Fat, Saturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat
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Overview of Saturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, and Monounsaturated Fat - Functions and Food Sources

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:

• Function: tends to increase blood cholesterol levels.
• Sources: 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. Most saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature, with the exception of tropical oils.

Polyunsaturated Fat:

• Function: tends to lower blood cholesterol levels
• Sources: found mostly in plant sources. (safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn, cottonseed)

Monounsaturated Fat:

• Function: tends to lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol)
• Sources: found in both plant and animal products, such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and in some plant foods such as avocado