Are Unsaturated Fats Bad for You?
First, What are Unsaturated Fats? Characteristics of Saturated Fats?
There’s a big difference between unsaturated, saturated, and trans fats. Unsaturated and saturated fats contain the same molecular components. However, their structure is different, and this has profound effects. Unsaturated fats consist of at least one carbon double bond, while saturated fats have single bonds. This affects the way these fats pass through our bodies. Double bonds, found in unsaturated fats, are much easier to digest. On the contrary, saturated fats can be hard to break down, and get stuck on our artery walls. This leads to high blood cholesterol levels, and increased risk of heart disease, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health. Moreover, unsaturated fats are generally formed from plants and vegetables. On the contrary, saturated fats are usually formed from animals. Unsaturated fats include mono and polyunsaturated fats. They also have omega 3 fatty acids, which our body doesn’t produce, but we need. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, opposed to saturated fats, which are solid. Let’s not forget about trans fats! Trans fats should be thought of similarly to saturated fats. That is, as “bad fats”. Now that we have an understanding of these fats, let’s more on.
Advantages of Unsaturated Fats
- 1) Cholesterol, Cholesterol, Cholesterol!
Due to molecular makeup, unsaturated fats lower your blood cholesterol levels.
- 2) A Healthy Heart
By lowering cholesterol, you improve cardiovascular health.
- 3) Arthritis Prevention
Studies show that some omega 3 fatty acids can prevent rheumatoid arthritis.
- 4) Skin Health
It’s commonly believed that omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids provide relief for skin rashes.
Bad Saturated Fats to Avoid? Bad Unsaturated Fats to Avoid?
As a general rule of thumb, you will simply want to steer towards unsaturated fats. However, this is easier said than done. Saturated fats are pretty prevalent in our society, and for obvious reasons. First, they’re found in animals. Come on, who doesn’t love their meat? Well, besides vegetarians…Second, they have an extremely long shelf life, in comparison to unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats cannot sit on the shelf very long before they go bad. This is one of the main reasons why producers and stores favor saturated fats.
Bad Fat Foods
You want to minimize saturated fats and trans fats. These can be found in beef, lamb, pork, butter, cheese, cream, ice cream, and coconut oils, etc. They are generally found in items that have been processed and can sit on the shelf for a while. Remember, unlike saturated fats, unsaturated fats do not have a long shelf time.
Amount of Saturated Fat Per Day
Saturated fat should make up no more than 10% of your calories. On the other hand, unsaturated fat should make up no more than 30%. Just because unsaturated fat is “good fat” doesn’t mean the rules of moderation don’t apply.
Two Examples of Unsaturated Fats
Unsaturated fats usually take two forms: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Some examples are oils, nuts, and fish…olive oil, vegetable oil, peanuts, almonds, etc.
Are unsaturated fats bad for you? No, and maybe. They are considered “good fats”, compared to unsaturated fats, “bad fats”, and can provide important healthy benefits, like lowering your blood cholesterol levels. However, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
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