Both trans-fat and saturated fat are similar in some ways; such example is that they can be semi-solid to solid in room temperature, as well as having satisfying taste and texture. But the difference lies beneath its molecular level and how our bodies react once consumed. Below is a short breakdown between trans-fat and saturated fat.
- Also known as trans fatty acid, is a type of natural fat that is normally found in oily parts of meat and dairy. They occur in small amounts and are prominent in animals that produce dairy products such as cattle and sheep. However, trans fat that we usually consume in our diet is artificially produced in a process called “hydrogenation,” where liquid vegetable oil is added with a little bit of hydrogen, making it solid.
- This artificial trans-fat is usually used in commercialized food products to make it tastier, increase its texture and stability, and extend its “best before” status. The best part? Artificial trans-fat is wallet-friendly compared to natural ones.
- On the other hand, saturated fat is a natural type of fat that is solid at room temperature. Its saturated nature came from the natural process of hydrogenation, where the carbon atoms in the fatty acid chain are thoroughly saturated with hydrogen atoms. In comparison to trans-fat, the natural hydrogenation of saturated fat makes it a significant advantage.
- What’s even better is that saturated fat can be broken down in to short, medium, or long-chained fatty acids. Butyric acid is an example of a short-chained fatty acid that is usually used on butter to give it its distinctive taste. The shorter the chain, the fewer calories you’ll get once it’s consumed.
Where to Get Them
- Fried foods
- Baked goods (donuts, cookies, crackers)
- Selected kinds of margarine
- Vegetable shortening
- Processed foods
- Products with “hydrogenated oil” in their label
- Whole milk
- Ice cream
- Coconut oil
- Palm oil
- Kernel oil
- No matter how good they sound on paper, disadvantages always like to creep in. Saturated fat increases LDL/bad cholesterol levels. The same can be said to trans-fat; the only difference is trans-fat also increases HDL/good cholesterol. Either way, overly consumption of the two puts you into a high risk of getting various heart diseases, stroke, and even type 2 diabetes. Consuming them in minimal amounts is recommended.
- Saturated fat is required by or bodies for it to function properly. However, most of us consume saturated fat more than necessary, making us prone to health issues. Talking about trans-fat, the sad reality is that trans-fat doesn’t contain a single piece of nutritional value at all. Our bodies will be having a hard time breaking them down that can come to a point where they can build up in our blood vessel linings, brain surfaces, and other parts of our body that puts our health at risk.
- The American Heart Association (AMH) recommends consuming less than seven percent of our daily calories when consuming saturated fat. For example, if you consume about 2,000 calories per day, the total saturated fat consumed is equal to sixteen grams.
- For Trans Fat, AMH recommends consuming it less than one percent of our total calories. For example, when you consume 2,000 calories per day, less than two grams of trans fat is the recommended amount of consumption.