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Video:What Are Saturated Fats?

with Laureen Wallravin

Saturated fats are found in tons of different types of foods. In this cholesterol video from About.com, get an overview of saturated fats, where they're found, and whether or not they're bad for health.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Are Saturated Fats?

Hi, I'm Laureen Wallravin, Certified Nutritional Therapist and founder of RelishedFood.com. I'm here for About.com today to answer the question: “What Are Saturated Fats?”

What are Triglycerides

First, let's start by explaining triglycerides. Triglycerides are the main form of fat in food, as well as the main form of fat within our bodies. When we talk about different types of fat, whether they be saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated, we're talking about their molecular composition. In saturated fats, the triglyceride molecules contain single carbon bonds, and are “saturated” with hydrogen atoms.

What Foods have Saturated Fats

Saturated fats typically come from animal products, are solid at room temperature, and will raise both your LDL and your HDL cholesterol levels. Saturated fat occurs naturally in the following foods: butter, cream, cheese, whole milk, eggs, fatty beef, pork, and chocolate. It can also be found in some plant-based foods like palm oil, coconut oil, and certain nuts such as cashews.

When ingesting any of these foods, our bodies treat the saturated fat as fuel, and that fuel aides in various metabolic processes, like nutrient absorption and creation of cell membranes.

Are Saturated Fats Bad for Me?

There are different schools of thought on saturated fats, in terms of whether or not it's bad for us, and it really all comes back to the cholesterol debate. As mentioned earlier, saturated fats will raise your HDL and LDL cholesterol levels – HDL being “good” cholesterol, and LDL being “bad” cholesterol. On one side of the medical community, high cholesterol is believed to be the main culprit of cardiovascular disease.

In turn, if you have high cholesterol, your doctor will likely recommend cutting saturated fats from your diet in an effort to reduce your LDL levels. However, latest research is suggesting that cholesterol has very little to do with cardiovascular health, and that saturated fat is not at all as bad as we once thought it was. My advice is everything in moderation, and consult your doctor or nutritionist about how saturated fats can affect your individual health.

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