The structure of saturated fats makes them different from other types of fats and gives them entirely new properties.
Due to their molecular structure saturated fats are stickier and tend to cause complex problems. They tend to be the culprits behind clogged arteries responsible for heart attacks and strokes. They also derange the insulin metabolism.
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; Vegetable products such as coconut oil, cottonseed oil, palm kernel oil, chocolate, and many prepared foods.
In 2003 a World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) expert consultation report concluded that “intake of saturated fatty acids is directly related to cardiovascular risk. The traditional target is to restrict the intake of saturated fatty acids to less than 10%, of daily energy intake and less than 7% for high-risk groups. If populations are consuming less than 10%, they should not increase that level of intake.”
Very Bad Fats: Trans Fats
Trans fatty acids (more commonly called “trans fats”) are made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas. This process is called hydrogenation. It makes them less likely to spoil.
Partially hydrogenated oils can also withstand repeated heating without breaking down, making them ideal for frying fast foods.
Most of the trans fats in the American diet come from commercially prepared baked goods, margarines, snack foods, and processed foods, along with French fries and other fried foods prepared in restaurants and fast food franchises. For example, an analysis of samples of McDonald’s French fries collected in 2004 and 2005 found that fries served in New York City contained twice as much trans fat as in Hungary, and 28 times as much as in Denmark (where trans fats are restricted).
Trans fats are known to reduce the insulin sensitivity and function. They also fire inflammation, an over activity of the immune system that has been implicated in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
They weaken the immune system and interfere with the metabolism of essential fatty acids.
Most importantly they interfere with your fat burning mechanism by increasing thw production of bad cholesterol (LDL).
The American Heart Association recommends that we consume a maximum of 2 grams of trans fat per day. However, they go on to say that there is enough naturally occurring trans fat in some meat and dairy products that most people already reach this maximum 2 grams without the additional consumption of the man-made trans fat
Transfats are contained in the following substances
Spreads. Margarine are dangerous foods — it’s loaded with trans fats and saturated fats.
- Stick margarine has 2.8 grams of trans fat per tablespoon, and 2.1 grams of saturated fat.
- Tub margarine has 0.6 grams of trans fat per tablespoon, and 1.2 grams of saturated fat.
- Shortening has 4.2 grams of trans fat per tablespoon, and 3.4 grams of saturated fat.
- Butter has 0.3 grams of trans fat per tablespoon, and 7.2 grams of saturated fat.
Packaged foods. Cake mixes, Bisquick, and other mixes all have several grams of trans fat per serving. Do-it-yourself baking is the best option right now.
Soups. Ramen noodles and soup cups contain very high levels of trans fat.
Fast Food: Fries, chicken, and other foods are deep-fried in partially hydrogenated oil. Even if the chains use liquid oil, fries are sometimes partially fried in trans fat before they’re shipped to the restaurant.
- Fries (a medium order) contain 14.5 grams.
- A KFC Original Recipe chicken dinner has 7 grams, mostly from the chicken and biscuit.
- Burger King Dutch Apple Pie has 2 grams.
- Its better to order your meat broiled or baked.
Frozen Food: Frozen pies, pot pies, waffles, pizzas, even breaded fish sticks contain trans fat. Even if the label says it’s low-fat, it still has trans fat.
Mrs. Smith’s Apple Pie has 4 grams trans fat in every slice.
Baked Goods: Doughnuts contain shortening in the dough and are cooked in trans fat.
Cookies and cakes (with shortening-based frostings) from supermarket bakeries have plenty of trans fat. Some higher-quality baked goods use butter instead of margarine, so they contain less trans fat, but more saturated fat.
- Donuts have about 5 grams of trans fat apiece, and nearly 5 grams of saturated fat.
- Cream-filled cookies have 1.9 grams of trans fat, and 1.2 grams of saturated fat.
- Pound cake has 4.3 grams of trans fat per slice, and 3.4 grams of saturated fat.
Chips and Crackers: Shortening provides crispy texture. Even “reduced fat” brands can still have trans fat. Anything fried (like potato chips and corn chips) or buttery crackers have trans fat.
A small bag of potato chips has 3.2 grams of trans fat.
Breakfast food: Breakfast cereal and energy bars are quick-fix, highly processed products that contain trans fats, even those that claim to be “healthy.”
- Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal has 1.5 grams per 3/4 cup serving.
- Post Selects Great Grains has 1 gram trans fat per 1/2 cup serving.
- General Mills Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal has .5 grams per 3/4 cup serving.
- Quaker Chewy Low Fat Granola Bars Chocolate Chunk has .5 grams trans fat.
Tip: Whole-wheat toast, tofu cheese/ low fat cheese, fruit juice, nuts can make a great breakfast.
Cookies and Candy: Look at the labels; some have higher fat content than others. A chocolate bar with nuts — or a cookie — is likely to have more trans fat than gummy bears.
Real Chocolate Chip Cookies have 1.5 grams per 3 cookies. Of the different varieties of chocolate , dark chocolate is the most healthy and it is also known to be cardio protective.
Toppings and Dips: Nondairy creamers and flavored coffees, whipped toppings, bean dips, gravy mixes, and salad dressings contain lots of trans fat.