There are three different types of natural fat. The chemical structure of fat is shown below with three examples of the different types of fat. Fatty acids are made up of chains of Carbon atoms (C) bonded with Hydrogen (H) atoms. At one of the ends of a fatty acid is a carboxyl group (-COOH).
You can see that the example saturated fat below has all the Carbon atoms bonded to Hydrogen atoms. This fat is described as “fully saturated with Hydrogen atoms” – hence the name saturated fat. This means that no Hydrogen atoms are missing i.e. this is the most stable structure.
The example monounsaturated fat below has one pair of Hydrogen atoms missing, so it has one double bond between Carbon atoms. This makes the monounsaturated fat less stable than the saturated fat. Poly normally means many, but it means just two in the example below. The bottom fat structure has two pairs of Hydrogen atoms missing, so it has two double bonds between Carbon atoms. This makes the polyunsaturated fat less stable than the monounsaturated fat, which is less stable than the saturated fat.
Given that saturated fat is the most stable and therefore the safest to cook with (the safest at high temperatures) and polyunsaturated fat conversely is the least stable and the least safe to cook with, it is rather outrageous that public health ‘experts’ are advising us to favour polyunsaturated fats over saturated fats. i.e. unstable fats, over stable fats.
As the tweet below suggested, we need a change in terminology to make the language clearer, so that people stop thinking that saturated/stable is bad and polyunsaturated/unstable is good…
Further to this tweet, I declare the different types of fat renamed as polyunstable fat; monounstable fat and stable fat. Please use the correct terminology from now on!
Many thanks – Zoë
p.s. Don’t forget that all foods that contain fat contain all three fats: stable, monounstable and polyunstable. There are no exceptions. We cannot eat one without all three in food.