Differences between saturated and unsaturated fats


Surely more than once you have heard that, to lead a healthy life, you have to reduce the consumption of fats from the diet. However, when talking about the general term “fat” it always refers to saturated fats, that is, bad fats since there is a type of fat that is necessary for the proper functioning of the body and that helps us to live stronger and healthier. Thus, within the differences between saturated and unsaturated fats we find that the first of them is a type of fat harmful to health while, the second, is highly recommended to include in the diet.

Differences between saturated and unsaturated fats

But this is not the only difference since there is more! Next, in this article we are going to discover them all so that all your doubts about it are cleared and you start enjoying a 100% healthy diet.

Unsaturated or good fats

Before we start talking about the differences between saturated and unsaturated fats, it is important that we stop for a moment to understand what each of these terms means. We will start talking about the unsaturated or, also known, as “good fats”.

Foods rich in unsaturated fats contain liquid fats at room temperature and, therefore, this fat is not stored in the body. That is, when we get fat or overweight, this happens because the fat in food has not been eliminated from the body and has become saturated, for this reason, it is difficult to eliminate unless we do a low-calorie diet and practice exercise.

Unsaturated fats are not stored in the body, that is, they do not remain saturated because they do not contain hydrogen atoms and when they are presented in liquid form. They are fats that are considered “good” because there are some studies that indicate that they help lower high cholesterol and improve cardiovascular functioning, thus making our heart stronger and healthier.

Types of unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fats are divided into two distinct groups, such as the following:

  • Monounsaturated fats: it is thicker when cooled and we find it in foods such as, for example, olives, olive oil, nuts, avocados, etc.
  • Polyunsaturated fats: it continues to remain liquid even when cooled. To this group we find foods such as sunflower oil, soybean oil, hazelnut oil or blue fish (sardines, tuna, anchovies, etc.).

In this article you can discover a group of foods rich in good fats that you can include in your diet without any problem. Of course: always taking it in moderation!

What are saturated or bad fats

But on the opposite side of the scale, we find saturated fats or also known as “bad” fats. This type of fat is easier to identify than the previous one and is usually found in options such as, for example, dairy or red meat.

The main feature of this type of fat is that hydrogen atoms are attached to carbon atoms and, at room temperature, are solid fats. They are known as bad fats because they are the ones that, with a high consumption, end up being stored in our body causing us to suffer from overweight and, therefore, all the problems related to this condition: increased bad cholesterol in the blood, heart conditions, problems with blood pressure, obesity, etc.

Saturated fats, in addition to being found in the products mentioned above, are also found in a wide variety of food products that we currently find in supermarkets such as, for example, sweets, frozen pizzas, cakes, chips, etc. In this other article we discover a list of foods rich in saturated fats.

Main differences between saturated and unsaturated fats

Now that we know better what each of these fats is, let's get into the matter and talk about the differences between saturated and unsaturated fats. We will do it in a schematic way so that the concepts are very clear:

  • Saturated fats are stored in the body causing an increase in our weight. Unsaturated fats, taken in their proper measure, do not remain stored in the body.
  • Saturated ones can endanger heart health by increasing cholesterol and blood pressure. However, unsaturated ones are very beneficial to get our heart and our heart health in general in top shape.
  • To enjoy a healthy diet, we have to limit the consumption of saturated fats to avoid health complications; however, the unsaturated can be a daily part of our diet.

Trans fats

But within dietary fats, there is currently a new group that is known as trans fats or trans fats. This type would also be part of the “bad” fats and should be limited, to the maximum, its consumption in our diet.

Trans fat is a type of fat that appears during the process of refining food. What happens is that the unsaturated fats of these foods go through a process of hydrogenation and become transgenic, a type of element that works in the same way as saturated ones do.

These industrial processes are carried out to preserve some foods as well as to improve their external appearance and make them more “appetizing” in the eyes of the consumer. Therefore, trans fats are one of the worst that exist because they are chemically adulterated fats and, therefore, they fill our body with toxins and harmful elements that we do not need at all.

Dangers of Trans Fats

They are much more dangerous than saturated fats because, as we have mentioned, they are chemically adulterated fats and this leads to the appearance of a series of consequences such as the following:

  • Increases bad blood cholesterol and decreases good cholesterol
  • Alters heart pressure
  • Does not satiate the appetite
  • Contains a lot of calories
  • Increases the risk of obesity or overweight

Trans fats are found, above all, in industrial products such as potato chips, cookies, prepared meals, etc. In this other article we tell you in more detail what trans fats are.


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