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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Saturated fats

Saturated fat is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. Various fats contain different proportions of saturated and unsaturated fat. Examples of foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include animal fats such as cream, cheese, butter and ghee; suet, tallow, lard and fatty meats; as well as certain vegetable products such as coconut oil, cottonseed oil, palm kernel oil, chocolate, and many prepared foods.

Saturated fats

Serum saturated fatty acid is generally higher in smokers, alcohol drinkers and obese people. Deep-fry oils and baking fats that are high in saturated fats, like palm oil, tallow or lard, can withstand extreme heat (of 180-200 degrees Celsius) and are resistant to oxidation.

The consumption of saturated fat is commonly considered a risk factor for elevated (quantitative) cholesterol levels, which in turn is a risk factor for some types of cardiovascular disease. According to this view, oils that are high in saturated fats (including coconut, palm oil and palm kernel oil) are less healthful than oils with a lower proportion of saturated fats and higher proportions of unsaturated (preferably monounsaturated) fats like olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, safflower, corn, sunflower, soy and cottonseed oils.

Not all research finds the link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease clear. In 2010, a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies found no statistically significant relationship between cardiovascular disease and dietary saturated fat.

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