Difference Between Unsaturated and Saturated Fats

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: September 06, 2022


Difference Between Unsaturated and Saturated Fats Difference Between Unsaturated and Saturated Fats

Why read @ Diffzy

Our articles are well-researched

We make unbiased comparisons

Our content is free to access

We are a one-stop platform for finding differences and comparisons

We compare similar terms in both tabular forms as well as in points


Fat is one of the three macronutrients that fuel the metabolic system. Both saturated (bad fat) and unsaturated (good fat) fats are an essential element of our daily diet since they are key nutrients necessary for our health. There are both saturated and unsaturated fats in the foods we eat.

The differences between saturated and unsaturated fats are vast. Let's dig deeper into the differences between these two types of fat, including their relative importance, impact on the body, and primary sources.

Nutritionists tell their patients that it is necessary to consume both saturated and unsaturated fats for a healthy body. However, determining which fats are healthier is rather difficult. Saturated fats would clog arteries, which could increase the risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, help the body work.

Saturated Fats vs. Unsaturated Fats

It has been demonstrated that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in the diet reduces blood cholesterol, one of the risk factors for the development of heart disease. On average, people in the United Kingdom consume more saturated fat than is advised. So, if you want to keep your heart healthy, you should pay attention to how much saturated fat and how much unsaturated fat you eat and choose unsaturated fats whenever possible.

There are substantial distinctions between saturated and unsaturated fats. Let us look more closely at the differences between these two types of fat, including their relative importance, effects on the body, and basic sources.

For a healthy physique, nutritionists would advise their patients to ingest both saturated and unsaturated fats. Nevertheless, knowing which fats are healthier is rather challenging. Saturated fats can block arteries, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats, on the other hand, help the body work.

Different kinds of saturated and unsaturated fats can have an effect on your overall health, particularly your heart health. Limiting the amount of fat in your diet is important for controlling cholesterol, keeping your liver and kidneys healthy, and preventing heart disease.

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that between 20% and 35% of daily calories come from fat. Your diet should consist primarily of unsaturated fats. However, evidence indicates that having only unsaturated fats may not be as heart-healthy as previously thought and that consuming saturated fats may not be as dangerous as previously thought.

Difference Between Saturated Fat and Unsaturated Fat in Tabular Form

Table: Saturated Fats vs. Unsaturated Fats
Parameters of Comparison
Saturated Fats
Unsaturated Fats
Types of ties
Comprise a SINGLE bond
Contains at least one DOUBLE bond
recommended consumption
Not more than 10% of daily total calories
Not more than 30% of total daily calories
Health Consequences
Due to its link with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, excessive intake is undesirable
Unsaturated fats are recommended for those controlling their cholesterol levels. rich in antioxidants.
Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol) and Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL's) are increased by saturated fats. Foods high in trans fatty acids, refined carbohydrates such as white sugar, and wheat are sources of poor cholesterol.
Increase High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) and reduce Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol). Onions, Omega-3 fatty acids like flax oil, seafood, and fiber-rich meals like grains are sources of HDL.
Typically present in
Butter, coconut oil, whole milk, beef, peanut, butter, margarine, cheese, vegetable oil, fried meals, and frozen dinners.
Avocado, soy oil, canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, fish oils, walnuts, linseed, & red meats.
These are durable and do not deteriorate soon.
Rapidly perishable
Melting Point
Physical condition at room-temperature
Solid (Trans Fats & Saturated Fats)
Liquid (Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, Omega 3 and Omega 9)
Hydrogenated Oils, Butter, and Processed Meat
Olive Oil, linoleic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid

What Is Saturated Fat?

The term "saturated" is applied to saturated fats due to their chemical structure. Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are the components of all lipids. Saturated fats are "saturated" with hydrogen atoms, meaning their chemical structure has the maximum number of hydrogen atoms possible and no double bonds.

What is the meaning of this chemical structure?

First, it implies that they, like butter, become solid at a normal temperature.

