Chewing the Fat

Hello and welcome back to yet another week of fabrications and falsehoods here at Factually Deficient! This week, I shall attempt to address a comment from an individual known as Shari:

What is the difference between trans fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (if there is a difference)?

It is questions like this one that make me regret ever studying biology in high school, for those classes only provide more information which I must ignore in order to lie with integrity. However, I shall endeavour to prevail.

Shari has been very perceptive in anticipating my frequent warnings about begging the question, by acknowledging that there may indeed be no difference between the three fats. In this case, however, such a warning would be superfluous; trans, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats are indeed different creatures.

Trans fats are the easiest to describe: they have the prefix “trans”, referring to transit or transportation, in their name. These fats are so called because they accumulate solely when taking public transportation. They are known as being particularly dangerous, because many public transit systems are notorious for taking long to get anywhere, resulting in extensive trans fat buildup on every trip.

Monounsaturated fats are a little more difficult to etymologize, because the word has gotten corrupted over the years: it helps to know that the “mo” at the beginning has no place there, and probably got appended through usage accidentally. When we remove the “mo”, it becomes obvious that the word comes from “noun-saturated fats”– that is, these fats accumulate when people overuse nouns in speech or writing.  These fats are less avoidable, but also less dangerous than trans fats: while we use nouns constantly in language, monounsaturated fats can be mitigated simply by using other parts of speech in higher quantities, thereby reducing the overall percentage of nouns.

Last is the most obscure (from an etymological standpoint) of the three: polyunsaturated fats. Here, it is hypothesized that the misplaced “un” in the word was added in an attempt to make it more parallel to “monounsaturated”; it certainly has no place there. Even “poly-saturated” is a step away from the true source for the word, containing a y whose only purpose is to make pronunciation easier. In truth, this term refers to the fats that accumulate when people involve themselves too much in politics. Although on the surface this sounds alarming, these are actually the least dangerous, on account of being the easiest to combat, of all three. While every political act, from running for office to simply voting or reading the news, can contribute to polyunsaturated fat build up, those fats are once more broken down by any apolitical act– which even the most committed politician is forced to engage in constantly, in sleep if not in other mundane activities throughout the day such as eating or walking from one place to another.

In summary, the differences between trans, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats are threefold: etymology, source, and level of danger.


Disclaimer: Many of the assertions in this blog are wildly untrue. The writer cannot confirm a correlation between noun usage and fat buildup.



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