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What are the different types of fats?

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Your body needs some fat. But most Americans get too much of it, which makes high cholesterol and heart disease more likely.

There are several types of fats:

  • Saturated fats: These are found in cheese, meat, whole-fat dairy products, butter, and palm and coconut oils. You should limit them. If you have high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, or other conditions, your doctor or a dietitian can tell you your limit.
  • Polyunsaturated fats: These include omega-3 fatty acids (found in soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, and fish like trout, herring, and salmon) and omega-6 fatty acids (soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil).
  • Monounsaturated fats: These come from plant sources. They're found in nuts, vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and avocado.
  • Cholesterol: Another type of fat found in foods that come from animals.
  • Trans fat: Some trans fat is naturally in fatty meat and dairy products. Artificial trans fats have been widely used in packaged baked goods and microwave popcorn. They're bad for heart health, so avoid them as much as possible. Look on the nutrition facts label to see how much trans fat is in an item. Know that something that says "0g trans fat" may actually have up to half a gram of trans fat in it. So also check the ingredients list: If it mentions partially hydrogenated oils, those are trans fats.

From: Healthy Eating for Weight Loss WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Protein and the Athlete -- How Much Do You Need?"

CDC: "Protein," "Saturated Fat."

FDA: “Questions and Answers Regarding Trans Fat."

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger on February 17, 2019

SOURCES:

U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Protein and the Athlete -- How Much Do You Need?"

CDC: "Protein," "Saturated Fat."

FDA: “Questions and Answers Regarding Trans Fat."

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger on February 17, 2019

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