Unsaturated and saturated fats

Fat is one of the major components in human body and other animal. Chemically it’s mainly consisting of fatty acids. Fat is considered as major source of energy in body. It can produce twice as more calories from carbohydrates and proteins. The fatty acids in fat play a vital role in the growth of body. Body can’t produce fat by itself unless it’s consumed from different sources.

There are so many controversies about the demerits and merits of fats. Some people seem to believe that fat is dangerous for health regardless the type.

But in reality, according to the US FDA a person should consume 65 gm of fats on each day. This standard is recommended for an adult person, who simultaneously able to spend 2000± calories on the following day. That amount is maximum. Basically, it is healthy to take 30-40 gm of fat on each day to maintain a fit body.

From recent studies, The American Heart Association recommends that one should have to take 25-35% of fat on total calories intake. But most of the proportion should belong to the unsaturated fats.

Good fat Vs Bad fat

Sometime fats are classified as good and bad unlike the cholesterol. But the truth is, no fat is good unless you able to maintain a lean body. If you are already overweight and having a bloated stomach, then you should have to abide by the rules on consuming fats whether it is good or bad.

Before introducing you with the good and bad fat, I would like to explain about the classification of fat briefly. This can lead you understand the catch more easily.

Based on the type of fatty acids and its chemical bonding fats are classified into several kinds. Mainly there are three kinds of fatty acids. Such as-

  1. Saturated
  2. Mono saturated
  3. Polyunsaturated

The above classification is done based on the chemical bonding of carbon and hydrogen atoms. The classification is also same for the fat unlike fatty acids.

But two major types of fat are widely known for their diverse effect on human body. These are likely-

1. Saturated fat(termed as bad fat)
2. Unsaturated fat (termed as good fat)

From the article on  cholesterol we learnt about two major type of cholesterol, Such as- LDL (Low density lipoprotein) and HDL (High density lipoprotein). LDL tends to accumulate in the artery and lead the way to heart disease. That is why LDL termed as bad cholesterol.

Saturated fat helps to increase LDL. As a result saturated fat is also termed as bad fat.On the other hand, unsaturated fat tends to lower the LDL level.

This is totally reverse in the function of saturated fat. That is why unsaturated fat termed as good fat.

Saturated fat and its source

In saturated fat there is no double bonding between carbon and hydrogen atoms. Therefore it usually has solid consistency in the room temperature.

It’s very unhealthy for you since you had gained some extra weight in course of time. But you can’t totally stop consuming fat overnight. Fats are considered as major source of energies. In that perspective you have to abide by some rules and regulations for properly maintaining the standard amount of fat intake.

Sources: The major sources of saturated fat are animal meat and different type of dairy products. It’s also available in some plants oil. Such as-

  1. Cocoa butter
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Palm oil

Suppose you always avoid the above sources, but still you are not safe. If you would like to eat bakery and pastry products, then it will be a great source of saturated fat as well.

Many commercially manufactured products could be a great source of saturated fat. Such as- chocolate cakes, cream, Ice cream, sour cream, hard cheese, butter, ghee etc.

Unsaturated fat and its source

Unsaturated fats refer to those which have double bonding between carbon and hydrogen atoms in chemical structure. Because of its distinguish chemical structure, unsaturated fat tends to stay at liquid from in room temperature.

Unsaturated fat can be further categorized into two divisions. These are -

1. Mono unsaturated: It contains only one double bond in chemical structure.

2. Polyunsaturated: It contains two or more double bonding in the chemical structure.


The major sources of unsaturated fats are different plants and fruits oil. Such as –

  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Nuts
  • Plant oil- vegetable oil, canola oil etc.

Another major source of unsaturated fats is fish oil. Such as – Salmon, Tuna and Anchovy fishes oil.

Comparison between saturated and unsaturated fats

comparison chart


Saturated Fats

Unsaturated Fats

Type of bonds (chemical)

It is consist of single bond

It is consist of at least 1 double bond

Recommended intake

Not exceeding 10% of total calories on each day

Not exceeding  30% of total calories on each day

Health Effects

Excessive consumption is not good because of their association with atherosclerosis and heart diseases.

Unsaturated fats are considered good to eat if you are watching your cholesterol. Also high in antioxidants.


Saturated fats increase Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol) & Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL's).Sources of bad cholesterol are foods rich in trans fatty acids, refined carbohydrates, such as white sugar, and flour.

Unsaturated fats increase High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) and decrease Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol). Sources of HDL include onions and Omega-3 fatty acids like flax oil, fish, and foods rich in fiber like grains.

Commonly found in

coconut oil, Butter, whole milk, meat, peanut, butter, margarine, cheese, vegetable oil, fried foods, & frozen dinners

Avocado, soybean oil, canola oil and olive oil, sunflower oil, fish oils walnuts, flax, & red meats

Shelf Life

These are long lasting and do not spoil quickly

These spoil quickly

Melting Point



Physical state at room temperature

Solid (Trans Fats & Saturated Fats)

Liquid (Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated Fats- Omega 3's & 9's)





Hydrogenated oils, Butter, Processed Meats

Olive Oil, linoleic acid, alpha-linoleic acid

Last update: October 04, 2016 03:59:48 pm

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