Types of fat

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
High consumption of some kinds of fat is considered a risk factor of coronary heart disease. There are three types of fat present in food: saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids are known to raise the blood cholesterol levels, which in turn can lead to excess 'bad' cholesterol in the bloodstream. The extra cholesterol is generally deposited along arterial (art-EAR-ee-al) walls, which may lead to narrowing and hardening of those walls. This condition can easily lead to various forms of heart disease. On the other hand, both polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids can help lower blood cholesterol levels, especially when the overall diet is low in fat. Saturated fatty acids are found primarily in animal products such as beef, beef fat, veal, lamb pork, lard, poultry fat, butter, cream, and whole-fat dairy products. Plus, a few plant-related oils contain high amounts of saturated fatty acids, such as coconut, palm and palm kernel oils, as well as cocoa butter. Further, food products containing hydrogenated (hy-DRAW-gen-ay-ted) or partially hydrogenated oils may also have high levels of saturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in oils like safflower, sesame, sunflower seed, corn, and soybean. They are also present in some nuts and seeds and their oils. Monounsaturated fatty acids can be found in avocados and in oils such as canola, olive, and peanut. If you're concerned about the level of fat in your diet or would like more information, contact a health care provider.

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