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Fat is important for our overall health. Fats tend to get a bad reputation, but not all fats are created equal. Some fats are important to keep our heart healthy while others should be limited. Read on to learn about the different types of fat, what foods contain them and how to make healthy choices.
There are four different types of fat.
Monounsaturated fat is a healthy fat naturally found in olive and canola oil, non-hydrogenated margarines, avocados and nuts like almonds, pistachios, pecans and cashews.
Polyunsaturated fat are healthy fats that include omega-3 and omega-6 fats:
Saturated fat is an unhealthy fat that is naturally found in foods from animals such as fatty cuts of meat, poultry with the skin on and higher fat milk, cheese and yogurt. Saturated fat is also found in tropical oils, including coconut and palm kernel oils.
Trans fat is an unhealthy fat. It is made out of liquid oil that is then changed into a solid fat. Trans fat adds texture and flavour to food. It is most often found in commercially baked goods, fried foods and processed foods like packaged salty snacks and convenience foods including frozen foods. Trans fat can also be found naturally in some foods. Meat, milk, and butter naturally contain small amounts of trans fat. The trans fat found naturally in foods is different than manufactured trans fat and does not increase your risk of heart disease.
To keep your heart healthy, have a small amount (2 to 3 Tbsp) of unsaturated fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat) each day. This amount includes oil used for cooking, salad dressings, margarine and mayonnaise.
Unsaturated vegetable oils include:
To lower your risk of heart disease, it is best to limit saturated fats. Limit foods like:
Aim to have zero trans fats in your diet. Find out more about trans fats and saturated fats.
Use these tips to make healthier fat choices the next time you are at the grocery store, cooking at home or eating out:
Fat is an important part of our diet, but it’s important to remember that not all fats are created equal. Choose foods with unsaturated fats more often and limit the amount of foods with saturated and trans fats.
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