Food and nutrition can be confusing. One such way is with fats. There are so many types out there, and debate about if they are healthy or not. Thanks to its poorly-moderated nature, the internet has all sorts of misinformation out there. Today I am going to be making a short-hand guide to hopefully help you be a better educated consumer!
FAT: This is a general term for boring biochemical stuff. It comes in one of three forms in foods (I know there’s a lot of different ways this stuff can end up before or after being eaten, but this is a general short guide for any of you science people out there who want to criticize me for overly simplifying this!). It can be found in saturated, unsaturated and trans-fat varieties for cooking. Other forms are used in the body for various functions
SATURATED FAT: This is the kind that doctors call “unhealthy fat.” It plays a role in increasing blood cholesterol, which can cause damage to the blood vessels and heart. It’s found in foods like butter and other animal products. Typically, this is found in a solid form at room temperature.
UNSATURATED FAT: This is the kind that doctors call the “good fats.” It can help lower bad cholesterol in the body. These are found in liquid form at room temperature. Foods like nuts and avocados are high in saturated fat.
TRANS-FAT: These are most commonly found as synthetically made fats (they can actually exist in nature, but they are pretty rare). Essentially some food chemist does their mumbojumbo science stuff to some unsaturated fats, and it becomes solid at room temperature. They are also more shelf stable than other kinds of oils. However, they also increase the risk of developing heart and vessel issues. In fact, the FDA removed it from the “generally regarded as safe” list! This means that foods with trans-fats in them must undergo reviews to ensure consumer safety.
TROPICAL OILS: These are things like palm oil and coconut oil. Many people think coconut oil is a healthier option when compared to butter. Unfortunately, this type of oil has A LOT of saturated fat. More so than butter! Some websites proclaim this as a healthy oil, but so far my research does not indicate that.
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