Positive and Negative Effects of Dietary Fats on the Body

What are Dietary Fats?

Positive and Negative Effects of Dietary Fats on the Body
Photo by Daniel Reche from Pexels

Dietary fats are a type of nutrient that comes from the foods you eat. Fats get their structure from carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules. This three-molecule structure is known as triglycerides.


  • provide energy,
  • keep your skin and hair healthy,
  • help your body absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K,
  • fill your fat cells,
  • keep you warm and
  • give essential fatty acids to aid your body in brain development, inflammation control, and blood clotting.

Even though they are essential to your body’s functioning, they’re not all good for you. Consuming large amounts of the bad ones cause damage to your body. All types are 9 calories per gram of fat.

Four Types

Saturated Fats

These fats are usually solid at room temperature. Most come from meat and dairy products.

Excess saturated fat consumption can cause cholesterol build-up in your arteries. It raises your LDL which is bad cholesterol. A high LDL increases your chances of developing heart disease and/or having a stroke. Additionally, it causes weight gain.

Some foods that contain saturated fats:

  • poultry with skin,
  • fatty beef,
  • butter,
  • cheese,
  • dairy products made from milk,
  • baked and fried foods and
  • some plant-based oils such as palm and coconut.

Trans fats

Occurs naturally in food products that come from cattle, sheep, and other ruminant animals. Most of it is created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oils (hydrogenation) during food manufacturing. This converts liquid into solid fat thus creating an artificial trans fat.

Consuming any foods containing trans fats increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and diabetes.

Some foods that contain trans fats:

  • anything processed and packaged like frozen dinners,
  • fried and battered,
  • shortening,
  • stick margarine,
  • cakes and
  • other pastries.

Monounsaturated fats

At room temperature, these fats are liquid but harden when chilled. They’re one of the healthy fats.

Eating these fats is preferred over saturated and trans fats. They assist in cell development and maintenance. Additionally, they can help lower your LDL cholesterol level.

Some foods that contain monounsaturated fats:

  • nuts,
  • avocado,
  • olive oil,
  • sunflower oil and
  • sesame oil.

Polyunsaturated fats

They’re healthy like monounsaturated fats. They include omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids that are necessary for brain function and cell growth. Fatty acids aren’t made by the body and must come from food.

Some foods that contain polyunsaturated fats:

  • walnuts,
  • sunflower seeds,
  • salmon,
  • trout,
  • corn oil and
  • soybean oil.
Polyunsaturated Fats

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Saturated Fats

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