The Difference Between Saturated Fat, Unsaturated Fat and Trans Fat

Avocados contain healthy fats

Fat in food is also known as dietary fat. It provides the body with the essential fatty acids that it needs. Fat in food also helps to regulate bodily functions and carry fat-soluble vitamins throughout the body.

The human body requires a small amount of fat in food on a daily basis. The necessary amount to keep your body running smooth and healthy is only the equivalent of about one teaspoon of corn oil.

While some fat in food is necessary, too much fat in food will lead to undesirable conditions. Unfortunately, the typical person’s diet consists of way more than just the required amount of fat in food in their normal diet.

This can have serious repercussions, as fat in food is responsible for a number of negative health issues, such as cancer and heart disease.

The 3 Main Types of Fat Found In Food:

Unsaturated Fat – Healthy Fats

Salmon contains healthy fats and omega fatty acids

Salmon contains healthy fats and omega fatty acids

Unsaturated fats are found in fish and plant foods. This type of fat in food is good for keeping the heart healthy. Unsaturated fats can be found in albacore tuna, canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil and salmon.

Fat in food is not your enemy. However, you do want to make sure that you choose the right fats in the right amounts. By making fat your friend, you can get the most out of your fish, lean meats and healthy oils.

Saturated Fat – Limit Your Intake of These Fats

Milk contains saturated fats

Milk contains saturated fats

Saturated fat cannot only be found in meat, but also in other animal products as well, such as milk, cheese and butter. These fats can also be found in the coconut and palm oil that are often used in brand name baked goods. If you consume too much of this type of fat in food products, your blood cholesterol levels will rise, increasing your risk for heart disease.

Trans Fat – These Are The Bad Fats

Try to avoid trans fats at all times!

Try to avoid trans fats at all times!

You can find trans fats in margarine, especially in the stick variety. These fats are also in some foods that you order at a restaurant or purchase at the supermarket, such as fried foods, snacks and other baked goods.

If you see the word, “hydrogenated” in reference to the oils listed on an ingredients label, even if it is only “partially hydrogenated” oil, that food will contain a certain amount of trans fat. In addition, trans fats are listed on the nutrition label as well. Trans fats will raise cholesterol and can lead to heart disease if consumed excessively.

What Is The Function of Fat In The Body?

For children, fat in food is important for proper growth and development. The body uses fat as a fuel and it helps with the absorption of some vitamins and minerals. Fat insulates the tissues of the nervous system and acts as a building block for hormones.

Examples of How Much Fat Is Found In Everyday Foods

One teaspoon of fat in food is equal to about four grams. Here is a list of some foods and how much fat they contain:

  • Average fast food hamburger = 36 grams of fat
  • ¼ cup of dry roasted peanuts = 18 grams of fat
  • Slice of pepperoni pizza = 8 grams of fat
  • 3 ounces of canned tuna = 3 grams of fat
  • ½ ounce non-dairy creamer = 1 gram of fat
  • 1 cup of whole milk = 7 grams of fat
  • 10 French fries = 8 grams of fat
  • Avocado = 32 grams of fat
  • 1 cup of low-fat yogurt = 3 grams of fat
  • Croissant = 8 grams of fat
  • Slice of apple pie = 15 grams of fat
  • Doughnut = 6 grams of fat

How Much Fat Do We Need Each Day?

On average, women only need from sixty to eighty grams of fat each day, or no more than twenty teaspoons. Men need a little more, about seventy-five to one hundred grams each day, which is about twenty-five grams of fat. If you want to lose a little weight, cutting back on fat in food is a great way to start.

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