Fast Fat Facts


Monounsaturated fats

Type of fat: Monounsaturated oils

Food source: Olive, peanut and canola oils

Health benefits: Reduce "bad" (LDL) cholesterol

Type of fat: Nuts/nut butters

Food source: Almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamias

Health benefits: Good source of protein, fiber and polyphenols (a class of phytochemicals that show promise in preventing cancer and heart disease)

Type of fat: Fatty legume

Food source: Peanuts/peanut butter

Health benefits: High in resveratrol, a phytochemical also found in red wine that can reduce the risk of heart disease; also a good source of protein, fiber and polyphenols

Type of fat: Fatty fruit

Food source: Avocado, olives

Health benefits: Terrific source of vitamin E, which fights heart disease, as well as fiber and lutein -- a phytochemical found to prevent some age-related eye diseases (macular degeneration, but not cataracts)

Polyunsaturated fats

Type of fat: Omega-3 fatty acids

Food source: Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, flaxseeds, walnuts

Health benefits: Fatty fish provide healthy protein and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. They also may help athletes avoid stress fractures and tendonitis, according to a study at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Flaxseeds brim with fiber and show promise in fighting cancer and helping lower cholesterol; walnuts protect the heart, fight cancer and help reduce symptoms of inflammatory diseases like arthritis.

Type of fat: Polyunsaturated oils

Food source: Corn oil, soybean oil

Health benefits: Help reduce "bad" (LDL) cholesterol

Saturated fats

Recommended amount: Experts recommend limiting saturated fat to 10 percent of your daily calories.

Food source: Animal products like meat, dairy foods and butter, so look for the leanest varieties.

Health risk: Clogged arteries

Trans fats

Recommended amount: It's particularly important to limit trans fats, created through hydrogenation, a process that turns liquid oils into solids. Look for "0 Trans Fats" on nutrition labels and limit solid fats (i.e. margarine), as well as fried foods and processed baked goods, which often contain saturated or trans fats.

Food source: Fried foods, processed baked goods, solid fats (i.e. margarine), and many packaged foods contain trans fats. Stick to whole foods but when buying packaged look for "0 Trans Fats" on nutrition labels and limit solid fats.

Health risks: Clogged arteries, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and increased level of "bad" (LDL) cholesterol.

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