June 15th, 2010
09:43 AM ET
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Category: Ingredient
Definition: A naturally occuring substance found in animals and plants, fats are a vital part of the human diet, and are used in cooking for flavor, to provide lubrication, to transfer heat, and change the structure of a food, among other things. Depending on its structure, fats can be saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fats are linked to coronary diseases and other heart issues. Unsaturated fats are further divided into subcategories including monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, either of which can also be categorized as trans fats.  Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and fish, have been shown in some studies to help lower cholesterol. Trans fats, however, have also been linked to heart disease. Generally speaking, a fat is distinguished from an oil by remaining in solid form at room temperature

Filed under: Definition • Eatcyclopedia • Glossary • Ingredient

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