Saturated Vs Unsaturated Fat: What’s The Difference?

At Next Level Fitness in Irvine, CA, we help you with every aspect of fitness. Fitness through exercise is only one part of our service. We offer help in all areas of health, wellness and making lifestyle changes to achieve those goals. Learning to eat healthy is just as important as having a regular workout schedule. In fact, a healthy body starts in the kitchen. Identifying the difference between saturated and unsaturated fat and which is healthier can help guide you toward a healthier lifestyle.

What is the difference between unsaturated and saturated fat?

There are four types of fat, saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated and transfats. Transfats are bad for you. That’s one point where everyone agrees. All fat is a combination of carbon and hydrogen. The difference in these various types of fat is how they are bonded with hydrogen. It makes a difference whether they’re solid or liquid at room temperature. Saturated fat tends to be solid at room temperature and unsaturated fat tends to be liquid. Most transfats are manmade with a process that adds extra hydrogen atoms to oils to extend shelf life.

Which type of fat is healthier.

Saturated fat has been given a bad reputation, but a review in 2019 showed that it might not deserve it. It showed that there was no significant improvement in health or reduction of heart disease by reducing saturated fat. Trans fats have been proven detrimental to health and do increase the risk of heart disease. Cell membranes contain 50% saturated fat. Saturated fat is also necessary for the body to use calcium. Saturated fat protects the liver from alcohol and boosts the immune system. Unsaturated fat is proven to help prevent heart disease. It helps lower inflammation, which can prevent a number of conditions. Until more is known, nutritionists and scientists recommend unsaturated fat over saturated fat.

Do you need any fat in your diet?

Fats are important to the body, not only because they provide a great deal of energy, but also because they’re necessary for many bodily functions. You need fat to help absorb fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A. Fat is necessary for building cell membranes and important for a healthy nervous system. Inflammation, a process that protects the body from outside invaders or contaminants, requires fat and so does clotting blood. Fats help produce hormones and hormones are the messengers that tell your body how to function properly. Adding healthy fat to your diet is important.

  • It isn’t necessary to give up all saturated fat. There are multiple sources. For instance, give up ice cream or fatty cuts of meat, but leave in coconut oil, a source of medium-chain triglycerides—MCT.
  • Often the food containing the saturated oil is more suspect than the oil itself. Processed meat, such as sausage, bacon or bologna or packaged pastry, cracker, cookies and chips have other ingredients that are bad for your health.
  • While saturated fat does have health benefits, you’ll also get benefits from switching some to unsaturated fat, such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and fatty fish like salmon.
  • There are two types of unsaturated fat, both performing services for the body. Monounsaturated fat helps control blood sugar and is found in food like olive oil and avocado. Polyunsaturated help lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and perform other functions. It’s found in walnuts and flaxseed oil.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness

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