In this video I discuss the major types of fats, saturated fats, unsaturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. I also discuss healthy fats, and unhealthy fats, as well as omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids.

Transcript, partial

So, what are the different types of fats? There are 2 general types, saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats have 3 different sub-types, trans fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats

Fatty acids are made up of long chains of carbon atoms and hydrogen atoms. Some carbon atoms are linked by single bonds, and others by double bonds. .

In saturated fat, all of the carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms and do not contain double bonds between the carbon atoms, this gives the molecule a linear formation.

Research suggests that saturated fat affects cholesterol levels by increasing overall LDL, increasing HDL, and increasing LDL particle size. The American heart association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to 5 to 6% of total daily caloric consumption. So, according to that recommendation, if you are consuming 2000 calories per day, no more than 120 should come from saturated fats.

Unlike saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double bonded set of carbon atoms in their structure. This double bond can take on one of 2 formations. It can be a cis configuration or a trans configuration. In the cis formation, the hydrogen atoms are on the same side of the double bonded carbon atoms, and in the trans formation, the hydrogen atoms are on opposite sides. Let’s take a look at the trans configuration, or trans fatty acid.

Trans fats are solid at room temperature and usually have a high melting point. There are natural and artificial trans fats. Natural trans fats, also known as ruminant trans fats, typically make up 2 to 5% of the fat in dairy products and 3 to 9% of the fat in beef and lamb. Several review studies have concluded that a moderate intake of ruminant trans fats does not appear to be harmful.

Artificial trans fats are another story. Artificial trans fats are formed when manufacturers turn liquid oils into solid fats through a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is a process by which vegetable oils are converted to solid fats simply by adding hydrogen atoms. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods.

Many institutes recommend completely eliminating artificial trans fats from the diet. Keep in mind that products can be listed as “0 grams of trans fats” if they contain 0 grams to less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. You can also spot trans fats by reading ingredient lists and looking for the ingredients referred to as “partially hydrogenated oils.”

Monounsaturated fat. It has a cis molecular formation, where the hydrogen atoms are on the same side, this gives it a bend, or a kinked like formation. Monounsaturated fats have only one carbon double bond in their molecule. They are usually liquid at room temperature and have lower melting points than saturated and trans fats.

They are thought of as generally being good for health, especially when chosen over saturated or trans fats. But, it’s always about moderation; any fat can be unhealthy when consumed in unreasonably high quantities.

The last type of fat on our list is polyunsaturated fat. It also has a cis molecular formation. Again, the hydrogen atoms are on the same side, also giving it a kinked formation. Polyunsaturated fats have more than one unsaturated carbon double bond in their molecule. They are typically liquid at room temperature, but start to turn solid when chilled. Polyunsaturated fats are generally classified by their Omega numbering. The omega carbon is the carbon atom at the end of the hydrocarbon chain. There are 4 types of omega fatty acids, 3, 6, 7, and 9. These are determined by where the location of the 1st double bonded carbon atom is located.

The Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are considered essential, because the body cannot make these.

Research suggests that omega 6’s can have inflammatory effects, and omega 3’s can have anti-inflammatory effects. So, the ratio of these fats has been shown to be important.

So, which types of fats should you eat? It is probably best to minimize saturated fats as best as you can, eliminate artificial trans fats completely. Eat a variety of foods from good sources that provide mono and polyunsaturated fats, while keeping an eye on your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, and always listen to your body and monitor how you are feeling, that’s usually the best guide.

Timestamps
0:00 Intro
0:18 Types of fats, saturated and unsaturated fats
0:35 What are triglycerides?
0:58 What are saturated fats?
2:21 What are unsaturated fats?
2:48 What are trans fats?
4:47 What are monounsaturated fats?
5:36 What are polyunsaturated fats?
6:00 What are omega fatty acids?