Are meat fats good for you
Fats are characterized by a common chemical structure. The so-called fatty acids are an essential component and quality feature. Fatty acids differ among other things by their
- Chain length (short and long chain fatty acids),
- the degree of saturation (saturated or unsaturated fatty acids),
- at which point they are unsaturated (e.g. omega-3, omega-6, omega-9) and whether they
- are vital for the organism (essential or non-essential).
These fatty acids are not essential for humans, i.e. the body can also produce them itself from other food ingredients such as glucose (sugar) or proteins. Representatives of the saturated fatty acids are e.g. butyric, myristic, caprylic, capric, caproic, palmitic and stearic acid. Animal foods in particular contain these fatty acids, which are rather unfavorable for health, such as butter, whipped cream, lard, meat and sausage products. Few plant-based foods contain high amounts of saturated fatty acids, including coconut and palm kernel fat.
Overall, saturated fatty acids should make up less than ten percent of the total daily energy intake, which corresponds to a third of the energy supplied via fats. Saturated fatty acids can have an adverse effect on blood lipid levels.
Unsaturated fatty acids
These fatty acids are divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The body can only partially synthesize them from other food ingredients. Certain representatives of the unsaturated fatty acids are therefore essential and must be taken in through food. Overall, two thirds of the total fat intake should come from unsaturated fatty acids. Well-known representatives are e.g. palmitoleic and oleic acid (monounsaturated) as well as linoleic, arachidonic, α-linolenic acid (polyunsaturated).
Unsaturated fatty acids are mainly contained in vegetable foods such as vegetable oils, oil fruits (e.g. olives), nuts and seeds as well as in fatty fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel or herring). Overall, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (exception: trans fatty acids) can have a positive impact on health, especially with regard to blood lipid levels. In particular, the consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids instead of saturated fatty acids has a positive effect on the cholesterol level and can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease (CHD). Particular attention is paid to the polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
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