Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Cancer

Can I drink alcohol on my diet?

Chitosan - A Pill that Absorbs Fat?

Cholesterol - Eat more fat to lower?

Coffee! Should You or Shouldn't You?


Ephedra - Warning

EZ Zucchini

Fat Snack

Fats - Mono, Poly, Saturated

Food Poisoning

Food Labels that Fool You

Genetics and Obesity


Hunger - What is it?

I Ate too Much!

Olestra - The fat that's not a fat?



Salt - Something Nice

Sports Nutrition

Sun - Good Nutrition

Vegetable Soup Homemade

Vegetarian Eating

Vegetarians are Healthier?

Winners and Losers on Your Plate

Good Fat! Bad Fat!

We hear a lot about good fats and bad fats, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and hydrogenated. But what does it all mean?

Polyunsaturated fat is found in vegetable oil like corn, safflower, soybean, cottonseed, and sunflower, as well as in fish. It's called the good fat because it helps lower LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol that causes coronary artery disease (CAD) and stroke.

Monounsaturated fat is the other good fat, found in olives, avocados, peanuts, sesame, and rapeseed oil (Canola). It also helps lower LDL cholesterol and prevents CAD.

Saturated fat is found predominantly in foods of animal origin, like meat, eggs, cheese, and milk but also in coconut and palm oil. It's called the bad fat because it raises LDL levels and contributes to CAD, heart attacks, and stroke.

Unsaturated means it's not saturated and refers to mono and polyunsaturated fats, so unsaturated fats are also good fats.

Hydrogenated fats (trans fatty acids) are made by pumping hydrogen atoms into a polyunsaturated liquid oil, usually corn oil, to make it solid at room temperature. The result is a soft margarine that's easy to spread. Hydrogenated fats consist of a combination of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fats. Whether a hydrogentated fat falls into the good or bad fat category will depend on how saturated it is. Hydrogenated fat that is highly saturated (most tub margarines) also raises LDL levels and contributes to CAD, heart disease, and strokes.

All fat, whether it's animal or vegetable, provides the same number of calories, 9 calories per gram, therefore, if you're on a weight loss diet, you'll want to cut down on total fat intake. If you're following a low cholesterol diet, be aware that although some fats may not contain cholesterol, too much dietary fat causes the liver to produce excess cholesterol which contributes to coronary artery disease.

Strictly for the chemist: The terms mono, poly, and saturated refer to the chemical structure or the number of double bonds in the molecule. Polyunsaturated fats have two or more double bonds, monounsaturated fats have one double bond, and saturated fats have no double bonds. Fat from foods of animal origin are saturated while fat from plants contain one or more double bonds. During the hydrogenation process, double bonds are filled with hydrogen atoms to become saturated, however, if the product is only slightly hydrogenated, there may be some poly or mono bonds still left when the processing is complete. Saturated fats contribute to coronary artery disease while unsaturated fats do not.

-Although some fats may not contain cholesterol, too much dietary fat causes the liver to produce excess cholesterol which contributes to coronary artery disease.

-Chicken, tuna, and fish contain higher percentages of mono and polyunsaturated fats as compared to red meat which is predominantly saturated.

Where do you get your nutrition information? Most states now have licensure laws for Dietitians and Nutritionists. Be sure your nutrition advisor is "Licensed" by the State as a Licensed Dietitian (LD) or Licensed Nutritionist (LN), or in states that don't have licensure laws, a Registered Dietitian.




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