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The Fat Facts

There are 4 different kinds of fats: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and Trans fat. Therefore, understanding the difference between “good” and “bad” fats can be difficult. That’s why after reading this article you will have a better understanding of what types of fats are good for you, and should be eaten in moderation and what types of fats should be avoided as much as possible in your diet. While fats and oils should be used sparingly, they should not be eliminated completely from your diet. Fats do provide your body with several important functions like providing energy to your body, insulating your body, promoting healthy skin and hair and they help absorb and transport fat-soluble vitamins that are essential for good health.

“Good” Fats

The 2 “good” fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and are essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body. These “good” fats consist of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It has been found that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish such as herring, salmon, mackerel and trout. Three to four 3 ounce servings a week of any of these fish listed above will provide you with enough omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy diet. If you are not a fish eater, omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in ground flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, canola and olive oils.

“Bad” Fats

The other two forms of fat are saturated and Trans Fats. These types of fats are classified as “bad” fats and should be avoided as much as possible in your daily diet. Diets high in saturated and Trans fat have been linked to heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Saturated fat typically comes from animal-based foods such fatty meats, cheese butter, whole milk, coconut and palm oils. Trans fat in fat that was once liquid at room temperature but made solid by a process called hydrogenization. Bakery goods, fried foods, and prepackaged foods are some of the most common forms of Trans fat.

How much fat should you be eating?

It is good to keep your fat consumption to less than 30% of your total calories. For example, on a 2000 calorie diet, the average person would need approximately 65 grams of total fat. This means that 20% of ones fat intake should be from monounsaturated (10%) and polyunsaturated (10%) and 7-10% of fat should come from saturated fats with less than 1% from trans fats. If you have heart disease or have had a heart attack speak with your doctor and dietitian as they may have more specific guidelines for you. It’s important to know that fats can be part of a healthy meal plan, the just need to be used sparingly

Facts on Fat


Salmon & Asparagus Fettuccini


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© NCES, Inc 2019

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