There are animal fats, such as butter and lard and vegetable fats
such as margarines, vegetable spreads,
vegetable oils and olive oil.
In the chemical composition of each fat there are three types of
fatty acids present: saturated, polyunsaturated and
The saturated fatty acids are the worst in health
terms because they are difficult to digest and can cause problems
in the circulatory system;
The monounsaturated fatty acids are better
tolerated by the organism as they are more "balanced" and, as such,
are better for the health and are sufficiently stable rarely
causing cell damage (not promoting the formation of free radicals)
and are easily digestible. Their consumption is associated with the
reduction of the LDL fraction of cholesterol in the blood ("bad
cholesterol") and with the maintenance of cellular
The polyunsaturated fatty acids are
easily digested but oxidate easily in the organism, forming free
radicals (compounds which react with oxygen, not being as
beneficial to the cells).
types of fats do foods supply us?
• Saturated Fat
• Polyunsaturated Fat
• Monounsaturated Fat
• Trans Fatty Acids
• Hydrogenated Fat
The fats are found in all animal and vegetable cells and can
be synthesized from carbohydrates. Not all fats are harmful and we
should not abdicate from their presence in feed as they are the
main source of sources. In a context of healthy eating, the fats
from different foods are essential for the proper functioning of
our organism and when consumed in the recommended proportions (not
exceeding 30% of the daily energy figure), they are well tolerated
and have various beneficial effects.
In turn, fats are source of energy and essential fatty acids,
helping in the absorption of some fat-soluble
vitamins (A,D,E,K), stimulating the secretion of bile,
improving the working of the gall-bladder and retarding the
emptying of the stomach, increasing the sensation of having eaten
enough thus reducing the intake of food.
Nevertheless when consumed in excess and in an unruly manner, the
prejudicial effects are many and rapidly effect our well-being and
oil vs other fats
The fats from animal origin such as
butter and lard, are typically composed by saturated fatty acids
(solid at room temperature).
fats from vegetable origin such
as margarines and vegetable oils, are characterized by a strong
presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids (liquid at room
temperature) in their fat composition.
Olive oil is also a vegetable
fat, but the only one mainly composed of
monounsaturated fatty acids (principally oleic
acid). Not only is the fat composition unique, but olive oil is
also rich in polyphenols* that
contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress.
These two features make olive oil the
*The beneficial effect is achieved with a daily dose of 20 mg of
On the other hand, olive oil has also an other
advantage compared to other fats: it is the only
fat obtained exclusively by mechanical
processes, without any type of additive.
THE OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is an oily juice extracted from the olives,
exclusively by mechanical processes, liquid at room temperature,
with a color between green and yellow.
Vegetable oils are oily juices extracted from oleaginous plants,
generally from their seeds or fruit. Subsequently, undergo chemical
and physical refining processes.
Margarine and vegetable spreads are an emulsion of water and
vegetable oils. Subsequently this mixture is gradually cooled and
the emulsion becomes a semi-paste.
Currently, the margarine production process is not achieved by
hydrogenation step and therefore do not contain trans fats. By law,
to be designated "vegetable spread" it must has a value of less
than 80% of fat. If fat is greater than 80% and a maximum of 16%
water, it is called margarine.
Butter is made with the fat part of milk. Its manufacture starts
with the cream of the milk and can be salted or not. Nowadays it is
made exclusively by the beating and kneading of the pasteurised
cream exclusively from cow milk.
To start. The milk is skimmed for using the cream. The cream is
then pasteurised and beaten and the fat is separated from what is
left of the milk. These are called butter grains which are then
washed, salted, kneaded and pressed. The kneading is
considered complete when the butter looses its granulated
appearance and has a smooth and creamy texture.