Difference between Saturated and Unsaturated Fats

Updated on December 9, 2015

Fats are very essential for the human body and health as they are beneficial for the heart and overall bodily functions. However, there are some fats which are healthy and good for the body and there are others that are harmful for the heart and can lead to various diseases if they are not checked.

Saturated and unsaturated fats are the two main categories of fats; studies have shown that these fats are not created equal, and depending on their sources, they can either benefit the body or harm it. Fats cannot and should not be removed from thr diet because they are the key to a healthy heart and fit body if taken the right way.

Definitions

Saturated
Unsaturated fats (good ones) and saturated fats (bad ones)

Saturated fats are most often of animal origin, are solid at room temperature and whose fatty acid chains cannot incorporate additional hydrogen atoms. An excess of these fats in the diet is considered to raise the cholesterol level in the bloodstream.

Unsaturated fats are derived from plant and some animal sources, especially fish. Intake of foods containing more unsaturated fats contributes to reduced blood cholesterol levels.

Saturated vs Unsaturated Fats

What is the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats? There are many people who know that there are different types of fats but they do not actually know how these fats are different and how they affect the human heart and body. Saturated and unsaturated fats are the two main types of fat found in foods which affect cardiovascular health and it is important to understand how they differ to live a better quality life.

The biggest difference between the two is that saturated fats remain solid at room temperate and have no double bond between molecules, which means there are no gaps and the fat is full of hydrogen molecules. Foods that contain saturated fats are very harmful for the heart as they increase LDL, the bad cholesterol – this would include fatty beef, lamb, pork, chicken with skin, whole milk, cream, butter, cheese and ice cream.

On the other hand, unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and have double bonds which break up the chain of hydrogen molecules and create gaps, allowing the fats to liquefy at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats which are very good for the heart as they have the ability to keep the LDL cholesterol low and raise the HDL cholesterol which is good.

The simplest way to determine the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats is to look at them in their basic or natural form. The saturated fats will remain solid at normal room temperature and the unsaturated fats will remain liquid. This is due to the difference in their chemical structure and this is how they remain in the body once they are consumed. Even after consumption, the saturated fats will remain solid and clog the arteries which leads to high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and other problems, whereas the saturated fats will remain liquid and pass through arteries easily, without causing any trouble.

Comparison chart

Saturated fatsUnsaturated fats
Saturated fats are made of single molecule bonds which does not leave any gaps and the fat is full of hydrogen moleculesUnsaturated fats have double bonds which break up the hydrogen molecule chain and allow gaps that liquefy the fats at room temperature
Saturated fat is very harmful as it can clog the arteries and increase the risk of heart diseasesUnsaturated fat is very beneficial for health and lowers the risk of heart diseases
Saturated fats are derived from animal products and fast foods like meats, dairy products, fries, pastries and other itemsUnsaturated fats are present in natural and wholesome foods like nuts, avocados and olives
Saturated fats increase Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol) which increases the risk of heart diseases as they are present in foods which contain fatty acids, refined carbohydrates and sugarsUnsaturated fats increase High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) and decrease Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol) as they are present in foods which contain omega 3 fatty acids and fiber

Video

This is one video that will help you understand the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats in a very interesting and easy way to actually know what they are and how they can be managed.

Did this article help you?
Thank you!
Thank you!
What was wrong?