Diet and Exercise Tips

The Skinny on FATS

Last updated Mar 06, 2009
  • There are 4 major groups of dietary fats: saturated fats, trans fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats
  • Saturated and trans fats are the BAD fats
  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can be BENEFICIAL when consumed in moderation
  • All 4 types of fats contain 9 calories per gram (carbohydrates and protein each contain 4 calories per gram)     
                                                         ......... now let's investigate the groups more closely
butter 2   bacon   pizza   
*Consume as little as possible*
     Saturated fats are easily distinguishable because they tend to be solid at room temperature.  These fats are dangerous in the blood because they raise low-density lipoprotien (LDL) or "bad cholesterol" levels. Consuming too many saturated fats has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
  • cheese, butter and lard
  • animal products
  • coconut, palm and other tropical oils
*Stay AWAY*
     Trans fats are man-made fats that are completely unnatural to the body.  However, they are found in many foods because trans fats increase the shelf life of processed foods.  Eating healthy means eliminating these fats from your diet.  Like saturated fats, trans fats raise the LDL cholesterol that increases your risk of coronary heart disease.  As of January 1, 2006, the FDA has required that trans fats be listed on food labels, so take advantage and CHECK YOUR LABELS.
Where are they hiding?
  • vegetable shortenings
  • some margarines
  • crackers 
  • cookies
  • snack foods
  • other foods made with or friend in partially hydrogenated oils
olive oil     avocado
*Heart-healthy when eaten in moderation*
     Monounsaturated fats are fats that have one double-bonded carbon in the molecule.  This makes them often liquid at room temperature, but they start to become firm when chilled.  These fats can help reduce bad cholesterol in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.  They are also high in powerful antioxidant, vitamin E.
**Remember that these fats still contain 9 calories per gram, so don't go overboard.  Small amounts are beneficial, large amounts will sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
  • olive oil
  • canola oil
  • peanut oil
  • sunflower oil
  • sesame oil
  • avocados
  • peanut butter
  • many nuts and seeds
*Beneficial when eaten in moderation*
     Polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature and remain liquid when chilled. Like monounsaturated fats, these fats have been associated with lowered bad cholesterol, and therefore decreased risk of heart disease and stroke.  Polyunsaturated fats also contain essential fatty acids (EFAs) omega-3 and omega-6, which are vital to normal cell development and brain function.
**Remember that these fats still contain 9 calories per gram, so don't go overboard.  Small amounts are beneficial, large amounts will sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
  • soybean oil
  • corn oil
  • safflower oil
  • fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout
  • some nuts and seeds such as walnuts and sunflower seeds
When cooking at home, lower-fat substitutions should be used
Follow the following...

When recipe calls for  . . .

Use this instead  …

Whole milk (1 cup)

1 cup fat-free or low-fat milk, plus one tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil

Heavy cream (1 cup)

1 cup evaporated skim milk or 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese

Sour cream

Low-fat unsalted cottage cheese plus low-fat or fat-free yogurt; or just use fat-free sour cream, which is also available

Cream cheese

4 tablespoons soft margarine (low in saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) blended with 1 cup dry, unsalted low-fat cottage cheese; add a small amount of fat-free milk if needed

Butter (1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon soft margarine (low in saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) or 3/4 tablespoon liquid vegetable oil

Egg (1)

2 egg whites; or choose a commercially made, cholesterol-free egg substitute (1/4 cup)

Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce)

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or soft margarine; since carob is sweeter than cocoa, reduce the sugar in the recipe by 25%

Back to top

You can also substitute low fat snacks for those that are high in saturated and trans fats...

Instead of  . . .

Enjoy …

Fried tortilla chips

Baked tortilla chips (reduced sodium version)

Regular potato or corn chips

Pretzels or low-fat potato chips (reduced sodium version)

High-fat cookies and crackers

Fat-free or low-fat cookies, crackers (such as graham crackers, rice cakes, fig and other fruit bars, ginger snaps and molasses cookies)

Regular baked goods

Baked goods, such as cookies, cakes and pies, and pie crusts made with unsaturated oil or soft margarines, egg whites or egg substitutes, and fat-free milk

Devil’s food cake

Angel food cake

Ice cream bars

Frozen fruit bars

Pudding made with whole milk

Pudding made with fat-free or low-fat milk

Ice cream

Sherbet, ice milk or frozen, fat-free or low-fat yogurt


Bagel or toast

  • Check the Nutrition Facts panel to compare foods because the serving sizes are generally consistent in similar types of foods. Choose foods lower in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.
  •  The fats in the foods you eat should not total more than 25-35% of the calories you eat in a given day... and, for good health, the majority of those fats should be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.
  • Choose alternative fats. Replace saturated and trans fats in your diet with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. 
  • Choose vegetable oils (except coconut and palm kernel oils) and soft margarines (liquid, tub, or spray) more often because the combined amount of saturated fat and trans fat is lower than the amount in solid shortenings, hard margarines, and animal fats, including butter.
  • Consider fish. Most fish are lower in saturated fat than meat. Some fish, such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are being studied to determine if they offer protection against heart disease.
  • Choose lean meats, such as poultry without the skin and not fried and lean beef and pork, not fried, with visible fat trimmed.
  • Ask before you order when eating out. A good tip to remember is to ask which fats are being used in the preparation of your food when eating or ordering out.
  • Limit foods high in cholesterol such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, and full-fat dairy products, like whole milk.
  • Choose foods low in saturated fat such as fat free or 1% dairy products, lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, whole grain foods, and fruits and vegetables.

All Documents In: The Skinny on FATS

Order By:
Showing 0 to 0 of 0 results

No documents were found that meet this criteria, try broadening your search.


v3.5.3911.0 Created By Matt Rosen