Photo: Windell Oskay (flickr)
You know, it seems like you can’t turn on the TV anymore without seeing commercials for foods that are low in saturated fats. What is it that saturates fat and makes it so evil?
The answer is actually pretty simple. Saturated fat is saturated with hydrogen.
Fats are mostly made up of molecules called fatty acids, and saturated fats are made up of saturated fatty acids.
Fatty acids consist of chains of carbon atoms, which have four spaces for connecting to other atoms. Two spaces are connected to neighboring carbons, and if the other two are filled with hydrogen the fat is considered saturated, that is, saturated with hydrogen.
Your body uses fat to absorb cholesterol from the food you eat, and saturated fats absorb cholesterol super efficiently. However, too much cholesterol in the blood can be dangerous. It builds up on artery walls and increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. A diet low in fat, and low in saturated fats, helps reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs.