General Question

Supergirl's avatar

What is the deal with all the different "fats"?

Asked by Supergirl (1686points) July 22nd, 2008

A few years back, I remember being told to only look at saturated fat when thinking about my weight, now it seems that everything talks about transfat. Can someone clear this up?

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7 Answers

trumi's avatar

Trans fat causes inflammation in your arteries.

XCNuse's avatar

it’s like every other marketing gimmick out there (really).

eat what you want in moderation and you’ll be as healthy as can be.

kevbo's avatar

This isn’t a “why” answer so much as a “what” and is what I’ve compiled from a few different books (Pollan’s In Defense of Food and a Men’s Health diet book, primarily).

Healthy fats
Monosaturated- avocado, canola oil, almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, olive oil, olives, peanut butter, peanut oil, sesame seeds

Polyunsaturated- corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, walnuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, mayonnaise, salad dressings, omega-3 fatty acids from albacore tuna, sardines, salmon, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, etc.

Unhealthy fats
Trans fats (avoid at all costs)- margerines, vegetable shortening, “hydrogenated” anything, almost all commercially prepared food

Saturated fats (eat sparingly)- whole milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, bacon, high-fat red meat, chocolate, coconuts, palm oil, poultry skin, macadamia nuts, pistachios, brazil nuts

SilentlyLogical's avatar

propaganda from the “organic” people.. Nothing to worry about

nikipedia's avatar

Here’s the deal with the different fats. (Hope it’s not poor form to link to myself.)

As far as weight loss, the conventional scientific (is that an oxymoron?) wisdom is that the quantity of fat you eat is irrelevant. What counts is the number of calories you intake versus the number of calories you expend. I personally am not convinced this is the only relevant factor, but I have nothing sciencey to base that on.

jacksonRice's avatar

it’s fairly easy to understand chemically if you spend an hour with a good nutritional biochem textbook. the reason fat molecules are “saturated” is because they’re saturated with hydrogens hanging onto their long tails. that’s how oils get hydrogenated—it’s a chemical process by which unsaturated fats become saturated with hydrogens. “trans fats” is when there are hydrogens hanging onto both sides of the fatty tail. the more hydrogens on a molecule, the harder it is for them to be broken down inside your arteries.

none of this has any bearing on your weight. you will gain weight if you eat fatty foods. you will lose weight if you eat fewer fatty foods. the quality of the fat only has an effect on your overall health, not on the fat content of your body. if you live exclusively on avocados & nuts (both very healthy fats), you will still gain an enormous amount of weight.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

I agree with XC, its like saying krispy kreme donuts are good for because they have zero trans fat (as stamped on their boxes) but there are so many other things wrong with it. Moderation is needed.

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