Dietary fat is made of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms and are broadly classified as SATURATED or UNSATURATED.  There are two main forms of unsaturated fats  – POLYUNSATURATED [PUFA] and MONO-UNSATURATED [MUFA].   The classification of fats depends on the number of Hydrogen atoms attached to the Carbon atoms that make up the fatty acid chain.

1   SAFA – the Carbon chain is saturated with Hydrogen and no more can be added, these are mostly of animal origin except palm and coconut oils.

2   MUFA – there is only one position on the Carbon chain where Hydrogen can be added, main food sources are olive oil, avocado, peanut oil, canola oil, hazelnuts, almonds, and chicken, lean meat, sardines and olives also contain MUFA.

3   PUFA – there are two or more positions on the Carbon chain where Hydrogen can be added, these are mainly from vegetable oils [called Omega 6 fatty acids] and fish oils [called Omega 3 fatty acids].

Saturated fatty acids increase the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Polyunsaturated oils with two or more vacant arms capable of forming chemical bonds, are the most reactive type of oils, possibly picking up dangerous, randomly roaming molecules called FREE RADICALS which are implicated in cancer, cardio-vascular disease and ageing.  Most margarines are made from liquid polyunsaturated oils which have Hydrogen ions blown through them, attaching to vacant arms and saturating the Carbon chains, so forming a solid style, saturated margarine.  Cooking at high temperatures further destabilizes and makes chemically reactive the polyunsaturated oils, for safer cooking use fresh oil, low to medium temperatures and shorter frying times.

Linoleic acid found in PUFA has been found to reduce incidence of heart disease.

Vitamins A, C and E protect against and neutralize free radicals which are electrically charged molecules of waste product that are formed during the process of fat decomposition.

Do not avoid fats, we need them for maintenance of all cell membranes, hormone production, insulation of nerves and production of bile.

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