Types of Fat in Food – Saturated Vs. Unsaturated Fats

Types of Fats – Overview

Fats must be consumed and are an essential part of any diet, whether you’re looking to gain or lose weight. Fats provide energy for the body to use, especially for people working out or training. Compared to other nutrient groups (proteins, carbohydrates) fats have the most calories in each gram.
Nutrient Calories Grams
Proteins 4 1
Carbohydrates 4 1
Fats 9 1

Calories are the form of energy that is readily usable by your body.If you eat too many calories throughout the day, and you do not part take in physical activity to burn these calories, you will have some left over. For example, say you eat 3,000 calories in a day. During your workout you burn about 500 calories. This puts you at a +2,500 calorie intake for the day. Here is the kicker, your body actually burns calories performing normal everyday life functions, such as breathing, heart beats, digesting food and so on. In the end, you want to try to avoid high amount of calories because eating excessive calories can cause you to gain weight and put you at risk for other diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and more. As you can see, fats contain the most calories per gram of serving. This is why it is recommended that you get most of your caloric intake from foods like proteins and carbohydrates versus fats because when eating fats you are ingesting more calories if you at the same amount of another nutrient.

Saturated Fats

These types of fats are labeled on every nutrition facts on every food. If you look at the nutrition facts you can see how much saturated fat that food contains. Foods that are often high in saturated fats include milk, cheese, sour cream and fried foods. Saturated fat is highly dense with cholesterol molecules so when you eat these type of food products you increase plaque and cholesterol build up on your arteries and blood vessels. Eating high amounts of saturated fat can increase your cholesterol, increase your risk for atherosclerosis, coronary artery diseases and other cardiovascular diseases. It is recommended to minimize eating this type of “bad” fat as there are better alternatives.
Trans Fat/Unsaturated FatTypes Of Fat
I group these together because they are practically the same type. Unsaturated fats are less dense and can be considered a “fluffy” type of fat versus saturated fat which is dense and packed. Unsaturated fat is the type which you should target. It is often not listed on nutrition facts however you can still calculate how much is contained in foods. Look at any nutrition label and use this equation to calculate fat content:
Total Fat – Saturated Fat = Unsaturated Fat Content
Considering the types of fat in food, you should keep your saturated fat intake to a minimum. Remember, fats are great for energy sources and our body needs them, but try to stay target foods and eat foods with higher content of unsaturated fats. Some foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat include:
  • sesame seeds
  • peanut butter
  • mixed nuts
  • almonds
  • flaxseed
Always remember if you are ever in doubt just simply check the nutrition label on your food for fat content.
Find out more information regarding Health and Fitness