How Saturated Fats Make You Fatter

How Saturated Fats Make You Fatter

When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s shape-shifting Odo (René Auberjonois) decides to change the way his body looks, he morphs from a gelatinous blob to a sleek, spandex-clad sheriff in an instant. He never worries that his physique is a hazard to his health. But humans aren’t so lucky. Not only are you born with a predisposition to a certain body type, but your lifestyle choices, like eating a high-fat diet, can morph your body into shapes that cause a whole universe of health problems.

Everyone knows that you can have a younger RealAge, more energy, a sharper brain, and a better sex life if you get 30-60 minutes of physical exercise, eat nine servings of fruits and veggies daily, don’t smoke, go easy on alcohol, and meditate for 10 minutes every day. But did you know you can change where and how much fat is deposited on your body if you switch from saturated fats (in four-legged animal protein, two-legged skin, and palm and coconut oils) to unsaturated fats (in canola, olive, and sunflower oil)? Turns out the saturated fat you eat adds fat to your liver (associated with heart disease and diabetes) and your abdomen. That visceral fat makes big trouble. Unsaturated fat helps build muscle!

Here's how to cut saturated fats out of your diet: Eat only nonfat diary; avoid red meat; stick with lean, skinless poultry and fish; cook with mono- and polyunsaturated vegetable oils; and eat a handful of walnuts or almonds daily.  Watch things take a new shape.

Related: How Good Fats and Bad Fats are Different

Medically reviewed in August 2018.

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