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Eat to Grow: Macronutrients

Fat Facts. All fat isn’t created equal.

Not all fat is bad. Most of us know that by now, but it’s not as simple as saturated is bad and unsaturated is good. There are a few types of fat, each with specific benefits. Here’s how classifies each:

‘Saturated fatty acids. Found chiefly in animal sources such as meat and poultry, milk and butter. Some vegetable oils like coconut, palm kernel oil and palm oil are saturated. Saturated fats, usually solid at room temperature, are linked to heart disease and other health maladies.

‘Monounsaturated fatty acids. Found mainly in vegetable oils such as canola, olive and peanut oils. Liquid at room temperature, these are considered healthy fats when taken in moderation.

‘Polyunsaturated fatty acids. Found mainly in vegetable oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn, flaxseed and canola oils. Polyunsaturated fats, also the main fats found in seafood, are liquid or soft at room temperature. Specific polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, are called essential fatty acids and are necessary for cell structure and making hormones, including testosterone. Essential fatty acids must be obtained from foods.

‘Trans-fatty acids. Formed when vegetable oils are processed into margarine or shortening. Sources of trans-fats in the diet include snack foods and baked goods made with ‘partially hydrogenated vegetable oil’ or ‘vegetable shortening.’ Trans-fatty acids also occur naturally in some animal products such as dairy products. They’ve been linked to heart disease and may be worse than saturated fats.

‘Becky Holman

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