What kinds of fats are in your foods? There are three main types: unsaturated, saturated and trans fats. While the FDA is moving to ban artificial trans fats from the food supply, they are not the only types of fats that can cause heart disease. People should limit their intake of saturated fats, too, and should keep total fat intake to between 20 percent and 35 percent of total calories each day.
UNSATURATED FAT: These are the good fats, and doctors say they should be the majority of the fat that people eat. Some of the main sources are nuts, vegetable oils, and fish. For cooking, they usually come in the form of liquid oils, not solid fats. Types of unsaturated fats include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.
SATURATED FAT: These fats are mostly derived from animals and generally take a more solid form. They raise "bad" cholesterol and can contribute to heart disease. Common sources include high-fat cheeses, high-fat cuts of meat, whole-fat milk and cream, butter, ice cream and palm and coconut oils. The government recommends that saturated fats make up less than 10 percent of daily calories.
TRANS FAT: These are the worst fats, and the FDA recommended on Thursday that artificial trans fats be phased out. They are made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil, usually to create a certain consistency or increase shelf life, and they are also called partially hydrogenated oils. Many of them have already been phased out, but foods that are more likely to contain trans fats are fried items, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, cakes, cookies, pie crusts, stick margarine, ready-to-use frosting and coffee creamers. There are also some naturally occurring trans fats from meat and dairy sources, but the artificial types make up most of what is in the food supply.