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What are solid fats?

Solid fats, like butter and lard become liquid when heated but return to a solid state at room temperature. Most are animal fats, through hydrogenation of some plant oils can be made solid and turned into spreads as an alternative for butter.

Solid fats also known on common as trans fats and over the last forty years, had been researched and shown to be very bad for us because they raise cholesterol, which causes heart disease. It is true they are highly calorific so should be eaten sparingly but we now understand they are not all bad, even though they were once made out to be. Many health professionals realise now it is sugar which is the biggest culprit and not strictly the trans fats.

Unfortunately, fortunes have been made by food manufacturers who took advantage of the original thought and produced many low fat alternatives for weight loss but the taste was compensated by adding lots of sugars or sweeteners.

We need solid fat or trans fat in our diets, as it transports vitamins around the body and is essential for the brain to function properly, there are many benefits to fat, many harms and yet again it is the quantity or the portion size that causes the problems. Too much of a particular trans fat can be just as harmful as eating an over abundance of iron.

Saturated or trans fats;
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Cream
  • Suet
  • Pork or Lamb fat
  • Shortening/Lard
  • Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils
  • Palm Oil*
  • Coconut Oil*
* These items are called "oils" because they come from plant sources. Even though they are called "oils" they are considered to be solid fats because they are high in saturated or trans fat acids.

The balance can be easily managed however with a varied diet. People who eat a lot of Fast Foods from restaurants or stands especially, should look to see how many solid fats they are consuming in their daily diet and while it is best to reduce unnecessary oils and trans fats within the body, a total removal can be harmful.