Types Of Dietary Fats

Fats are the esters of fatty acids and glycerol, fats are solids at 20°C. These are high in calories. Fat contains about 9 calories per gram. which gives more calories than any other nutrient.

Fats are the sources of energy yielding more than twice the energy supplied by carbohydrates per unit weight. Fats are essential for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, K and especially pro vitamin A known as carotenoids which is present in vegetables origin foods. Some animal fats like butter, ghee and fish liver oils are rich in vitamin A. Many vegetable fats are rich in vitamin E and red palm oil is good source of carotene.

Fats helps to reduce the bulk of the diet because carbohydrate foods absorb lot of water during cooking. Fats give satiety feeling after eating fatty food. These are also important for the utilization of galactose present in lactose.

Storage Of Fat

Fats are stored in adipose tissue and is used in the starvation condition for energy. Moreover, adipose tissue also acts as an insulating material against the cold and physical injury. keep the body temperature in the normal range. Adipose tissue constitutes about 10-15% of the body weight. It increases upto 30% in obese patients. If it occurs person gains over weight and are effected by obesity.

Types Of Fats:

Based on their characteristics fats are divided into 3 types as

  1. Saturated Fats
  2. Unsaturated Fats and
  3. Trans Fat

1. Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are said to be harmful fats, which contain only single bonds between carbon molecules. when saturated fats are taken in high amounts, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels are raised in the body. Saturated Fats are of two types:

  1. Animal Based Fat and
  2. Plant Based Fat

Saturated fat can be found in animal fat and in plant fats also such as full cream dairy products like meat, milk, cheese, coconut oil and palm oil etc. These are solid at room temperature.

Saturated fats can be consumed by people as it is good fat but it should not be consumed beyond dietary recommendations, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. These should be consumed in moderate quantities. Eating good fats in place of saturated fat can also help prevent insulin resistance.

Foods That Contain Saturated Fats:

  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Coconut and palm oil
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Cheese
  • Meat like bacon, beef, sausage
  • Ice creams
  • Coconut cream and milk

2. Unsaturated Fats

Unsaturated fats are known as good fats which contains double bond between carbon atoms, which are liquid at room temperature. These are said to be beneficial fats as they can improve blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation. Unsaturated fats are found in foods such as vegetables oils, nuts, and seeds.

Unsaturated fats are divided into two types which are also known as good fats:

  1. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA)
  2. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)

When taken polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in place of carbohydrates, these good fats decreases the levels of harmful LDL and increased protective HDL, reduces blood pressure, increases lipid levels and also reduce cardiovascular diseases.

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are the good fats found only in PUFA fats, which are not produces naturally in our body. Omega-3 fats rich foods are fish, flax seeds, walnuts, canola oil and nuts etc.

Foods That Contains Unsaturated Fats:

  • Avocados
  • Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios etc.
  • Olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil
  • Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds
  • Fish like salmon and mackerel

3. Trans Fat

Trans fats are one of the form of unsaturated fat with a number of negative health effects. Trans fat can also be found naturally in meat and dairy products. Artificially trans fats are formed by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas and a catalyst, a process called hydrogenation, which converts liquid vegetable oils into semi-solid partially hydrogenated oil.

Trans fat raise bad LDL and lower good HDL, it is mainly found in deep fries, baking food, fast foods etc. Trans fats levels are increased by heating oil no. of times. It causes inflammation and also increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Trans fat taking in very small quantities can also increase the risk of many diseases. Check the percentage of trans fat on the labels while purchasing certain foods.

Foods That Contain Trans Fats:

  • Fried foods like French fries, chicken fries, doughnuts etc.
  • Baked foods such as cookies, biscuits, cakes, pizzas etc.
  • Vegetable oils like coconut oil, olive oil, butter and margarine
  • Microwave popcorn


Fats are of 3 types which are also further divided into good and bad fats. Expect unsaturated fats, saturated and trans fats are very harmful and cause many health issues. To avoid these harmful effects, know the foods rich in saturated and trans fats and reduce their use in your daily diet. To check the labels on the food products that are available in the market. Try to reduce deep fries and baked foods, vegetable oils etc., to lead a healthy and happy life. Try to consume more unsaturated fats which reduce bad LDL and increase good HDL.