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Fats are nutrients that give you energy. Fats have 9 calories in each gram. Fats help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fats are either saturated or unsaturated, and most foods with fat have both types. But usually there is more of one kind of fat than the other.
Saturated fat is solid at room temperature, which is why it is also known as "solid fat." It is mostly in animal foods, such as milk, cheese, and meat. Poultry and fish have less saturated fat than red meat. Saturated fat is also in tropical oils, such as coconut oil, palm oil, and cocoa butter. You'll find tropical oils in many snacks and in non-dairy foods, such as coffee creamers and whipped toppings. Foods made with butter, margarine, or shortening (cakes, cookies, and other desserts) have a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fat can raise your cholesterol.
This is a fat that has been changed by a process called hydrogenation. This process increases the shelf life of fat and makes the fat harder at room temperature. Some animal-based foods have small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats. Most trans fat comes from partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). PHOs cannot be used in food sold in Canada. Trans fat can raise your cholesterol, so eat as little trans fat as possible.
Unsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature. It is mostly in oils from plants. If you eat unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat, it may help improve your cholesterol levels. Try to eat mostly unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are types of unsaturated fat.
Total fat includes saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and trans fat.
Review the nutrition facts label on food packaging to learn the total fat, saturated fat, and trans fat. Food labels are not required to list monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.
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Current as ofNovember 7, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineAnne C. Poinier MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineRhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes EducatorColleen O'Connor PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian
Current as of: November 7, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator & Colleen O'Connor PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian
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