Beef, fowl, and pork are examples of animal flesh. Various vegetable oils, such as palm kernel and coconut oil, Cheese, butter, milk, and other dairy products. Meats that have been processed, such as bologna, sausages, hot dogs, and bacon Included among the prepackaged snacks are crackers, chips, cookies, and pastries.

Why Limit Dietary Saturated Fats?

According to AHA standards, less than 6% of your daily calorie intake should come from saturated fat.

The more saturated fat you consume, the higher your LDL levels appear to be. However, research indicates that not all LDL is harmful. Saturated fat increases the number of big, buoyant LDL particles in the body. It does not appear that these bigger LDL particles raise the risk of heart disease.

On the other hand, it has been proven that tiny, dense LDL contributes to atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in the arteries that leads to heart disease. It does not appear that consuming saturated fat increases your tiny, dense LDL. In certain instances, consumption of saturated fat decreased the incidence of plaque formation. 

The sort of meals containing saturated fats that you consume may also affect your heart health. According to a major study, dairy consumption may actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 7 In addition, consumption of processed meats may raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Are saturated fats healthy or unhealthy?

On the basis of known research, experts dispute as to how crucial it is to restrict your consumption of saturated fats. Nevertheless, the AHA recommends minimising usage. Dairy fats are regarded to be a safe option. Furthermore, all specialists concur that processed meats should be avoided.

What Are Unsaturated Fatty Acids?

 Typically, unsaturated fats are liquid at normal temperatures. The structure of their molecules is different from that of saturated fats because they have one or more double bonds.

Monounsaturated fats: The structure of this type of unsaturated fat comprises only one double bond. Canola oil and olive oil are examples of monounsaturated fats that are normally liquid at room temperature.

This form of unsaturated fat comprises at least two double bonds in its structure. Additionally, they are liquid at normal temperatures. Included in polyunsaturated fats are safflower, sunflower, and maize oils.

Polyunsaturated Fats: Containing two or more double bonds in their chemical structures, polyunsaturated fats are essential to regular body functions such as covering nerves, constructing cell membranes, blood clotting, inflammation, and muscle movement. However, your body cannot produce polyunsaturated fats on its own, so it is recommended that you get them from your diet. In addition to aiding in the performance of essential bodily activities, these forms of unsaturated fats reduce dangerous triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and boost the good type of cholesterol. In addition, they protect against cardiac disorders and mitigate the effects of other diseases, such as dementia and rheumatoid arthritis. Foods including fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, maize oil, soybean oil, chia and hemp seeds, and walnut oil contain polyunsaturated fats.

What advantages do unsaturated fats have?

Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol and offer nutrients necessary for the development and maintenance of cells. Polyunsaturated fats are very important to your health because they give you omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Effects of Saturated and Unsaturated Fats on Health

Dietary fat cannot and should not be eliminated. Diets that are healthy contain saturated and unsaturated fats. Nevertheless, the body processes these fats differently.

Saturated fats are more solid and have a more closely packed molecular structure. Too much consumption of saturated fats on a regular basis may raise LDL cholesterol, block arteries, and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and events, such as heart attacks and strokes.

In general, it is believed that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats boost good cholesterol (HDL) by facilitating the transport of bad cholesterol to the liver, where it may be processed. (This is why the news media and some physicians refer to fats as "good" or healthy or "bad" or harmful.) People are frequently advised to consume polyunsaturated fats, in particular omega-3s and omega-6s, since certain studies have demonstrated their health benefits.In a 2014 meta-analysis of 72 papers that were extensively published, researchers concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the notion that saturated fats are definitively connected to cardiovascular disease or that polyunsaturated fats are as advantageous as is commonly asserted.

The current chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, Walter Willett, has criticised this meta-analysis, stating that it "contains several mistakes and omissions" and is "very deceptive." 

While the majority of research has focused on the purported relationship between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease, others have investigated the possibility of a link between these fats and cancer. At least one study revealed that saturated fats contributed to the failure of prostate cancer therapy. Other studies have shown little or no correlation. Further study is necessary to determine if there is a genuine connection between saturated fat and certain diseases.

