The facts about trans fat, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat.
Is Fat Bad for You?
- Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet doesn't increase heart disease risk, according to a new study of more than 83,000 women in the New England Journal of Medicine. In fact, women who got their fat mostly from vegetable sources like olive oil cut their heart disease risk by 30 percent.
- The takeaway message: The quality of fats in your diet is more important than the quantity. "Don't try to rid your diet of fat," says Rita Mitchell, RD, a nutrition research associate at the University of California at Davis. "Your goal should be to limit saturated and trans fats and replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats."
- Can't tell a trans from a poly? No worries. Our guide shows you which fats to avoid and which to eat more of.
The Label Says... Polyunsaturated (Including Omega-3s and Omega-6s)
- What it does: Reduces your risk for heart disease by decreasing LDL levels.
- Where it comes from: Sunflower, corn, soybean, and walnut oils, as well as sesame seeds. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish (like salmon) and walnuts; omega-6s are in seeds, nuts, and vegetable oil.
- How much you need: Again, 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from fat, mainly from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated sources.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2007.
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