Fats & Nutritional Values


The foods we eat contain nutrients that provide energy and other substances the body needs. Most of the nutrients in food fall into three major groups: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Our body uses fat as a fuel source, and fat is the major storage form of energy in the body. Fat also has many other important functions in the body, and a moderate amount is needed in the diet for good health. Fats in food come in several forms, including saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Too much fat or too much of the wrong type of fat can be unhealthy. When eaten in large amounts, all fats, including healthy fats, can contribute to weight gain. Fat is higher in energy than any other nutrient and so eating less fat overall is likely to help with weight loss. Eating less saturated and trans fats may help lower your risk of heart disease. When buying products check the labels and choose the varieties that are lower in saturated and trans fats and higher in poly and monounsaturated fats. So a diet that is low in saturated fats and trans fats, but that also includes moderate amounts of unsaturated fats will help you stay healthy.

Types of Fat


Unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fats, which are liquid at room temperature, are considered beneficial fats because they can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and play a number of other beneficial roles. Unsaturated fats are found in foods from plants, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.

There are two types of “good” unsaturated fats:

  • Monounsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in:

    1. Olive, peanut, and canola oils
    2. Avocados
    3. Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans
    4. Seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds

  • Polyunsaturated fats are found in high concentrations in

    1. Sunflower, corn, soybean, and flax-seed oils
    2. Walnuts
    3. Flax seeds
    4. Fish
    5. Canola oil – though higher in monounsaturated fat, it is also a good source of polyunsaturated fat.
    6. Omega-3 fats are an important  type of polyunsaturated fat. The body can not make these, so they must come from food. An excellent way to get omega-3 fats is by eating fish 2-3 times a week.
    7. Good plant sources of omega-3 fats include flax seeds, walnuts, and canola or soybean oil. Higher blood omega-3 fats are associated with lower risk of premature death among older adults, according to a study.

Saturated Fats

All foods containing fat have a mix of specific types of fats. Even healthy foods like chicken and nuts have small amounts of saturated fat, though much less than the amounts found in beef, cheese, and ice cream. Saturated fat is mainly found in animal foods, but a few plant foods are also high in saturated fats, such as coconut, coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. Cutting back on saturated fat will likely have no benefit, however, if people replace saturated fat with refined carbohydrates. Eating refined carbohydrates in place of saturated fat does lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, but it also lowers the “good” HDL cholesterol and increases triglycerides. The net effect is as bad for the heart as eating too much saturated fat. The biggest sources of saturated fat in the diet are

  1. Pizza and cheese
  2. Whole and reduced fat milk, butter and dairy desserts
  3. Meat products (sausage, bacon, beef, hamburgers)
  4. Cookies and other grain-based desserts
  5. A variety of mixed fast food dishes

Though decades of dietary advice suggested saturated fat was harmful, in recent years that idea has begun to evolve. Several studies suggest that eating diets high in saturated fat do not raise the risk of heart disease.

Trans Fats

Trans fatty acids, more commonly called trans fats, are made by heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen gas and a catalyst, a process called hydrogenation. Partially hydrogenating vegetable oils makes them more stable and less likely to become rancid. This process also converts the oil into a solid, which makes them function as margarine or shortening. Partially hydrogenated oils can withstand repeated heating without breaking down, making them ideal for frying fast foods. For these reasons, partially hydrogenated oils became a mainstay in restaurants and the food industry – for frying, baked goods, and processed snack foods and margarine. Partially hydrogenated oil is not the only source of trans fats in our diets. Trans fats are also naturally found in beef fat and dairy fat in small amounts. Trans fats are the worst type of fat for the heart, blood vessels, and rest of the body because they:

  1. Raise bad LDL and lower good HDL
  2. Create inflammation– a reaction related to immunity – which has been implicated in heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic conditions
  3. Contribute to insulin resistance
  4. Can have harmful health effects even in small amounts – for each additional 2 percent of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of coronary heart disease increases by 23 percent.

Daily Fat Consume

The dietary reference intake (DRI) currently states that approximately 20 to 35 percent of total calories should come from healthy fats. This amount should be different based on your medical history and specific nutrition needs. In general, it is best to replace saturated fats — from red meats and dairy — with unsaturated fats, and avoid trans fats altogether. Keep in mind though, that all fats — healthy fats included — tend to be high in calories, so try not to overdo it. Fats should ideally come from unsaturated sources: nuts, seeds, oils, avocados, and hummus.

Omega-3 are essential to health and found in flax seeds, wild fish, and canola oil. Aside from their anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3’s are metabolized into ‘EPA’ & ‘DHA,’ which are power nutrients for brain health. Omega-9 protect our hearts and are rich in olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, sunflower seed butters, almonds, peanuts, and walnuts.

Science Of Fat

Fat is an essential part of the human diet. It provides your body with energy and aids in the absorption of vital nutrients. Fat is one of the three macro nutrients alongside protein and carbohydrates. The body can not produce essential fatty acids naturally and therefore must rely on dietary fats. The role dietary fat plays in the human body includes:

  • Providing energy. Fat is the most concentrated source of energy for the human body, providing double the energy content of the other macro nutrients, carbohydrates and protein.
  • Absorbing vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A and D, rely on dietary fat for intestinal absorption. A person who does not get adequate fat intake in their diet can become deficient in these crucial vitamins.
  • Supporting cognitive health. Healthy essential fatty acids like omega-3 and -6 support overall brain function. An imbalance of these crucial fats is linked to impaired cognition and disease.
  • Balancing hormones. Hormones such as estrogen and testosterone are produced from cholesterol.
  • Aiding in healthy skin. Fat plays a crucial role in skin health by supporting skin cell membranes, providing moisture, and acting as an anti-inflammatory.

Good Fat vs Bad Fat


It is important to know the differences between “good” fat and “bad” fat. Unsaturated fat is generally referred to as “good” fat, while saturated fat is “bad.” But it is not quite that simple:

  • “Good” (unsaturated) fats comprise all unsaturated fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats mainly come from fish (omega fatty acids), vegetables, nuts, and seeds. These healthy fats have been shown to lower cholesterol and support heart health.
  • “Bad” (saturated) fats are not so black and white, though. Recent studies show that saturated fat falls somewhere in-between. Common sources of saturated fat include whole-fat milk, red meat, cheese, and coconut oil.

The link between saturated fats and heart disease has been rebutted by several studies. However, it is important to note that saturated fat should be consumed in moderation and that unsaturated fat has been proven to be healthier, overall, for the human body.

Add Fat in Diet

We all need fat, so instead of avoiding it, focus on how you can improve the quality of the fat you eat. Try swapping out sour cream and replacing it with full-fat Greek yogurt in creamier dishes to reduce the saturated fat, Fine recommended. If you cook or bake a lot with oils, Fine suggests using avocado oils instead of butter or lard to increase the amount of monounsaturated fats in the meal. Lastly, opt for fish — like salmon or mackerel — instead of meat a couple times a week to load up on those omega-3 fatty acids.


Healthier fats are an important part of your diet, but it is still crucial to moderate your consumption of them because all fats are high in calories. As a result, it is a good idea to incorporate foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It is a strategy that will help your heart and improve your quality of life.

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  1. Very well described ,thankyou for sharing.

  2. This is incredible post. Everything in detail. Full of knowledge..

  3. this is a great article. thank you.

  4. Very informative article...Would recommend to read this one

  5. Everything so nicely explained. Well done 👍 @kiwitandon

  6. Amazing! I was looking for the good and bad fats online and you posted on it! BTW sesame oil is what I use? Is it good or bad?

  7. Love the detailed article about fats