and explain the difference. Although it's important to remember that food containing these fats are usually a combination of more than one but we use the biggest percentage to describe which one the food is made of.
1-Saturated fat (SFA) has zero double bonds, meaning its is saturated with hydrogen.
Saturated fats provide structure to our cell membranes and tissues they help keep the contents of cells together. Saturated fats from coconut oil and butter help to strengthen the immune system and they help your lungs work efficiently. They are needed to make hormones like testosterone and estrogen. They are important for the nervous system and help suppress inflammation. As well as containing essential fat soluble vitamins A, D and k2.
All this and we are told to avoid them!
2-Monounsaturated fat (MUFA) has one double bond.
MUFAS are good for you they are rich in vitamin E and antioxidants and help reduce diabetes risk and promote weight loss. They are found in olives, olive oil, avocado, lard and some fish and nuts as well as dairy and animal foods.
It is important to understand tough that MUFAS do come from bad sources too, refined vegetable oils that go through all the chemical refining processes easily become rancid and toxic to the body.
3 - Polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) has more than one double bond these are unstable when subjected to light, heat and oxygen, they become damaged and toxic.
PUFAS come in two main forms, omega-3 and omega-6. These are essential fatty acids that play important roles in cellular, immune and hormonal functions. Good sources of PUFAS are walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seed and chia seeds and fish. However much of omega 6 in people's diet currently comes from the bad sources, soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil etc, and are regularly used in pre packaged and processed foods.
This has also lead to a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, which has links to many diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune issues. Increasing omega-3 helps to reverse these problems.
4 - Trans fats (TFA) are strange shaped fats not normally found in the human body, the bonds in TFA are the opposite side of the fat chain than in naturally occurring fats, not good for the body.
Trans fats are also known as hydrogenated fats. They are mostly man made and found in processed food, margarines and mass produced baked goods. Trans fat are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oils (Hydrogenation) to make them more solid.
There are lots of links to many disease states when consuming Trans fats so avoid at all costs.
This really only scratched the surface when it comes to fats, I will do more in depth posts in the future breaking down the individual components into more detail.
Until then I hope I have shed some light, showing that Fats are not just FATs
Keep it Primal
Eat Fat Get Thin - Dr Mark Hyman