What is saturated fat?
Saturated fat consists of triglycerides containing only Saturated fatty acids (SFAs). All Carbon bonds in an SFA molecule “backbone” are occupied (i.e. saturated) by at least 2 Hydrogen (H) atoms, which makes them highly stable (i.e. chemically non-reactive). Foods containing SFAs tend not to go rancid easily. Being straight molecules, which easily pack together, fats and oils containing mostly SFAs are solid /semisolid at room temperature (SFAs in tropical oils maintain plant leaf stiffness in a hot climate). The body can make long SFAs from Carbohydrates.
Head (Hydrogen) end Tail (Carboxyl) end
(i.e. 18 carbons in chain, 0 double carbon bonds)
(All carbons in the “backbone”chain are saturated with 2 hydrogen atoms, which provides no sites for oxidation to occur -a chemical reaction which would cause rancidity)
SFAs (E.g. STEARIC , PALMITIC,LAURIC, CAPRIC, BUTYRIC and CAPRYLIC ACIDS) are found predominately in:
• Animal Fats (E.g. Butter, Cream, Cheese, ghee, suet, tallow, lard, meat fat)
• Coconut oil
• Cottonseed oil
• Palm Kernel Oil
Although there are several different types of SFAs, only STEARIC, PALMITIC and LAURIC ACIDS are predominantly consumed. The following table shows the percentage of total fat of these fatty acids in some example foods:
|Food||STEARIC ACID(18:0)||PALMITIC ACID(16:0)||LAURIC ACID(12:0)|
• Provide cell membrane integrity. Cell membranes are 50% saturated fat.
• Provide building blocks for many hormones and hormone-like substances
• Used for fuel to make energy. Unused saturated fat is stored as fat deposits.
• Provide protective padding for organs
• Help build strong bones. Calcium is more effectively incorporated into the skeletal structure if 50% of the dietary fat is saturated.
• Protect liver from damage. Caused by alcohol and other toxins.
• Support immune system
• Enhance body's use of essential fats. Support Omega-3 fat retentionin tissues.
Which SFAs do what?
STEARIC ACID (found in cocoa and animal fat) has no effect on blood cholesterol level. It is converted by the liver into OLEIC ACID, a monounsaturated fat
PALMITIC ACID and LAURIC ACID raise HDL (so called “Good”) cholesterol more than LDL (so called “Bad”) cholesterol. Having an overall beneficial effect on lowering risk of heart disease;
SFAs STEARIC ACID and PALMITIC ACID are preferred heart foods. In times of stress, the heart draws on the highly saturated fat reserves which surround it. When eaten in balance with polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats do NOT cause heart disease.
CAPRYLIC ACID (found in milk of cows, goats and humans) is an anti-viral and anti-fungal agent
Short and medium chain-length SFAs (in butterfat and coconut oil) are antimicrobial. E.g. LAURIC ACID. Effective as anti-caries, anti-plaque and anti-fungal agents.
Short chain-length SFAs (in coconut and many palm fruits) found to inhibit 5α-Reductase. An enzyme involved in conversion of the androgen hormones:
BUTYRIC ACID (found in butter) works against cancer. Modulates genetic regulation.
Chronic low-level inflammation (CLII) involved in almost all health problems
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General electrotherapy health benefits. Used systemically and/or locally at specific problem areas of the body, its effective application has many benefits:
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