How Does Dietary Fat Affect Blood Cholesterol?
There are three main types of fats in food, and they affect blood cholesterol in different ways: • Saturated fat – Found in red meats and red meat products, such as beef, pork, and lamb, as well as dairy products; in tropical oils such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil; and in vegetables oils that have been chemically changed to make them solid at room temperature (a process called hydrogenation). • Monounsaturated fats – Found in plant oils such as olive, canola, and peanut oil. Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature but harden in the refrigerator. • Polyunsaturated fats – Found in plant oils such as safflower, sunflower, corn, or soybean oil. Fish, especially cold-water fish, contain a special type of polyunsaturated fat called omega-3 fat that may help protect against heart disease by slowing blood clotting. Polyunsaturated fats remain liquid even at colder temperatures.