Unless there is a medical need, there is not much benefit going below 20% of calories as fats. For most people, 25-30% of such calories is a very good goal.
There are three types - saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Although all three types have the same number of calories (9 calories per gram - the most calorically dense nutrient), the type you take makes a great difference in the effect on your body.
All those we take are either converted to energy or stored in our body. However different forms have a different effect on the arteries. So our diets must be carefully balanced so as to keep a majority of “good” ones and do not get too much bad ones.
These can be found in shortening, coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter, and animal fats like lard, butter, dairy, those in the skin of poultry or between the muscle of animals like steak. They are no question link to the formation of plaque blocks coronary arteries and contribute to heart attacks.
Whether you are trying to lose weight or not, your diet should contain LESS than 10% of calories as saturated. For people with high risk for heart disease, they should eat even less, 7% of calories rather than 10%.
In a healthy diet, monounsaturated used to be considered neutral. These are preferred because they have been found to lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein – the bad cholesterol) and raise HDL levels – (high-density lipoproteins – the “good” cholesterol).
Good sources include olive oil, Canola oil and Canola soft margarine. Other sources are avocados, olives, peanut oil, and nuts like cashews, macadamia, and pistachios.
It is recommended that you include mostly olive oil or Canola oil when cooking or baking.
They are liquid at room temperature and are mostly of vegetable origin. Most vegetable oils like corn, safflower, and seed oils like cottonseed are polyunsaturated.
These are also “good”, but they do not have a desirable effect upon HDL levels like monounsaturated.
Notes to Diabetics
To summarize, eating less fat (25-30% of calories for most people) is a key nutritional goal. Get smart about the types you choose. It’s not difficult to find “good” ones and it will make a big difference to your arteries.
Fat & Diabetes