The Contrast Between Fat and Cholesterol

Fats and cholesterol are both lipids. They are present in the food you consume and circulate throughout your bloodstream. Compared to fats, cholesterol has a more complicated chemical structure

Cholesterol is coupled to protein in the body as either low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL may raise the risk of heart disease, but HDL, sometimes known as "good" cholesterol, is thought to protect against heart issues.

Fats in a Lipid-Lowering Diet

If you are watching your cholesterol and triglyceride levels (another type of fat that circulates in the blood), try to eat a variety of healthy foods like lean meats, vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.

More study is required to understand the effects of unsaturated and saturated fats on cardiovascular disease. Although evidence suggests that saturated fats are not as detrimental to heart health as was originally believed, doctors nevertheless often advise reducing consumption.

A handful of walnuts or a lean cut of beef is a healthier option for your meals than a bag of chips or a link of sausage. The former options contain vitamins, minerals, and other good substances in addition to lipids.

Meanwhile, the chips and processed meat may have more sugar, chemical preservatives, salt, and trans fats. All of these can negatively impact cholesterol levels and cardiovascular health.

Can Too Much Unsaturated Fat Be Consumed?

 When consumed in excess, both unsaturated and saturated fats add calories and weight to the waistline. Moderation is the best method to maintain good health. Furthermore, the kinds of fat-containing meals you consume might affect your lipid levels.

Difference Between Unsaturated and Saturated Fats in Points

  • The amount of double bonds inside the fatty acid chain differentiates saturated from unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fatty acids include at least one double bond in the fatty acid chain, whereas saturated fatty acids do not.
  • Saturated fats are often solid at normal temperatures, whereas unsaturated fats are typically liquid and derived from plants.
  • A 2017 Scientific Review According to Reliable Source, there is a link between people who have or are at risk for heart disease and those who consume a greater amount of saturated fats.According to the study, saturated fats may increase levels of LDL, or "bad cholesterol." The presence of increased LDL cholesterol may increase the likelihood of getting heart disease. The study's authors say that swapping saturated fat for unsaturated fat could also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
  • However, recent research has cast doubt on the link between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease. A 2019 study from a respectable source indicates that reducing saturated fat has no detectable effect on the risk of heart disease. However, trans fats did, however, increase the danger.
  • There is still uncertainty surrounding saturated fat. A high-saturated-fat diet can make you fatter and raise your risk of heart disease, but it may not be as dangerous as was thought in the past.
  • On the other hand, the health benefits of unsaturated fats are well-established. The earliest evidence of their "heart-healthy" properties appeared in the 1960s. Researchers noticed that people from Greece and other Mediterranean countries had less heart disease than people from other places, even though they ate a lot of fat.
  • Unsaturated fats help decrease LDL cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and fortify cell membranes. According to a 2014 study, they may also reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.


While scientific inquiry and discussion are ongoing, the following is generally accepted:

  • Especially if you don't do much, you should watch how many calories you eat to make sure you don't eat too many.
  • Reduce your carbohydrate intake.The conversion of carbohydrates to sugar increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Saturated fats should account for less than 10% of your daily caloric intake.But if you try to reach this goal by replacing saturated fat with carbs or partly hydrogenated oils, the effect on your health may be the same or even worse.
  • Avoid trans fats.


  • Dietary fat and heart disease study is seriously misleading - Harvard School of Public Health
  • Dietary Fat Information - CDC.gov
  • Fatty Acids - Stanford University
  • The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease - WSJ
  • Wikipedia: Saturated fat and cardiovascular disease controversy
  • Wikipedia: Saturated fat
  • Wikipedia: Unsaturated fat


Cite this article

Use the citation below to add this article to your bibliography:



MLA Style Citation

"Difference Between Unsaturated and Saturated Fats." Diffzy.com, 2022. Fri. 09 Dec. 2022. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-unsaturated-and-saturated-fats-992>.

Edited by

Share this article