Slide 4 of 8
This slide compares the structure of saturated and unsaturated fats. While they look very similar, the chemical properties and metabolic effects of these fats are very different. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature while unsaturated fats are liquids at room temperature. Saturated fats are also known to be atherogenic while unsaturated fats do not raise cholesterol or promote atherosclerosis. In the food processing technique known as “hydrogenation”, hydrogen molecules are bubbled into an unsaturated oil to make it chemically like a saturated fat. The process creates “trans” fatty acids which are highly atherogenic. Thus, foods that are hydrogenated may be as harmful as saturated fats.