What are examples of saturated fats

Saturated Fat: So Much Is Allowed

Von, nutritionist

Saturated fat are an important part of fat and are released when it is digested. There are also other fatty acids, for example unsaturated fatty acids, free fatty acids and a few more. Saturated and unsaturated fatty acids are the best known as they play an important role in health. In general, saturated fat is not considered to be particularly healthy. You can find out why this is not entirely true and where saturated fatty acids are found here.

What are Saturated Fatty Acids?

From a chemical point of view, fatty acids are organic acids made up of hydrocarbon chains of different lengths. The chain length and the number of double bonds between the carbon atoms, also known as the degree of saturation, determine their chemical classification and their effect on the body. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds, whereas monounsaturated fatty acids have one, and polyunsaturated fatty acids even have several double bonds. What is special about saturated fatty acids is that the body can produce them itself and does not depend on food intake.

Saturated Fatty Acids: Features

Saturated fatty acids serve humans primarily as an energy source and energy store, but are also involved in the construction of biomembrane and protect the internal organs. In addition, the individual saturated fatty acids have specific tasks:

  • Butyric acid regulates the implementation of genetic information.
  • Palmitic acid is important for hormone metabolism.
  • Palmitic and myristic acids are involved in immune metabolism.

Saturated fatty acids: Occurrence

Saturated fatty acids are often found to a large extent in animal products such as butter, tallow, lard, meat and milk. Fish oil is an exception. It mainly contains unsaturated fatty acids. But some vegetable fats also contain a lot of saturated fatty acids, for example coconut oil, palm oil, palm oil and cocoa butter.

Saturated fatty acids make a fat solid. As a rule of thumb, the more solid a fat, the more saturated fatty acids it contains. Butter, for example, contains 66 percent saturated fatty acids, coconut fat even 92 percent.

Saturated Fat: Daily Need

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends not covering more than 7 to 10 percent of the total daily energy intake with saturated fatty acids. In reality, however, the uptake is significantly higher. In women, the proportion of saturated fatty acids in total energy intake makes up an average of 15 percent, and in men even 16 percent.

Are Saturated Fats Healthy?

Saturated fatty acids increase blood lipids (e.g. triglycerides), as well as "bad" LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. This has a negative impact on your cardiovascular health and increases your risk of coronary heart disease.

But: According to the latest scientific findings, not all saturated fatty acids have the same effect. Studies show that medium-chain saturated fatty acids (e.g. in coconut fat, milk fat) have a more negative effect on cholesterol than saturated fatty acids with long chains (e.g. palmitic acid or stearic acid). The shorter chains are digested more easily than the long-chain fatty acids; there is no need for bile acid or fat-splitting enzymes. This means that the building materials for cholesterol are also increasingly available.

However, eating more short- and medium-chain saturated fat can also have advantages - at least for people who have problems digesting fat. Patients with diseases of the biliary tract, liver or Crohn's disease can more easily obtain energy from these fatty acids.

Everyday recommendations for saturated fat

Basically, one can say: the daily consumption of saturated fatty acids is too high. A reduction in polyunsaturated fatty acids has health benefits for heart health and is recommended. Therefore, you should try to avoid the following foods that contain a lot of saturated fats:

  • Fatty Meat
  • Fat sausage
  • Fat cheese
  • cream
  • Butter and lard
  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Pastries and baked goods
  • Chocolate and greasy sweets

A simple but effective exchange tip to saturated fat to reduce: replace animal fat with vegetable fat. Instead of clarified butter, for example, use rapeseed oil and reduce the consumption of animal products in favor of plant-based products.

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