Fats protect your organs, keep you warm, and help your bodies to absorb nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E and K. Certain fats are better than others, however, too much of any type is not a good idea.
Types of fat:
1) Saturated fats- increase the risk of heart disease by raising blood cholesterol. They are found in meat, dairy, fast foods and baked foods. Look for the least saturated fat and a good mixture of the fats shown below.
2) Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats- help lower blood cholesterol when they replace saturated fats in the diet. They are found in olive, canola, peanut and vegetable oils, nuts, plants and fish. Stick with olive and canola oil for cooking
3) Trans fats act like saturated fats in the body by raising blood cholesterol and increasing the risk of heart disease. Trans fats are found in processed foods like fast foods, snacks, margarines and naturally found in small amounts in milk, cheese, beef and lamb.
Replace trans saturated fats and trans fats in your diet with either mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats when possible
Omega three fats are found in canola oil and soy oils as well as oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines. They may lower the risk for heart disease, prevent blood clots and help with the immune system.
Since fats are high in calories ( calorie dense, 9 calories per gram of fat versus 4 for protein and carbohydrates), fats should be limited in the diet to no more than 30% of the total daily calories. For a 2000 calorie meal plan, no more than 600 calories should come from fat. Of the 600 calories, not more than 1/3 should be as saturated fats ( 200 calories). Over all, not more than 10% of a meal plan should be from saturated fat in order to follow a heart healthy plan.