Saturated fatty acids include stearic acid, capric acid, caprylic acid and lauric acid. The most common sources of saturated fat include whole milk, red meat and commercially prepared baked foods. Intake of saturated fats is known to have both positive and negative health effects.
Saturated fats are said to be saturated because they lack a double bond between carbon atoms and an area filled with hydrogen molecules. Saturated fats are important for the body, but should be taken under controlled levels since they can cause health problems. Saturated fats help in building stronger bones, improved immune system and proper nerve signaling. However, recent reports have indicated that there is a link between saturated fat and heart disease.
Foods with saturated fat are high in calories. Saturated fat raises the levels of cholesterol in the blood, which increases the risk of having heart disease and stroke. In order to reduce the risk of acquiring heart disease, one is advised to replace saturated fat with poly unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils or high-fibre carbohydrates. "Good" fats also include nuts, fish and seeds. Moreover, essential fats such as polyunsaturated fats are important since they are required for normal body functions and are used to build cell membranes.