Figuring Out Fat

Not all fat is bad for you. Fat from our diet has several important functions such as providing energy and helping us to absorb some important vitamins. In fact, there are some fats that may help decrease our risk of developing some chronic conditions. It is important to know about the different types of fat and where they can be found.


Look for these:

· Monounsaturated Fatty Acids- this type of fat is found in nuts, avocado, and olive oil. It may help to decrease you risk of developing heart disease.

· Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids- these fats may help lower your blood cholesterol, A type of polyunsaturated fat called Omega 3 fat may be especially beneficial. Omega 3 fat can be found in fatty fish like tuna and salmon.


Limit these:

· Saturated Fat- found mainly in animal products but can be found in some plant foods. Saturated fat has been found to increase you total blood cholesterol.

o Red meat

o Poultry skin

o Full fat dairy products

o Coconut oil

o Palm Oil

· Trans Fat- this type of fat is created when hydrogen is added to an oil. Hydrogenation is used to make a product last longer on the shelf. Trans fat is sometimes considered the worst dietary source of fat because it has been linked to lowering your Helpful (HDL) cholesterol and raising your Lousy (LDL) cholesterol. This type of fat may increase your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

o Baked goods: packaged pastries, cookies, icing on cakes, pie crust.

o Margarine

o Snacks: chips, microwave popcorn

For more information on fat, go to:

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/saturated-unsaturated-and-trans-fats

How to Spot the Fat

Food Labels are the key to monitoring you fat intake. Look at the food label to see which type of fat and how much fat is in the product that you are purchasing.


The following are examples of food labels.


Test your skills: Can you find the saturated fat in label one? Can you find the Polyunsaturated fat in label two?


Label One

Label Two

Answer: Label One: 2.5 grams saturated fat, Label Two: 7 grams polyunsaturated fat

Some labels can be tricky. Labels only have to list Trans fat if there is more than a half of a gram per serving. To make sure that you are truly avoiding Trans fat check the ingredient list. If there is an ingredient that says “hydrogenated oil” than the product does have some Trans fat.



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