Both trans fat and saturated fat are detrimental for human health. But trans fat is considered more dangerous as it increases the level of LDL and decreases HDL and omega-3 fatty acids from the body. In this article, we will underline a few similarities and differences between the two.
Fats are bad for health, but incidentally, there are some fats which do a lot good to your body. The fact that fats are classified as one of the essential nutrients required by the body speaks volumes about the importance of fats in our body. The reason why there is so much ambiguity regarding fats and their effects on body is that, there are many types of fats and not all of them are good for health. Some fats like trans fat and saturated fats are downright harmful for health. This article will help you to understand the difference between trans fat and saturated fat in greater detail.
Similarities and Differences
The comparison between saturated fat and trans fat is not possible unless we brief you about the other types of fats. Fats are classified as saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated and trans fats. Except for saturated fats and trans fats, the rest are beneficial for human health. Thus, when we talk about the similarities between the two, one has to obviously mention that both these fats are highly detrimental to health and hence, their consumption should be limited. Interestingly, both trans fat and saturated fat render a unique flavor and taste to food. This makes them very tempting and unavoidable.
Saturated fats are found in abundance in dairy and animal products like eggs, meat, etc. Plant sources such as palm, coconut oil, coconut kernel oil are also very rich in saturated fats. Saturated fats are also synthesized by our own body. However, trans fats are found in very small amounts in naturally occurring foods. Besides, they are not produced in the body. Trans fats are basically fatty acids of unsaturated fats which result from a process called hydrogenation.
This process extends the shelf life of eatables, hence sought after by many bakers and fast food makers. Trans fats are present in ingredients like shortenings, margarines and other refined oils used to extend the shelf life of packaged goods. French fries, pastries, and popcorn are some of the foods which commonly contain trans fat. Besides, if the label of any food product mentions hydrogenation or partial hydrogenation, you can be assured that it contains trans fat.
As mentioned above, both these fat forms are hazardous to human health. However, when it comes to choosing the lesser of the two evils, one has to go with saturated fats. The health risks of trans fats outweigh those of saturated fats. Both saturated and trans fats increase the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body. However, trans fats further decrease the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol in the body.
Hence, consuming large amounts of trans fats is a sure shot way to inviting heart diseases. Moreover, since trans fats are not produced by the body, they cannot be eliminated by exercising, as is the case with saturated fats. Trans fats also cause tissue to lose omega-3 essential fatty acids and inhibit insulin binding. Some saturated fats are used by the body to fight certain types of viruses, however, trans fats have no use in the body whatsoever.
Thus, one must never exceed their intake of trans fats more than 1% of the total calorie intake. Similarly, it is important to restrict the intake of saturated fats to 7% of the total calorie intake.