Diet and Disease Prevention
 

Heartburn

Nutritional Claims

Fat 

How much fat is needed?

Not all fats are the same
   Dining Out
 

Chinese Food

Italian Food
   Eating Healthy
 

Reading Food Labels

Food Guide Pyramid

Food Safety
   See Also:
 

Watch Flash movie on
Philly food

Health Calculators

Resources 

Frequently Asked Questions
   
  << Back to Wellness and General Nutrition home
   

Not all fats are the same

Fats are classified as saturated, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, based on their chemical structure.

Saturated fats, such as butter, shortening, lard and animal fat, are solid at room temperature. Saturated fats increase blood cholesterol levels, which, in turn, increase your risk of heart disease. Animal products, including beef, pork, poultry, whole milk, cheese, sour cream and yogurt, contain saturated fat. Although coconut and palm oils come from a vegetable source, they also contain mostly saturated fat.

Unsaturated fats, either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, are liquid at room temperature. These types of fats have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and therefore reduce the risk of heart disease. Vegetable oils – such as corn, soybean and sunflower oils – as well as fish oils, are rich in polyunsaturated fat. Olive, peanut and canola oils are rich in monounsaturated fat. Avocados, olives and peanuts also all contain unsaturated fats.

Cholesterol is a fatlike substance that the liver makes. All dietary cholesterol comes from animal fat products.

Even if a food product contains a mixture of fat types, it's generally categorized according to the type of fat it contains the most of. For example, safflower, corn and soybean oils are considered polyunsaturated fats because they contain a high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Canola oil and olive oil are considered monounsaturated fats because they're made up of mostly monounsaturated fat. Palm and coconut oils – as well as the animal fats, butter and lard – are all saturated fats.

Although types of fat differ, they're all approximately equal in caloric value, containing 120 calories per tablespoon or 9 calories per gram.

Types of fat in various food products

Dietary fat

Saturated (%)

Monounsaturated (%)

Polyunsaturated (%)

Canola oil

7

59

30

Safflower oil

9

12

75

Corn oil

13

24

59

Olive oil

14

74

8

Soybean oil

14

23

58

Peanut oil

17

46

32

Lard

39

45

11

Butter

50

23

3

Palm oil

82

11

2

Coconut oil

87

6

2

 


appointment icon

Need an appointment? Request one online 24 hours/day, 7 days/week or call 800-789-PENN (7366) to speak to a referral counselor.


Related Links
Find a Doctor
Encyclopedia Articles
about Nutrition
Exercise Care Guide
 
   

 

About Penn Medicine   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania space