Our bodies need fat to absorb fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), for energy and to help our bodies function efficiently. Some foods in the body are converted to fat (mostly from higher calorie intake) for storage when we need more energy. Healthy fats are good (like Omega 3) because our body can’t produce enough. However, there is a difference between “types” of fat that are healthy and fats to avoid. This tries to explain some of the differences to watch for. Be aware that all fats have more calories than protein or carbohydrates. Fats also have different caloric counts and contain different ingredients.

Some examples are:

Canola Oil – 1 Tablespoon = 1 gram saturated = 124 calories

Olive Oil – 1 Tablespoon = 2 gram saturated = 133 calories

Avocado Oil – 1 Tablespoon = 2 gram saturated = 120 calories

Butter – 1 Tablespoon = 7 grams saturated = 108 calories

Coconut Oil – 1 Tablespoon = 12 grams saturated = 117 calories

Aside from the caloric count, there is a difference and potential health danger with the saturated fat content.

Unhealthy Fats mostly come from trans fat and saturated fats. Trans fats are mostly from vegetable oils that have been solidified through hydrogenation. Saturated fats come mostly from animal food products, coconut and palm oils. Trans fat is found naturally in meat and dairy products but also from hydrogen added to vegetable oil (that becomes solid at room temperature). Spoiling of processed food is also less likely.

Trans fats and saturated fats are found in deep fried foods (chips/french fries), cream, fatty portions of meat (bacon, pork hock); hard margarine and vegetable shortening, lard, partially hydrogenated oils, butter, high fat cheese, chicken/duck/turkey skin or fat, palm or coconut oils (including coconut or milk), baked items (cookies, cakes, pies pastries). There are many more so check labels carefully and try not to go over 2 gm of saturated or trans fat per day. Unhealthy fats have been associated with increased CVA risk, increased LDL (lousy) and lower HDL (healthy) levels.