They act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption and for a host of other processes.
A fatty acid is saturated when all available carbon bonds are occupied by a hydrogen atom. They are highly stable, because all the carbon-atom linkages are filled-or saturated-with hydrogen. This means that they do not normally go rancid, even when heated for cooking purposes.
Your body makes saturated fatty acids from carbohydrates. This proves that we need saturated fats.
Why we need saturated fats
- Cell membranes to be stiff and strong, so that it can protect the cells from its surroundings.
- For healthier bones, at least 50% of the dietary fats should be saturated for calcium to be absorbed.
- They lower lipoprotein or Lpa, a substance in the blood that indicates probability of heart disease.
- Liver is protected from alcohol and other toxins.
- Strong immune system.
- They are needed for the proper utilisation of essential fatty acids like omega-3 fatty acids.
- Saturated acid oils protect the heart in times of stress.
- Short- and medium-chain saturated fatty acids (from coconut oil) protect us against harmful microorganisms in the digestive tract.
- Healthy brain (and all the things in and on our head).
- Healthy lungs - For proper function, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin layer of lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is 100% saturated fatty acids.
Will eating too much saturated fats harmful
There are controversial views on saturated fats.
One side states too much saturated fats may raise total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
But the other side says the above is just a lie and has been hurting our health for the last 30 to 40 years because even with people educated not to eat too much saturated fats, the rate of people having heart diseases, diabetes and obesity is still going up.
Some good saturated fats are from nuts, fish, butter, cheese, coconut, palm, etc.