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Dietary Facts: Choosing Between Saturated vs Unsaturated Fat

People enjoying cheese fondue

Dietary fat is necessary for good health. It offers you energy and aids in the absorption of vitamins. A healthy, well-balanced diet must include a small quantity of fat. Essential fatty acids, which the body can’t produce on its own, are found in fat. Any fat that isn’t utilized or converted into energy by your body’s cells gets transformed into fat. In the same way, unused fat and proteins are also turned into body fat.

However, certain forms of fat may contribute to heart disease and stroke as they increase your cholesterol levels contributed by dining out, fast food, delivery and takeout. Fat also contains a lot of calories. Overeating calories can contribute to weight gain, and in many cases, obesity. The two main types of fats are saturated and unsaturated fats. You should aim to reduce saturated fats in your diet and substitute some of them with unsaturated fats as a part of a healthy diet.

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are deemed as such due to their molecular structure. Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen molecules make up all lipids. These fats are “saturated” with hydrogen atoms, implying they have the most hydrogen atoms possible in their chemical structure. They can become solid at room temperature. They can be found in numerous food items such as:

  • Pork, poultry, and beef which are derived from animal meat
  • Coconut oil or palm kernel that comes from plant oils
  • Dairy items such as milk, butter, and cheese
  • Processed food products such as bologna, hot dogs, bacon and sausages

Snacks such as chips, pastries, crackers, and cookies that have been pre-packaged

Assortment of meat and cheese on a plate

Saturated Fat Guidelines

A major portion of people in the United Kingdom consumes too much saturated fat. The government advises people to follow a certain guideline

  • Women shouldn’t have more than 20 grams of saturated fat per day
  • Men shouldn’t have more than 30 grams per day.

Unsaturated Fats

At room temperature, unsaturated fats are usually liquid. They are different from saturated fats as they have one or more double bonds in their chemical composition. They can be further classified into:

  • Monounsaturated: These unsaturated fats have one double bond in their structure. These assist in protecting your heart by keeping “good” HDL cholesterol levels high while lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Olive oil, almonds, avocados and canola oil are examples of monounsaturated fats, and they’re typically liquid at room temperature.
  • Polyunsaturated: They have two or more double bonds in their structure. They can help reduce the “bad” LDL blood cholesterol level. Corn oil and sunflower oil are examples of these fats.

Few Tips for a Fat-Healthy Diet

  • Choosing low-fat milk over whole milk and lean meat over fatty pieces of meat.
  • Food items that advertise themselves as low-fat or fat-free should be avoided.
  • Processed food items should be avoided because they are high in sodium and trans-fats.
  • Instead of deep-frying, you can try steaming, grilling and baking certain items.

Trying to do portion control and maintain a healthy diet can get overwhelming. That’s why you should opt for homemade food that can be delivered to your doorstep. Love Home Food is a home-cooked food delivery service in London that will make you forget about fast food, restaurants and takeaways. Check out our menu and order now!

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