Fatty Acids - General Nutrition Information

General Nutrition Information

Fats, Oils, Saturated Fat and Unsaturated Fat

FAT should account for 30% or less of the calories consumed daily, with saturated fats accounting for no more than 10% of the total fat intake. Fats are a concentrated form of energy which help maintain body temperature, and protect body tissues and organs. Fat also plays an essential role in carrying the four fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K. Excess calories from protein and carbohydrates are converted to and stored as fat. Even if you are eating mostly "fat free" foods, excess consumption will result in additional body fat. Fat calories in food are readily stored, while it takes energy to transform protein and carbohydrates to body fat. The only proven way to reduce body fat is to burn more calories than one consumes.

  • Saturated Fat: tends to increase blood cholesterol levels. Most saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature, with the exception of tropical oils. It is found mostly in meat and dairy products, as well as some vegetable oils, such as coconut and palm oils (tropical oils). Butter is high in saturated fat, while margarine tends to have more unsaturated fat.
  • polyunsaturated Fat tends to lower blood cholesterol levels. It is found mostly in plant sources. (safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn, cottonseed).
  • Monounsaturated Fat tends to lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol). It is found in both plant and animal products, such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and in some plant foods such as avocado.
Vegetable Oils and Shorteningpolyunsaturated Fatty Acids*Monounsaturated Fatty Acids*Total Unsaturated Fatty Acids*Saturated Fatty Acids*
Safflower Oil75%12%86%9%
Sunflower Oil66%20%86%10%
Corn Oil59%24%83%13%
Soybean Oil58%23%81%14%
Cottonseed Oil52%18%70%26%
Canola Oil33%55%88%7%
Olive Oil8%74%82%13%
peanut Oil32%46%78%17%
Soft Tub Margarine***31%47%78%17%
Stick Margarine***18%59%77%19%
Vegetable Shortening***14%51%65%31%
palm Oil9%3746%49%
Coconut Oil2%6%8%86%
palm Kernal Oil2%11%13%81%
Animal Fats
Tuna Fat****37%26%63%27%
Chicken Fat21%45%66%30%
Mutton Fat8%41%49%47%
Beef Fat4%42%46%50%
Butter Fat4%29%33%62%

* Values are given as a percent of total fat
** Total unsaturated fatty acids = polyunsaturated fatty acids + monounsaturated fatty acids. The sum of total unsaturated fatty acids + saturated fatty acids will not add to 100 percent because each item has a small amount of other fatty substances that are neither saturated nor unsaturated.
*** Made with hydrogenated soybean oil + hydrogenated cottonseed oil.
**** Fat from white tuna, canned in water, drained solids.

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