Good Fats and Bad Fats

Saturated. Monounsaturated. Trans fats. Polyunsaturated.  Many foods contain fats; it can be confusing as to which the good fats are and which the bad fats are.

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and solid when refrigerated. Considered one of the healthiest fats, these should make up the bulk of your daily fat intake.

Monounsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in these foods:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola (rapeseed) oil
  • Peanut oils
  • Most nuts (excluding walnuts), nut oils, and nut butter (such as peanut butter)
  • Olives
  • Avocados

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated fats are similar to monounsaturated fats but also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Polyunsaturated fats are found primarily in:

  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Flax oil and flax seeds
  • Sunflower oil
  • Walnuts
  • Fish

 Saturated fats

Saturated fats are solid or waxy at room temperature. They can raise your LDL cholesterol (bad) levels, so it is best to consume these in moderation.

Listed below are some foods that are high in saturated fat.

  • Beef, pork, lamb, veal, and the skin of poultry
  • Hot dogs, bacon, and high-fat luncheon meats (such as salami and bologna)
  • High-fat dairy products (such as whole milk, 2% milk, 4% cottage cheese)
  • Butter and lard
  • Sauces and gravies made from animal fat
  • Most fried foods and fast foods
  • Bacon fat
  • Tropical oils – palm, palm kernel, and coconut
  • Desserts and sweets made with lard, butter, or tropical oils

Trans Fats

Trans Fats form when liquid fat converts to solid fat through a process called hydrogenation. Many manufacturers use hydrogenated fats in their ingredients because it helps increase shelf life and improves texture and consistency.

There are currently no safe trans fat levels that should be consumed daily, so for your heart health, you need to limit consumption of these foods. If the ingredients list “Partially Hydrogenated Oils,” the product contains trans fats.

Listed below, are foods that may contain trans fats:

  • Most processed foods, including cookies, crackers, fried snacks, baked goods
  • Shortening and stick margarine
  • Almost all fast foods and fried foods.
  • Coffee Creamers.
  • Microwave popcorn.
  • Canned frosting.

If you have questions regarding your heart health and fat intake, contact your primary care provider.

Kim Davis, APRN-CNP
Ringling Family Care


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