Trans versus Sat

Here are some of the differences between trans fat and saturated fat.

The trans fat molecule

The saturated fat molecule

When we compare the biological effects of the trans fatty acids versus the saturated fatty acids, we see that

(1) saturated fatty acids raise HDL cholesterol, the so-called good cholesterol, whereas the trans fatty acids lower HDL cholesterol;

(2) saturated fatty acids lower the blood levels of the atherogenic lipoprotein [a], whereas trans fatty acids raise the blood levels of lipoprotein [a];

(3) saturated fatty acids conserve the good omega-3 fatty acids, whereas trans fatty acids cause the tissues to lose these omega-3 fatty acids;

(4) saturated fatty acids do not inhibit insulin binding, whereas trans fatty acids do inhibit insulin binding (see our page on diabetes);

(5) saturated fatty acids do not increase C-reactive protein, but trans fatty acids do increase C-reactive protein causing arterial inflammation;

(6) saturated fatty acids are the normal fatty acids made by the body, and they do not interfere with enzyme functions such as the delta-6-desaturase, whereas trans fatty acids are not made by the body, and they interfere with many enzyme functions such as delta-6-desaturase; and

(7) some saturated fatty acids are used by the body to fight viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, and they support the immune system, whereas trans fatty acids interfere with the function of the immune system.

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