Why are saturated fats so dangerous?

Where are they found and what are the threats to our body?

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Why are saturated fats so dangerous?
© Ian Waldie / Staff Getty Images

Since 1950, the majority of studies have highlighted how the consumption of foods that contain high quantities of saturated fatty acids (therefore fats from meat and derivatives, milk and derivatives, lard and coconut, palm and palm seed oil) is potentially harmful to health.

Cardiac medical associations and government authorities, such as the World Health Organization, the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, the British Dietetic Association, the American Heart Association, the United States Food and Drug Administration note that saturated fats are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Numerous systematic studies have revealed relationships between saturated fats in the diet and cardiovascular diseases, while there are many studies relating to the association with other pathologies.

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Why are saturated fats so dangerous?

Leaving aside obesity, generally associated with high intakes of highly caloric foods, such as fats in their entirety, links are found between the intake of saturated fats with dyslipidemia and with cancers such as breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, while growing evidence indicates that the amount and type of fat in the diet can have important effects on bone health. The association between a decline in bone mineral density and the intake of saturated fats is now proven.

Sources of fat with higher proportions of unsaturated fatty acids consist of olive oil, peanut oil, avocado, corn, sunflower, soy.

In nature there are numerous forms of saturated fatty acids which differ from each other in the number of carbon atoms in the molecule, which starting from the three atoms of propionic acid reach up to hexatriacontanoic acid which has a chain of 36 carbon atoms and more , if we consider artificially synthesized products.

Saturated fats are present in nature in the main form of triglycerides of animal and vegetable origin; they are found in almost all of the fatty component of animal tissues; they can also be of a vegetal nature, such as those of coconut, palm and palm seed oil; however, other vegetable oils are usually made up mainly of unsaturated fatty acids.