The word “fat” has a bad reputation. Many people try to cut all fats from their diet, worried that if they eat fats they will get fat. Well, that isn’t quite how it works.
Like other nutritional groups, there are “good” fats and “bad” fats. Good fats are essential to our health for several reasons, some of which include:
- Great source of energy
- Help the body absorb nutrients
- The building blocks for cells and hormones
- Help repair tissue
So how can you tell the good fats from the bad fats? Well, you’ll have to read the food’s nutrition label. To know what to look for, check out the following infographic (article continues below).
Foods made up mostly of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Here is a detailed breakdown of these healthy fats:
Monounsaturated Fats – According to the Mayo Clinic, “Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.”
This type of fat is found in a variety of foods and oils.
Polyunsatured Fats – This type of fat, such as omega-3 and omega-6, benefits heart health. According to the Mayo Clinic, evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fats can improve blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease risk of heart disease. This type of fat may also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Polyunsaturated fats are found in fish (such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines and herring), nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
Trans Fats – Trans fats are created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it a solid. They are often called partially hydrogenated oils. This type of fat is known to raise bad cholesterol levels and lower good cholesterol levels. This type of fat is also linked to heart disease and can harm gut health.
Trans fats are found in fried foods and baked goods, like cupcakes.
Saturated Fats – This type of fat is found in meats, whole-fat dairy products and baked goods.
FDA Bans Trans Fats
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking a step to remove artificial trans fat from food. The FDA has recently place an official banned all artificial trans fats from the U.S. food supply, which will take effect over the next three years.
How Much Fat Should You Eat
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting your daily total fat intake to 20-35% of your calorie intake. This means, if you eat the recommended 2,000 calories a day, you should eat anywhere from approximately 44 to 78 grams of total fat per day.