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What to Know About Healthy Fats and Oils


Updated April 01, 2009

What to Know About Healthy Fats and Oils
Rob Melnychuk
When you have type 2 diabetes, you know that watching how much fat you eat is important. That doesn't mean it's bad for you -- the body uses fats for energy. Fats don't raise blood glucose levels but they do cost more in calories: Fat is 9 calories per gram, while carbohydrates and proteins are 4 calories per gram.

The CDC recommends that adults keep their fat intake at 20% to 35% of their daily calorie total. Children and teens may have 25% to 35% fat per day.

There are different types of dietary fats. Some are better for you than others. What are the different types of dietary fat?

Polyunsaturated Fats and Monounsaturated Fats

These fats are the best for a healthy diet. They are usually liquid at room temperature, but there are also sources of poly and monounsaturated fats in some foods.

  • Avocado
  • Canola oil
  • Corn oil
  • High oleic safflower oil
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Some fish
  • Sunflower oil
  • Walnuts
Saturated Fats

These are fats that are solid at room temperature. The American Heart Association recommends that we limit our intake of saturated fats. Some sources of saturated fats include:

  • Palm and coconut oil
  • Meats, especially red meat
  • Cheeses
  • Whole fat milk and milk products, including ice cream
  • Butter and cream

Trans fats

Trans fats are created when liquid oils are changed to a solid. These are also called partially hydrogenated fats. They have been proven to raise bad cholesterol levels and are considered unhealthy. They should be avoided. Sources include:

  • Commercially prepared cookies, crackers, and pies.
  • Foods fried in partially-hydrogenated oils


Saturated Fats. (March 29, 2009). Retrieved March 29, 2009, from American Heart Association Web site: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3045790

Nutrition for Everyone - Dietary Fat. (December 3, 2008). Retrieved March 29, 2009, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/fat/index.html

Olive Oil Health Benefits Studies News Directory. Retrieved March 29, 2009, from Lachaal Olive Oils Web site: http://www.lachaal.com/index.php?src=news&srctype=lister

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