Saturated fat contributes the most
to elevating blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL (the bad cholesterol).
Typically saturated fat is found in animal fats and tropical oils. They tend to
be more solid at room temperature.
Unsaturated fats (poly and mono)
have less of an effect on elevating blood cholesterol levels. This, however,
does not mean you can guzzle down the olive oil. Fat is still fat and you want a
low total fat intake as well. Unsaturated fats are typically from plant sources
and tend to be liquid at room temperature. Mono-unsaturated fats may help
increase HDL (the good cholesterol).
Trans-fatty acids occur during the
chemical process called hydrogenation. This is where a mostly unsaturated fat is
"hydrogenated" to make it more saturated and thus more solid at room
temperature. Margarine and shortening are examples. Trans-fats tend to have more
of an effect on elevating blood cholesterol levels,
especially LDL, compared to unsaturated fats, but they have less of an
effect compared to saturated fat.
Bottom line: eat an overall low fat
diet. When you do use fats try to use unsaturated fats, followed by trans-fats
and lastly saturated fats.
Recommendation for heart healthy
eating is to get 25-35% of your total Calories from fat: 7-10 % from saturated
and trans-fats, 10 % from poly-unsaturated fats and 10-20% from mono-unsaturated
Fat in Foods
Palm Kernel Oil
Whole, 2 & 1% milk