One Fat, Two Fats, Low Fats, No Fats

When it comes to nutrition, fats can be a tricky subject. We’ve heard that; you should eat them and
we’ve heard that you shouldn’t eat them. Some foods have “good” fats and some have “bad” fats. So,
what are we supposed to do?

There are four different kinds of fats: saturated, trans, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Saturated
and trans fats are typically solid at room temperature, like coconut oil and butter. On the other hand,
unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, such as canola oil or olive oil. For a healthy diet, we
want to limit the amount of saturated and transfats we consume, and instead have mono and
polyunsaturated fats be the main fat sources we consume. In a healthy diet, we consume 20% to 30% of
our calories from fat. The more of these fats that are unsaturated, the better.

We can find higher amounts of saturated fats in foods like red meat (including pork), butter, coconut oil,
and whole fat dairy items, while sources of unsaturated fats include fish such as salmon, herring, and
trout; nuts; seeds: avocados; and soybeans. One of the reasons these mono-and polyunsaturated fats
are so good for us is because they provide omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. These two
essential fatty acids are called essential, because our bodies cannot make them on our own; we must
get them from the foods we eat. We need them because they are good for maintaining heart health.

So, fats aren’t all bad for us. This week, try switching out a food high in saturated fats for a food higher
in unsaturated fats. For example, get a low-fat milk versus whole milk, or cook with an oil that is liquid
at room temperature instead of coconut oil or butter. Knowing, now, which fats to choose can help us
to lead a heart healthy life. Happy heart health everyone!

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