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Lipids, fats and oils: Find the answers

home :: lipids, fats and oils



Fats and oils are always a mixture of three kinds of fatty acids. When a fat contains a large proportion of saturated fatty acids, for instance, it is said to be 'saturated fat' or 'highly saturated' or 'high in saturates', but in reality it is a mixture of the three types of fat. When a fat contains a large proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is often called 'polyunsaturated fat', 'high in polyunsaturates' or 'highly polyunsaturated'. Similarly, when a fat or oil contains a large proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids, it is often called 'monounsaturated fat', 'high in monounsaturates', or 'high in monounsaturated fats.'

Fats and Oils: Proportions of Fatty Acids in Common Foods

You can use the table below to identify common fats and oils with less saturated fatty acids and a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids. Remember, all fats and oils, irrespective of whether they are unsaturated fat percentage, are high in calories and total grams of fat and as such should be used sparingly.

lipids, fats and oils

It is important that you try to understand the amount of fats and oils in the foods you eat, the calories and other nutrients. Moreover, you should keep an eye on your lipid profile (cholesterol levels).


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This section of our site is aimed at clearing up any doubts you may have about fats and oils. Please click on any of the links below to learn more about this often confusing subject of fats and oils:

  • Learn about the many types of fat in our food and body
  • Omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial to the heart
  • Sunflower Oil or Olive Oil - Which is more heart healthy?

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