Unsaturated and saturated fats. Saturated fats in foods
Saturated fats are increasingly being discussed in connection with the effects they have on human health. Such increased attention has arisen since they fell into the composition of many foods, especially confectioneries. Previously, people knew that any diet should contain vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. However, today the latter have been massively abandoned. But after all not simply so used them in the past. What happened?
What do fats in the body do?
Biologists, nutritionists, food specialists, and simple housewives who know about cooking know that the body cannot be healthy if it is not given the necessary elements in time, especially proteins, carbohydrates and fats. In this article we will talk only about fats, although this does not mean that they are more important than the other two elements. Just proteins and carbohydrates leave for individual studies.
So, fats. In chemistry, they are called triglycerides, which belong to the class of lipids. These elements are part of the membrane, which allows cells to pass other substances.Also, lipids provide the activity of enzymes, nerve impulses, muscles, create connections for different cells and participate in the processes necessary for the work of the immune system.
Among the known functions that perform fats in the body, we distinguish energy, insulation and protective. Without fat, there will be no energy to create proteins and other complex molecules. The body will not be able to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and carry out many other chemical processes.
Fat and lifestyle
Fats are needed by man. But it is important to remember that the body should use them, and not accumulate. The more active the lifestyle, the more lipids it consumes. The modern rhythm of life is less conducive to activity - sitting or monotonous work, relaxing on the Internet or in front of the TV. We rarely go home on foot, more often by public transport or by car. The result - the body does not need the energy it receives from fats, which means that they remain intact and accumulate.
Sedentary day regimen is complicated by the fatty diet. All the accelerating pace of life does not give people the opportunity to eat in a relaxed home environment.Snacking accounts for fast food at snack bars or confectionery products on the go. These foods provide the body with a lot of lipids, as well as products containing saturated fats. They are harmful.
Fats in detail
By chemical features, lipids are divided into two categories - saturated and unsaturated fats. The molecule of the first has a closed structure. It is unable to attach to itself other atoms. The chain of unsaturated fats has open carbon atoms. If there is only one such atom in the chain, then the molecule is called monounsaturated. There are also chains in which several carbon atoms have free space. These are polyunsaturated molecules. Why do we need all these chemical details?
The fact is that it is the ability of the chain to attach to itself other atoms that makes the fat entering the body useful. What is its use? The fact that these free places create conditions for the formation of new molecules. Free carbon atoms in the composition of fats add other elements to themselves, after which a new chain becomes more necessary and useful for the body.Saturated fats do not have this ability, so the body can not use them for other purposes. Because of this, with an excess flow they accumulate.
Cholesterol should be a friend
Saturated fats have another feature that makes them outcasts. In their composition there is cholesterol. Having barely heard this word, many immediately thought of the vessels, excess weight, and heart muscle. Yes, unfortunately, the consequences of a modern lifestyle have made cholesterol for many an enemy.
However, this molecule is not always harmful. Moreover, our body needs it so much that it produces it. What for? Without cholesterol, the process of creating many hormones (cortisol, testosterone, estrogen and others) is impossible. In addition, this organic compound is involved in complex intracellular reactions that affect the activity of the whole cell, and therefore the whole organism.
The human body is supplied with cholesterol in two ways - produced in the liver and supplied through fats. Saturated and unsaturated lipids supply cholesterol in various compounds. The fact is that this substance is not soluble in water.It enters the bloodstream along with lipoproteins. These molecules have a complex structure and a very diverse composition.
Low-density lipoproteins are already cholesterol-rich. They simply move with the blood through the body and are used by those cells in which there is a shortage of this substance. Such lipoproteins are found in saturated fats.
If cholesterol enters the body in the form of high-density lipoproteins, then the benefits are greater. These elements contain little cholesterol and are able to add it. Therefore, approaching those cells that have excess cholesterol, they take it and transfer it to the liver. There it is recycled and removed from the body. Such lipoproteins are more common in unsaturated fats.
Do not miss the fatty acids
Excess unused lipids and cholesterol in the body leads to very serious diseases. An important factor in good health is nutrition. Care must be taken to ensure that large amounts of saturated fats do not enter the body in large quantities with food. What products do they contain?
All lipids are very complex in composition. It cannot be stated unequivocally that only animal or vegetable food consists of certain substances. Saturated fats are found in both animal and plant foods.Meat, lard, butter - carriers of saturated lipids of animal origin. If we talk about carriers of plant origin, it is cocoa (its oil), coconut and palm (their oils).
Animal sources of fatty acids
Saturated animal fats contain all fat-soluble vitamins (A, C, carotene, D, B1, E, B2). However, their cholesterol content is very high (200 mg / 100 g in oil, 100 mg / 100 g in fat). It is advisable to use these fats in limited quantities - not more than 70 grams per day.
The best way out is to replace animal lipids with vegetable consisting of unsaturated fatty acids. Butter is replaced with olive oil (this is the best solution, since this product does not have any “bad” cholesterol), flax or sunflower oil. Meat is replaced by fish.
Remember: saturated fats are high-calorie foods. If you indulge yourself with meat, french fries or a hamburger during the day, be sure to walk several stops on your way home. This is the easiest way to use up the lipids you ate.
Plant sources of harmful lipids
Saturated fats - vegetable oils. A very unusual phrase.More often we are used to hearing that they are replaced by fatty acids. Yes, they did it before. Today this is also practiced, especially in the confectionery industry. Just replace the creamy fat with palm oil. This is a very disturbing trend.
Palm and coconut oils are saturated fats. Which products do not have them? Only in those that are cooked at home. If you eat in catering, then avoid the consumption of unhealthy fats you will not succeed.
Many manufacturers add to their products either cheap palm oil (instead of expensive animal fats) or artificial trans fats. The latter is a masterpiece of food industry cynicism. To increase the shelf life of products and make them cheap, food workers take chains of unsaturated fats and add oxygen to them (to the free places of the molecule). As a result, the chain loses its useful functions, turns into solid vegetable fat, which is convenient for use, but very useless for the body. The cells do not know what to do with it and simply accumulate it.