The Facts on Fat
Fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. It provides us with energy, aids in the absorption of some vitamins, and helps to keep us full and satisfied. Fats, however, are not all created equal.
Healthy fats can lower blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. Sources of healthy fats include nuts and nut butter, avocados and fatty fish like salmon. You may see healthy fats labeled as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. You may also hear the terms omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Don’t know what those mean? That’s OK—they're all good.
Saturated fat, on the other hand, can increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature and typically comes from animal products. Examples include fatty cuts of red meat, dark poultry meat and skins, and high-fat dairy like cheese, sour cream and whole milk. Tropical oils such as coconut oil, palm oil and cocoa butter are also sources of saturated fats.
Food for Thought on Fat:
- Choose lean cuts of meat and skinless lean poultry.
- Eat fish more often.
- In most cases, choose liquid oils (such as olive oil) over solid oils (like butter).
- Choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products, which are lower in saturated fat.