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How are fats classified?

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All dietary fats contain a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. The type of fatty acid that predominates determines whether a fat is solid or liquid, and whether the dietary fat is characterized as saturated or unsaturated. Fats such as tallow, lard and butter, and vegetable oils such as palm, palm kernel and coconut oils, which are harder at room temperature, contain higher levels of saturated fatty acids. They are considered saturated fats. Oils such as soybean, canola, cottonseed, corn and other vegetable oils, which are liquid at room temperature, contain higher levels of unsaturated fatty acids. They are considered unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are further subdivided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Fatty acids are the building blocks of dietary fats. Fatty acids are classified as saturated or unsaturated depending on their chemical structure. Trans fat acids are fatty acids in which the hydrogen atoms attached to the carbon-carbon double bond are ... more
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