Animal fats

Animal fats: what are they?

Animal fats are food products with a generally solid or semi-solid consistency, obtained from animal tissues with a high lipid content. Among the best known representatives of the category we remember:

Butter: food product obtained by processing the cream obtained from cow's milk or its whey.

Lard or lard: food product obtained by melting the fats present in the adipose tissue of the pig.

Tallow: food product obtained by melting the fats present in the adipose tissue of cattle, or more rarely of horses or sheep.

Lard: food product obtained by salting, flavoring and maturing the layer of fat that is just under the skin (rind) of the pig.

Bacon: food product, more or less seasoned and flavored, prepared from the belly and side of the pig.

Marine oils: food products obtained by cold pressing of fabrics rich in fat or by chemical extraction from industrial processing residues; examples are cod liver oil, whale oil and sperm whale oil.

Animal fats and health

In a broad sense, animal fats mean all the lipid parts that can be isolated from foods and food products of animal origin (meat, dairy products, eggs, etc.). In nutritional terms, when it comes to animal fat, fish fat is generally excluded from the category, since it boasts a particular acidic composition. Animal lipids are in fact rich in saturated fatty acids, which should be consumed with a certain moderation, especially in the presence of overweight, hyperlipidemia and increased cardiovascular risk; in a healthy diet, saturated fats should not exceed 7-10% of daily calories (max 15-30 g / day in relation to the daily caloric requirement). The excess of these nutrients, in fact, in synergy with the cholesterol of which animal fats are equally rich, facilitates the growth of atherosclerotic plaques inside the arteries. Consequently, those who consume high quantities of animal fats are more prone to some cardiovascular diseases, in particular ischemic heart disease and its terrible consequences (angina pectoris, myocardial infarction and stroke). This relationship is especially true if there are other risk factors, such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, hypertension and android obesity (fat concentrated in the abdominal region).

Food Saturated fat (g) Monounsaturated (g) Polyunsaturated (g) B.C. myristic (g) B.C. palmitic (g) B.C. steraic (g) Lard 39.2 45.1 11.2 1.3 23,8 13.5 Butter 51.3 21 3.0 7.4 21.7 10 Olive oil 13.8 72.9 10.5 0 11.3 1.9 Palm oil 49.3 37 9.3 1 43.5 4.3 Cod oil 22.6


22.5 3.6 10.6 2.8 Hard cheese Parmesan type 16.41 7.5 0.6 2.9 7 2.3 Pork sausage 11.27 14.3 4.0 3.9 6.6 3.9 Skinless chicken breast 0.33 0.3 0.28 0.01 0.21 0.1 g Chicken breast with skin 2.66 3.82 1.96 0.08 1.95 0.54 Mackerel 3.3 5.5 3.6 0.7 2.125 0.43

PLEASE NOTE: saturated fatty acids have a different atherogenic power, which is minimum for stearic acid and for shorter chain ones, and maximum for myristic acid and palmitic acid.

Although crustaceans are foods particularly rich in cholesterol, they are considered less atherogenic than animal fats, since they contain few hypercholesterolemic saturated fatty acids. The cholesterol content of red and white meat is also similar, but since the latter is less rich in saturated fats, it is preferred to red. In fish fats, the saturated fat content is limited compared to animals, while the share clearly increases. omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; these fats have a neutral effect on cholesterol levels in the body, while facilitating the reduction of blood triglycerides and reducing the inflammatory state of the body (useful in the prevention of the aforementioned cardiovascular diseases).

All animal fats are not recommended for frying or in any case for cooking at high temperatures. Although it is better for cream and butter than all other animal fats, in these cases the choice should fall on vegetable oils such as olive, peanut or sunflower oils with a high content of oleic acid.

The Fulani, a nomadic ethnic group from West Africa, derive about 25% of their daily calories from saturated fats (therefore 2.5 times more than the recommended levels); despite this their lipid profile (concentration of various lipids in the blood) clearly indicates a low cardiovascular risk. This evidence can be explained on the basis of the high level of physical activity, as opposed to a low energy intake. It is therefore important to reiterate how the danger deriving from the excess of animal fats in the diet is amplified by the high-calorie diet and sedentary lifestyle typical of industrialized countries.

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