Is Consuming Fat in your Meals Unhealthy? The Answer: It’s Complicated.

February is American Heart Month and a lot of attention is placed on reducing our fat intake to improve our heart health. But….are all fats considered equal? Aren’t there “good fats” and “bad fats”?

You’re right, sort of. All fats are not the same. Without getting too sciencey, there are 4 types we consume.

· Saturated fat

· Monounsaturated fat

· Polyunsaturated fat and

· Trans fat

Let’s take a look at each one.

Saturated fat includes butter, shortening (animal fat), coconut oil and cocoa butter. These fats are saturated because their hydrogen chains are filled so they take on the form of a solid at room temperature. Saturated fat that is consumed in excess (more than 10% of your daily calories or about 180-230 calories) can increase the LDL bad cholesterol. This can lead to clogged arteries, resulting in cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.

Monounsaturated fat includes olive oil, peanut oil, avocado, seeds and nuts. These fats tend to be liquid at room temperature because their hydrogen chains are not filled or saturated. They help to lower your LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart disease and also help to maintain your cells. Monounsaturated fats should make up about 25-30% of your diet.

Polyunsaturated fat includes other liquid fats such as corn oil, safflower oil and s