Understanding Fats and Oils

mediterranean breakfast

Take the Understanding Fats and Oils quiz.

Test your knowledge about fats and oils.

The 4 fat categories tested in a blood lipid panel are:

Total cholesterol, the lipoproteins LDL and HDL, and triglycerides are tested in a blood lipid panel.
The blood cholesterol particle often referred to as "bad cholesterol" is:

LDL is often called "bad cholesterol", because it transports cholesterol to cells and promotes atherosclerosis. Triglyceride is another word for blood fat, and HDL is often called "good cholesterol", because it is like a garbage collector, picking up cholesterol from blood vessel walls and carrying it back to the liver for disposal.
"Bad" fats (the unhealthy types of fat found in your diet that increase your risk for heart disease), include:

Saturated, hydrogenated and trans fats are considered "bad" fats, because they pose a threat to your heart and blood vessel system. Monounsaturated, omega-3, and polyunsaturated fats are considered the "good" fats, because they help protect your body against heart disease.
Sources of heart healthy "good" fats include:

Olive oil, nuts, avocados and salmon represent foods that are rich in "good" fats: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated or omega-3. Bacon, hot dogs, liver, butter, cheese, and coconut oil all contain saturated fat, which is considered a "bad" fat.
Cholesterol is found in which foods?

Cholesterol is found in all foods from animal sources, such as meat, egg yolks, fish, poultry and dairy products. There is no cholesterol in plant-derived foods, such as vegetable oil, margarine, nuts, tofu, or carrots.
A heart healthy diet is one that is:

All of the choices listed are components of a heart healthy diet. However, the best answer is "All of the above".
All of these are steps to choosing leaner proteins, except:

Hot dogs, ribs, sausage and bacon are examples of high saturated fat choices, and are not leaner proteins. The "round" and "loin" are the leaner cuts of meat, and even when you choose leaner proteins, limiting portions is key. Trimming away visible fat and removing poultry skin are great strategies for lowering your saturated fat intake.
You are making a sandwich for lunch. Which of these toppings would add a splash of flavor, and be the most "heart healthy"?

Avocados are rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fats. Just a reminder: just because a fat is heart healthy, doesn't make it all-you-can-eat! A slice or two of avocado is the right choice, because both cheese and mayonnaise contain saturated fat, which increases your risk for heart disease.
While grocery shopping, you are trying to decide between 3 types of soup. As you compare the 3 food labels, you learn the following:
  • Soup #1: Cream of Chicken Serving size: 1 cup Total fat: 16 g Saturated fat: 5 g Cholesterol: 20 mg Sodium: 1740 mg
  • Soup #2: Chicken Noodle, Healthy Style Serving size: 1 cup Total fat: 2 g Saturated fat: 0.5 g Cholesterol: 20 mg Sodium: 480 mg
  • Soup #3: Chicken Noodle Serving size: 1 cup Total fat: 2 g Saturated fat: 1g Cholesterol: 20 mg Sodium: 890 mg
If you are trying to choose the most heart healthy soup, which soup will you place in your grocery cart?

Soup #2 is considered low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. While the sodium is greater than 140 mg, it is significantly lower than the other two options. Soup #1 is high in total fat, saturated fat and sodium; Soup #3 is low in fat and cholesterol, but high in sodium. When reading labels:
  • A low fat choice is 3 grams of fat or less, per serving.
  • A low saturated fat choice is 1 gram or less, per serving.
  • A low cholesterol choice is 20 mg or less, and 2 grams or less of saturated fat.
  • A low sodium choice is 140 mg or less, per serving.


©2007-2016 Collective work Martha Nolte Kennedy,
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