Dietary Fats: 4 Major Types


Dietary fats are an important type of nutrient that you get from your diet. While it is essential to consume certain fats, it is harmful to eat too many. Fats provide fuel to the body to enable it to work properly. It is also an important requirement for better vitamin absorption and maintaining a healthy skin. Some types of fats also help prevent cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Saturated fat – This is also referred to as solid fat, and is present in many animal foods such as cheese, milk and meat. It can also be found in tropical oils including palm oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter. Saturated fats increase your ‘bad’ cholesterol level. This puts you at high risk for stroke, heart attack and some serious other ailments. Stay away from foods that contain plenty of saturated fats.

Trans fat – This fat is obtained by a process known as hydrogenation. The fat is found in processed foods, snack items, cookies and some salad dressings. Trans fats are often used for cooking in some restaurants. They can decrease the ‘good’ cholesterol levels in the body and increase ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. It is best to avoid them.

Unsaturated fat – It is found in oils from plants such as vegetable oils, seeds and nuts. It is liquid at room temperature. It is classified as beneficial fats as it helps to improve cholesterol levels, stabilize heart rhythms and provide several other benefits. There are two types of beneficial unsaturated fats: Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fat.

Total fat – This includes saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fat.

It is a misconception that all dietary fats are bad and that you need to eliminate it from your diet. On the contrary, as you just saw, some fats help promote good health. It is important to know the healthy fats and include them in your diet. Consult your dietitian to know how to reduce the amount of fat you eat. He or she can help you learn more about foods and help you plan a balanced diet. Follow us at A Healthy Squeeze to know more about fats and live a healthy life.


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