Saturated and unsaturated fats are the two main types of fat in foods. The difference between these two types of fat is in their chemical structure. They also impact health in different ways.
Saturated fats are made of straight building blocks that tightly pack together. These fats are usually solid or hard at room temperature. Meat and animal fats like butter, lard, and fatback are high in saturated fat. Tropical oils, such as palm and coconut oil, are also high in saturated fat.
Unsaturated fats are made of irregularly shaped building blocks. They cannot pack together tightly. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature. Non-tropical plant-based oils like canola and soybean oil are high in unsaturated fats. Nuts, seeds, fish and some vegetables are also high in unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats include both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Fats are important for your body’s health. The foods you eat contain a mix of unsaturated and saturated fats. The American Heart Association and Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest choosing foods with more unsaturated fats than saturated fats.
Limit solid saturated fats!