Types of Dietary Fat
Oleic Acid - an unsaturated fat
Palmitic Acid - a saturated fat
Fats are made up of hydrocarbon chains of varying lengths. A fat is considered saturated if all of the available carbon molecules have hydrogen on them. This chemical structure causes saturated fats to be solids at room temperature.
A fat is considered unsaturated if it has one (mono-) or more (poly-) carbon-carbon “double bonds”. This double bond changes the chemical properties and causes these fats to be liquids at room temperature.
Comparisons of Dietary Fats.html
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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.