Know Your Fats. Yummy, yummy fats.
June 22, 2009 9:21 AM Subscribe
posted by Deathalicious (48 comments total)
28 users marked this as a favorite
Fats, whether from plant sources
, have been in use in cooking for a long time
. Olive oil's history
goes back 7 millenia and palm oil has a history
dating back to 3000 BCE. Once widely used in place of butter during the 19th century, lard is finally making a comeback (and you can easily make your own)
, the Jewish lard alternative, will probably never rebound as a food, although the word itself is still popular (to describe something that is overly sentimental)
. Although fat in general has a negative connotation
, you need fat to survive
and there are good fats and bad fats
If your food has nutritional info on it, it's likely going to split up the fats into saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and, possibly, trans fats. What are all of these different kind of fats (literally fatty acids
)? It all has to do with two of the major "ingredients" of fat, carbon
- Saturated fat
- So named because they are "saturated" with hydrogen atoms (every carbon atom in the chain bonds with 2 hydrogen atoms). These are typically solid at room temperature. They raise your cholesterol (specifically, the "unhealthy" LDL cholesterol).
- Monounsaturated fat
- Instead of bonding with 2 hydrogen atoms, one of the carbon atom bonds to only one other hydrogen atom and has one (hence, "mono-") double bond with another carbon atom. Monounsaturated fats raise "healthy" HDL cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. Olive oil, high in monounsaturated fats, is one of the factors in the apparent benefits of the so-called "Mediterranean Diet".
- Polyunsaturated fat
- More than one carbon has a double bond with another carbon atom (hence, "poly"). They lower bad cholesterol.
- Trans fat
- The name comes from the trans-isomer bond that the carbon atoms have with the hydrogen atom (the hydrogen atoms are on opposite sides of the carbon atom chain). Generally, these are unsaturated fats which are hydrogenated (altered to hold more hydrogen atoms). Trans fats both raise bad and lower good cholesterol.