Health experts have been discussing fats and which ones are better for you for more than thirty years. Most of you have heard that you should limit the amount of saturated fats in your diet and include more of the unsaturated variety.
Hydrogen is the key
You probably know that the designation of fats as “unsaturated” refers to the hydrogen capacity and whether a fat has reached its limit. In other words, saturated fats are literally “saturated” with hydrogen atoms, while unsaturated fats have openings for more.
What about saturated fat?
Saturated fats are easy to identify since they remain solid at room temperature. They are stable, more difficult to digest and may collect in our arteries, but they don’t get rancid as easily as their unsaturated cousins, and they add taste and satiety to our foods. Many medical experts have linked a high consumption of saturated fats to an increased chance of developing heart disease and some cancers.
Two categories of unsaturated fats
The other designation of fats, unsaturated fats, are divided into two groups—monounsaturated, (popularly called "MUFAS), and polyunsaturated, based on the extent to which the fat has reached its hydrogen capacity.
Recently, everyone from health experts to diet gurus have encouraged us to include more of the monounsaturated variety in our diets, since these fats tend to be more stable and less likely to become rancid, without some of the disadvantages of saturated fats.
Here is a list of foods that are the best sources of MUFAS, because they have a high monounsaturated fat content, while at the same time a minimal amount of saturated fat.
The Best Sources of MUFAS
Grape Seed Oil
Dry roasted peanuts
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. There are some animal sources of saturated fat:
Butter, Lard, Visible fat in red meat, Skin fat in poultry, Fat in Lunch meats, Fat in Sausage
And the tropical “oils” from plants:
Coconut oil, Palm kernel oil, Cocoa butter, Palm oil
Unsaturated fats are divided into monounsaturated oils:
Olive oil, Canola oil, Peanut oil
And the polyunsaturated oils:
Most "Vegetable" oils, Safflower oil, Sunflower oil, Corn oil, Soybean oil
There is also a significant amount of fat, of the saturated variety, in many dairy products:
Cheese, Milk, Cream, Yogurt, Ice cream, Sour cream
Fewer saturated fats
It is generally recommended that to be healthy eating fats, choose fewer saturated fats, and in the case of dairy products, that you opt for the low fat version, particularly if you are trying to lose weight.
Are fats addictive?
There is some new evidence that fatty foods may be addictive. It seems that when rats were given high fat foods as a steady diet, they would even accept punishment rather than give up their fatty foods. Hmmm...