Fat Facts: Good Fats vs. Bad Fats
The right fats are actually good for you.
Dietary Fat: What's Right for You?
When examining food labels for fat content, it pays to know your daily fat
allowance to understand how a serving of that food fits into your diet.
"People tend to buy the same foods over and over, so it's worth it to
read labels and find foods you like that are low in saturated and trans
fat," Lichtenstein says.
Suggested daily fat intake is tied to calorie needs. The two fats to limit
- Saturated fat found in meats, butter, cream, or ice cream, and other foods
with animal fat.
- Trans fat, a man-made fat found in some margarines or packaged baked.
Here are some examples of healthy daily fat allowances.
1,800 Calories a Day
- 40 to 70 grams of total fat
- 14 grams or less of saturated fat
- 2 grams or less of trans fat
2,200 Calories a Day
- 49 to 86 grams of total fat
- 17 grams or less of saturated fat
- 3 grams or less of trans fat
2,500 Calories a Day
- 56 to 97 grams of total fat
- 20 grams or less of saturated fat
- 3 grams or less of trans fat.
MyPyramid.gov helps you determine a daily calorie level right for you. If
you want to lose weight, eat less than what MyPyramid suggests for your age,
gender, and physical activity level, but don't eat less than 1,600 calories a
The Facts on Unsaturated Fats
Dietary fat is categorized as saturated or unsaturated. Unsaturated fats --
monounsaturated and polyunsaturated -- should be the dominant type of fat in a
balanced diet, because they reduce the risk of clogged arteries.
While foods tend to contain a mixture of fats, monounsaturated fat is the
primary fat found in:
- olive, canola, and sesame oils
- nuts, such as almonds, cashews, and pistachios; peanuts and peanut
Polyunsaturated fat is prevalent in:
- corn, cottonseed, and safflower oils
- sunflower seeds and sunflower oil
- flaxseed and flaxseed oil
- soybeans and soybean oil
- tub margarine
The Facts on Omega-3 Fats
When it comes to good-for-you fat, seafood stands out. Seafood harbors
omega-3 fats called DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid),
unsaturated fats considered central to a child's brain development and
eyesight, and for heart health.